on Ferguson and forgiveness

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

This is much bigger than Ferguson, Missouri. No system of injustice can change without individuals changing first. Too many heels are dug into the ground, and they cannot soften without love. Logic is a weak weapon in debates that are ultimately matters of the heart.

We must forgive.

Every villain began as a victim, just like you.

Every villain began as a victim, just like you. The abusive policeman and the angry citizen alike have known pain. No human’s weeping goes unheard by the God of the Universe, nor does their evil go unpunished. He is a God of Justice (Exodus 34:7).

But remember: Vengeance is His, not yours (Romans 12:19, Leviticus 19:18, Proverbs 20:22, etc). You are called to love (Matthew 22:36-40), not to inflict your concept of justice on other people. It is love that cures hate; retaliation only fuels it. “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses” (Proverbs 10:12). Only through love can evil hearts be cleansed (just ask Biblical-era murderer Saul/Paul).

You are called to love, not to inflict your concept of justice on other people.

Like in any war, both sides have sustained injuries and both sides have inflicted them.  Each family, of policeman or citizen, could tell a personal story of the other side’s wrongdoing. But there is no use in tallying the score, because God calls us to forgive. In fact, He makes it clear that our sins are forgiven by Him only if we forgive the sins of others (Matthew 6:12, Matthew 18:21-35).

As C.S. Lewis wrote, “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”

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