Ferguson In The Rearview Mirror

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All of us are saddened by what has happened in Ferguson, Missouri. There are no winners on any side of these events. Rioting, destroying property, hurting others is wrong. It is not only wrong, it is stupid. It is also wrong to continue to ignore the hurts of others. Part of the problem is that I (being white) only see this as an incident. African Americans, see this not as an incident but about a system.

Violence is never acceptable. I feel for people who have been hurt in the violence. For small businesses that have lost so much, just because of their location. For lives displaced. For the stain and scar left on Ferguson. And it is certainly wrong for a step-father to say to an angry crowd, “Burn the place down.” There will always be the thugs in the middle of all troubles.

I feel for the young man’s family who was shot. It is never easy to lose a child no matter the circumstances. All of us know that we have a double standard in society. I believe it is changing, but much to slowly for people of color. It shouldn’t, but it does make a difference as to skin color. As Christians we have to work at changing this world and stop the racism. The years of not dealing with it, have to end.

I feel for the officer because his life will never be the same. Even though charges will not be filed, he will have difficulty making a career of being a police officer. He, even though he is innocent, will be a lightening rod. He will probably be sued for “wrongful death.” He will be looked upon as racist, even when he may never have been a racist. He becomes a Cain.

It sticks in my mind that the decision of the Grand Jury was unanimous. Even three people of color voted not to charge the officer. Many were outraged that the past of the young man was looked into. “It should have only been about the shooting,”they say. The past influences me! This happened because he was involved in a robbery. This happened because the young man had a police record. This happened because the young man showed violence. Regardless of a person’s skin color, we always judge a person on what they have a history of doing.

What would have been Jesus’ words, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12).” It remains for the Christian that you and I are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

Being A Christian In Your Family

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The abuse of a spouse is scripturally never acceptable. Abuse comes in a wide array of ways, physical, mental, verbal, emotional, spiritual, sexual and even absence. The Church teaches that marriage is to be a permanent relationship. The Church discourages divorce.
And all of this rightly so! The Church has to help build the home and help couples and families to understand commitment and its importance.

Here is where our scriptural ignorance sometimes does us harm. Since Jesus only talks about divorce being acceptable in terms of adultery, we feel trapped. Since Paul talks about the wife be submissive to the husband, she thinks that it is God’s will to live this way.
But neither could be farther from the truth.

When Paul and Peter both talk about the wife being submissive they put the condition on the husband that he must love his wife as Christ loved the Church. Someone with that much love does not abuse another person. Paul dedicates the entire 7th chapter of First Corinthians to marriage. He deals with marriage, remarriage, being single and never married, and being widowed. 1CO 7:15 God has called us to live in peace.

It was a 99′ September day in San Antonio, when a 10 month-old baby girl was accidently locked inside a parked car by her aunt. Frantically the mother and aunt ran around the auto in near hysteria, while a neighbor attempted to unlock the car with a clothes hanger.
Soon the infant was turning purple and had foam on her mouth. It had become a life-or-death situation when Fred Arriola, a wrecker driver, arrived on the scene. He grabbed a hammer and smashed the back window of the car to set her free. Was he heralded a hero? He said, “The lady was mad at me because I broke the window. I just thought, What’s more important – the baby or the window?” Sometimes priorities get out of order, and a Fred Arriola reminds us what’s important.

If your life or the lives of your children are in danger leave. If the abusing spouse is unwilling to deal with the problem of abuse, leave. God has called us to live in peace.

“Abused and Used!”

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I want to zero in on the issue of domestic violence. Domestic violence is found in families of all economic levels, among all professions, among all educational levels, among all races, and in all parts of our world. No one is immune!

When one family member suffers violence it effects all family members. It is almost always an adult who is the perpetrator. And of those, it is usually but not always, the male who is the aggressor. Minors, who have little or no influence in decision-making and are incapable of self-protection, are often victims of violence.

I was in a store recently where a mother and her two children were shopping. One of the children misbehaved, as children often will do in public. The mother yelled at the child in a voice that could be heard across the store. She used language that was inappropriate. Then she slapped the child several times (hard) around the shoulders. Abigail Van Buren once wrote about a woman who listened to a mother verbally destroy her child. The woman told the mother, “I’ll give you a dollar for him.” Only then did the mother realize the value of her child.

Now I firmly believe in discipline. PRO 13:24 He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him. My own two children can give you a vivid recall of when they were disciplined by me. They can tell their story which almost sounds like them walking to the gelatin? However, the discipline always corrected unacceptable behavior while always showing them love? In discipline you always preserve the child’s dignity, embrace with love and showed the child the right way for life.

Violence

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My friend Clay and I decided to go and eat at a restaurant. On the way, I was driving in the right hand lane, when a car in the left lane start zigzagging. I think what happened was that he started to pull into the right lane (without signaling of course). I must have been in his blind spot and when he saw me, he jerked the car back into his lane. At that point, I slowed and allowed him into the right lane. When he pulled into my lane, he gave me the finger. (It is always nice to do something polite and get the finger.) He slowed his car immediately to a crawl and I honked my horn. With that he stopped his car and in the middle of the road started getting out of his car. I guess, to come back and give me a piece of his mind. Clay asked, “What are you going to do?” To which I responded, “drive around him.” I simply pulled around him and drove off. He was left standing in the road. Someone like that is not going to define how I respond.

Violence is to be found everywhere. Just before the Flood, God says, “Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence.” (Gen 6:11) Violence was and is adhered by God. “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him. For Jesus, whose name the Church professes and whose life it tries to exemplify, violence is not an appropriate human response to conflict.

Two little boys were fighting in the bedroom. When their mother entered, one boy quickly announced, “Mom, it all started when he hit me back.” Rarely, is there a justification for violence. Turning the other cheek or walking away is the best Christian response.