What brought this about? My friend Karen commented on the rant I’d thoughtlessly passed along and, while I did not initially take that to heart, an article I read this morning reinforced the twisting in my heart that had already begun since reading Karen’s comments. That “…still, small voice…” once again interrupted my preconceived ideas of right and wrong and reminded me of a prejudice that I live with every day. In many ways this particular prejudice puts me in the same boat with many spoken of in Matt Chandler’s article on The Gospel Coalition, but it is a prejudice that crosses all boundaries, encompassing many of your neighbors and perhaps some of your friends. We are a population that is forever tainted with a stain that, like Lady Macbeth’s, can never be scrubbed clean from the view of those around us. We are condemned to forever carry the red “F” (for felon) on our lives (Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote of a woman sentenced to wear a scarlet “A” in The Scarlet Letter with whom we can identify); we are people who at one time in our lives have been convicted of crime against society. I've blogged before on this topic, commenting that it seems in many places the attitude seems to be “…once convicted, always condemned.”
This sub-culture of individuals (many whom have had only one conviction) can find it almost impossible to find meaningful work or even a place to live; we live with the dread of friends finding out our secret or, if they already know, what they really think of us. Being the recipient of such has, perhaps, made me more sensitive to others who face such daily simply because of the presence or absence of melanin in a few millimeters thickness of the outer layer of their skin! Without knowing a person, without realizing who they are we judge and condemn someone because of their color. Crazy, insane, sinful, just plain wrong! We can do better, especially those who read this who are of the community of faith in Christ. We are called to be better than this!
The facts surrounding the death of Michael Brown are not in yet; sadly because of the furor over what has happened, the whole truth may never be reached. But can’t we provide the same grace that is given to us by a loving God to this situation as well? Whatever reason for the actions of Mr. Brown or of the officer who shot him; it is time we as a society did some heart-searching and reflecting on the divisiveness that seems to be gripping our nation. Is this the America that our founding father’s envisioned?
We can be better.