Justice

There’s a ROOT.

Tonight in Community Policing.

I didn’t want to go to class tonight, but it’s the last one of the semester.  I knew that Baltimore would come up because every time someone gets shot by the police or there is an injustice we usually go over what happened and what the issues are (not just the high profile cases).  My professor used to be the chief of police of a department that he says had a lot of racial tension, and he made every effort possible to fix that…and was successful.  So, here I am sitting in the front row as usual…and I’m randomly picked to read a slide about the Kansas City Preventive Patrol (this was one of the efforts to bring the community closer to police departments  after riots in the 1960’s).  I read the slide, and he says this was a result of the riots of the 60’s…what do you think will come of the riots of the 2015’s (lol)?

I cringe inside, because I have made up in my mind at this point that I don’t want to talk about Baltimore yet.  I had came up with a creative way to address my feelings about it and it’s not complete.  This is a class where normally shootings are blamed on the person who was shot because “if you don’t run, you don’t get shot,” or “if you just do what you’re asked you won’t get shot,” or “if you aren’t looking like a suspect, you won’t get shot,” or in the case of Baltimore “if he wasn’t doing something wrong, he wouldn’t have gotten arrested to die in jail in the first place.” Get the point?

In this same class about a month ago, media and the police were talking.  Someone says “The media fuels the fire..it all started with that Trayvon Martin kid.  If the media didn’t talk about it, it wouldn’t be an issue.”  *Blank Stare* I say, “It didn’t start with Trayvon Martin.”

So today…I said “What will come from the riots in Baltimore? I feel that the city officials need to LISTEN.  The rioters are saying something, and their frustration is not driven by this single incident, it is frustration that has a deep foundation with layers to it.”  *Crickets*

My professor to my surprise says: “Absolutely!”

Here’s my position, what I can put into words any way. HISTORY is fueling this fire.  I’m in the process of looking up history from a biblical foundation because I’m writing a poem about it, but for this piece let’s just look at the history of America.

You have slavery, the first form of policing in America being that of SLAVE patrols.   Fast forward, you free slaves and declare segregation unconstitutional, but some of these people still have prejudice attitudes towards Blacks.   Now you have police officers who are policing communities with people they don’t necessarily care for populating them.  Then you have the reform era of policing that’s trying to break the tension between the police and blacks in neighborhoods…but now there is a HISTORY of bad relationship and communication between police and Blacks. Just like stereotypes of black people have been passed down, stereotypes of police officers have been passed down.  However, that doesn’t mean that all cops are bad, and that all black people are bad.

My point: There is a ROOT to the issue of rioting.  Let’s not just look at the result, but what caused that end result. You can’t just cut a branch off and expect a tree to fall.

Prayer: Has to be done from the root.

Justice: Has to be done from the root.

Restoration: Has to be done from the root.

This might end up sounding like rambling, but I just had to get SOMETHING out.

(For a look at a more constructive look into what I think, take a look at my post on Eric Garner, and Mike Brown, and Tamir Rice, and Trayvon Martin, and many others here….  https://peaceofmyheartandmind.wordpress.com/2014/11/29/too-much/

Plea Bargain

****WARNING CONTROVERSIAL MATERIAL****

***Based on OPINION***

I usually play it safe when it comes to issues that can pull on people’s emotions in different ways, but today is different.  For those of you who don’t know I am a Christian (you can probably guess that from my posts).  However, what you may not know is that I am someone who is determined to make an impact in a corrupt and unfair justice system.  Another fact about me is that I do not agree with the death penalty, AT ALL.  (This is not to take away from what the families of victims feel, because i cannot imagine the amount of hurt that comes from having a loved one taken away by the hands of another human being.)  I can see the death penalty and argue against it from most perspectives, and for the sake of keeping this relevant to the content of my blog I want to share my views on it from MY perspective as a Christian. This is my opinion, not biblical fact: I find it amusing when i see a case about someone who is sentenced to death.  The details of their case are laid out, and then I see comments such as “they deserve to die,” or “I hope they rot in hell.” While I do NOT believe that behaviors that put you in a circumstance of being on death row should be excused in ANY way, I find it almost amusing that people are so quick to condemn these individuals to hell.  These are a couple of the reasons of why I feel this way (there are more but this post is getting lengthy already):

1.  Even if the convicted person is executed, if they truly have accepted Jesus as their Savior before its too late YOU JUST MIGHT look up in heaven and see them whenever that day may come.  God is not a respecter  of persons, and even Paul who martyred Christians went on to be one of the greatest Apostles.  There is absolutely no PERSON who is out of the reach of God.  He says himself, what is impossible for man, is possible with God.

2.  We ourselves were once sentenced to death. Romans 5:12 Says: “When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.” and then Romans 5:18 says: “Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. ” 

So basically, we were sentenced to death, and God gave us this AMAZING opportunity to accept a plea bargain. A Plea bargain is:  “an agreement between a prosecutor and a defendant whereby the defendant is allowed to plead guilty to a lesser charge rather than risk conviction for a graver crime.”  Jesus died in place of us in order to pay for our sins, give us a relationship with God, and cover us in his blood to be not guilty.  We should not be so quick to through people in the fire because of this, but we should be praying for them.  There is an choice that they have to make, they can accept the eternal sentence or accept the plea bargain. 

“The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”

You see how it says “He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent?”  It doesn’t say He doesn’t want anyone to be destroyed except for murderers, and rapists.

Should they pay for their crime? ABSOLUTELY! Should we condemn to hell? Nah, because the truth is some people thought that we ourselves were too far gone for God to reach us, but he did.  Instead of being so quick to write them off, it is my opinion that we should be encouraging them through prayer to take the plea bargain.

Don’t Count Them Out

I believe in GRACE, ESPECIALLY for the people who some might call the “underdog.”  I believe that Jesus offers grace and salvation for EVERYONE and not just people who look like they deserve it.  I was reading Acts this morning and I remembered the story of Paul being converted into a Christian.  During the process of conversion God told someone named Ananias to go and meet Saul/Paul.  Here is what happened: Acts 9:10-14

10 Now there was a believer[b] in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord spoke to him in a vision, calling,“Ananias!” “Yes, Lord!” he replied.  11 The Lord said, “Go over to Straight Street, to the house of Judas. When you get there, ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying to me right now. 12 I have shown him a vision of a man named Ananias coming in and laying hands on him so he can see again.”  13 “But Lord,” exclaimed Ananias, “I’ve heard many people talk about the terrible things this man has done to the believers[c] in Jerusalem! 14 And he is authorized by the leading priests to arrest everyone who calls upon your name.”

For the sake of this post I want to focus on Ananias’ response to God.  So, a little more history: Paul was a man that persecuted Christians, he was actually on the way to do this very thing when God intervened and spoke to him saying “Saul why do you persecute me?”  This is were Saul had an encounter with God and came to know who Jesus was.  Meanwhile, God was talking to Ananias shortly after this and he told him to go meet Saul to lay hands on him so that he can see again because he lost his sight when he had the encounter on the way to Damascus.

Ananias answered God by saying all of the terrible things that he had heard about Saul.  How often do we encounter people that we have heard negative things about and count them out of being a candidate for God’s grace? How many times do we see people who don’t look like they can be helped? How many times do we send someone to hell because of their past and what we’ve heard about them?

V 16 “But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel.”

We often forget that we ourselves have NOT been saved all of our lives! There was a point of conversion or an encounter where Jesus turned our lives around. So this is to encourage you that no matter what a person has done, what you have heard about them, or what you THINK they deserve…Remember that until this life is over, they still have a chance.

Don’t count anyone out!