There are two things I am not, which I will not pretend to be: a police officer or a black American. I cannot, and will not, imply that I either understand all that is going through your hearts and minds these days, nor will I insult your intelligence by trying to suggest that the solutions to the deep issues that keep resulting in altercations and deaths are easy. They are not.
Charlotte, you’re not alone. In fact, you reflect the new, increasingly violent, divided America. Like a growing number of people, words fail to express my grief, anger and bewilderment over the death of Keith Lamont Scott, a black man who was killed a few hours ago by a black police officer in Charlotte, North Carolina1. His death hits especially close to home because my family and I lived in, and loved, Charlotte for several years. We lived just minutes from the University City apartment complex where Scott lived.
It’s nearly the same thing, different city, in America. Just a few days earlier, Terance Crutcher was shot and killed in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by police. It is reported that Scott was carrying a gun, while Crutcher had a gun neither on his person nor in his vehicle. In either case, death is always tragic, and is to be mourned.
As children, Keith Scott and Terance Crutcher may have dreamt of one day being famous – but they probably never dreamt of being famous this way. Surely, you police officers don’t enjoy this kind of fame, either. I know you don’t seem to agree on everything, but I suspect you all agree that it’s time for a change.
In this day where so many are so polarized, and the spread of violence leaves the Zika virus in the dust, I think we can all agree that Albert Einstein was right about far more than thermodynamics. He said that “Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.” He was right. It’s time we all agree – quickly and thoroughly – that the cycle of insanity between police and the black community stop. One thing is certain: the enmity and violence won’t stop if we keep attempting the same solutions. We would be insane to think that our current solutions are working. They aren’t.
Neither putting police officers on administrative leave, nor rioting in the streets, will remove the underlying mistrust, misgivings and misunderstandings that keep perpetuating the ghastly insanity that is the new normal in America. It’s time to deal with the root issues behind the altercations, violence and death. It’s time that both of you – and all of America – sit down and seek the real solution. Until we become humble and bold enough to pursue it, little will change. In fact, I’m humbly confident that the insanity we’ve witnessed will only get worse and spread.
We’re all dirty. There are no exceptions. Our nation needs a bath. Not the kind where we draw up warm water and soak to remove surface grime, but the kind where we draw near to God and ask Him to remove the filth within. That’s the cure for violence; that’s the antidote to racism – a humility and repentance that recognizes all life as sacred, all people as worthy of respect, all hatred or fear rooted in skin color as a generational evil that must be eradicated.
All of these problems, and others not enumerated here, can be traced to a single source. I’m afraid we’ve all grown accustomed to thinking that mere mortals can bring the hope and change that only the Almighty can. Let’s not make that same mistake this election year. Our root problem is our failure – our refusal – to really call out to God, surrender to Him, and ask Him to do what He alone can do – change people from the inside-out.
We’ve all disarmed ourselves of the one weapon most essential in the fight against evil: unapologetic, humble dependence upon God. Instead of doing the one thing we all should, the one thing we all must do at this vital time in our nation, we’re doing the exact opposite. Our dismay at the outcome has not yet moved us to recognize the foolishness of our self-imposed divorce from God. We’ve removed any public expression of genuine dependence upon Him, and this is the price that must be paid. It is an exceptionally high price, and we are outright stupid to keep paying it.
We’re witnessing the long-term effects of a society where God is shunned, bullied and neglected. How is that working out for us?
If we fail to invoke the real solution, every other “solution” will merely be a Band-aid on the festering wound that has become the new America. This is not an easy solution, because it requires the one trait that mere mortals have an exceptionally hard time embracing: humility. Yes, the solution is difficult. But it is possible – and it is essential – if we hope to stop the cycle of insanity.
We have to get to the heart of the matter, and the heart of the matter is your heart and mine. Every day we wait will result in more polarization, division, hatred, violence and death. Each of us needs to participate in The National Week of Repentance, coming October 30 – November 6, the week before the election. You don’t have to travel anywhere to jump in. It will happen simultaneously across the nation. No matter where you live, from Alaska to Hawaii, you can participate. In fact, I think we all must. The time for America’s bath is long overdue. It’s time to draw near to God. RevivalMatters.com provides all the information you need to invite the hope and change that only God can bring. Without that, we can all brace ourselves for more insanity.
Michael Anthony is founder and president of Godfactor.com; founder of the National Week of Repentance (RevivalMatters.com); and lead pastor of Grace Fellowship of York, Pa. (GraceYork.com). All views expressed are his own and not the official position of any organization.
Publication date: September 23, 2016