The recent wrongful death of an African-American named George Floyd due to violent law enforcement of a police officer has caused a great uproar in the United States and even triggered unexpected social unrest, which is still brewing.
In Minneapolis, a black man was kneeled on the throat for seven minutes by a white police officer due to a dispute over a $20 bill he pulled out while shopping. The incident was recorded by a passer-by on a mobile phone. After the video was uploaded to social media, it aroused public anger and stirred up the sensitive issue of racism towards blacks in American society.
The police officer in question has been detained and charged with murder, and the chief of police has publicly apologized for the incident. However, protests continued and have already turned into social unrest that spread to hundreds of cities, including New York. Violence has appeared, including beating, destroying property, and looting. The tragic death of the black man has been remembered in many ways by Americans from all walks of life.
It is true that America is not a kingdom of heaven (sadly, some Christians in China may think of America as a kingdom of heaven), but in fact, its society is also made up of sinners. It is not a "harmonious society". The unrest may also be the result of a longstanding undercurrent of social tensions in the United States. As outsiders, we can pay attention to this incident, and we can also quietly intercede in prayer for the situation and those involved.
Was the victim an "undesirable person" with a criminal record?
There have been hateful and racist remarks made on domestic social platforms. Some people think that the black man Floyd, who died unnaturally, was not a "good bird", and have even called him a "nigger".
An autopsy was performed shortly after the incident, and the local coroner's report said that there were no "physical findings in support of traumatic asphyxia" and that Floyd had a heart condition with underlying drugs in his system having possibly contributed to his death. But an independent autopsy, published by a lawyer for George Floyd's family, is reported to have concluded otherwise, showing that Floyd died of asphyxiation caused by compression of the neck and back, which led to a lack of blood supply to the brain.
Some have even exposed Floyd's criminal record in their circle of friends, pointing so such things as a conviction for armed burglary, drug possession, and so on. It seems "natural" for white police officers to have used violence against such a criminal.
Some Christians (especially some "Trump fans") have blindly followed suit, pointing the finger at the unfortunate black man and lambasting him. Their remarks even turned into "hatred towards all black people".
In the last two days, a video clip has been shared among some Christian friends and WeChat groups, with the title "Straight to the Point": "A black minister ranting about black people: 'You really have problems!'" In the video, the so-called black pastor made a passionate speech, sounding very righteous, and berating the problems of black people as if black people were naturally a "race with problems". However, I saw nothing of Christ's tenderness or compassion in this black minister’s words.
The deluge of information has left people wondering if the man who died by being kneed on the throat was really a "big bad guy".
In fact, he is our brother!
The truth is however totally different. Although there are extremists using this issue to make a fuss, it does not mean that the police's use of violent law enforcement is right, and even less does it mean that Floyd, in spite of having a criminal record, "deserved to die"!
More importantly, the African-American man Floyd was in fact a Christian, and there is evidence that his life had visibly changed!
That is to say, he is not a “nigger”. He is our brother!
George Floyd, 46, did have a criminal record and a really bad one at that. Floyd was arrested nine times for armed robbery, drug possession, and other charges. He was convicted and sentenced to prison six times and served eight years. In 2007, he and several accomplices were involved in an armed robbery at a woman’s home. He pointed a gun at her abdomen, and his accomplice hit her on the head with a pistol...
However, this is not Floyd’s life story ends. He was changed because he had met the Lord Jesus, repented of what he had done, and trusted in God. To his friends, Floyd was a "big, gentleman" of 183 cm in stature. This is mentioned in the domestic reports. There is no trace of he being called "human scum".
Over the years, Floyd had worked with young people who had similar troubles and, according to the reports, was also involved in social programs for the betterment of other communities,. He was indeed a new man.
In addition, Floyd was actively involved in the church’s ministry of gospel outreach. He assisted the Houston Resurrection Church in expanding its evangelical work, turning a crime-ridden basketball court into a place of worship.
Through online we-media videos, Floyd also called on the young generation in the United States to "abandon guns and stop violence". He made a heartfelt plea to those who considered it being tough to use guns: "Come home, brother. We will face God one day. Are you going up or down? Do you know what I'm talking about? I'm heartbroken."
So, Floyd was indeed a "scumbag", but when he repented and turned to the Lord, he became a "new man". And he did indeed live the new life and became an "evangelical warrior".
The Reverend Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, also expressed his condolences on we-media, writing in a tragic tone: "The impact of George Floyd's life went far beyond the last eight minutes." Citing the testimony of Floyd's close friends and family, he noted that Floyd "experienced the life-changing power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ before moving to Minneapolis."
Reverend Godfrey called Floyd a "son of peace" because he had helped many young people put down their guns and accept Jesus. "He was a gentle giant, and his legacy was about God's love and the hope that Jesus Christ brought."
Why is a black brother considered a "bad guy"?
Why are some people, including some Christians, so blind in their assessment of Floyd, even are so insensitive and cruel in their criticism? Is it simply because he was black? If that is it, then that is racism!
On the Internet, Christians who blindly follow suit in blaming Floyd and even applaud the white police’s brutality are often fans of Trump, who they see as God's modern Cyrus, the savior of America and the world.
To have a different opinion of the president of the United States can be seen as a different political position. However, it is not Christian to be merciless towards a black Christian brother who has been killed by violence, let alone even to say harsh words. This is the result of being blinded by racial prejudice!
Christian beliefs and values oppose racism. It is incompatible with God’s creation and the gospel of Jesus Christ. In God’s eyes, everyone is precious, unique, and valuable. Jesus also gave his life and shed his blood for people of different races.
“And God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” (Genesis 1:26-27)
“For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:27-29)
But why does racism exist? It exists because of sin. As the Rev. John Piper once observed, "Racism grows out of pride and is the companion of greed, fear, and lust."
Many people are racist by nature, which is sinful. Only the gospel of Christ is the antidote to racism:
“For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.” (Ephesians 2:14-17)
However, unfortunately, in the history of Christianity, there have also been Christians who espoused racist discrimination and even sought a "holy basis" from the Bible in doing so, which left a bad "testimony". For example, Afrikaners who are descendants of Dutch settlers and belong to the Dutch Reformed Church established apartheid in South Africa.
For a long time, as early as the Age of the Great Voyages, white colonists debated whether or not blacks belonged to the human race, and regarded them as the sons of Ham, a "lower" race worthy only of slavery.
Racial discrimination was a huge social problem that troubled Christian America for a long time. Now, the pursuit of racial equality and harmonious coexistence has been the agenda for decades. During the Civil War, faced with the question of whether or not to abolish slavery for blacks, American Christianity was split into two opposing camps...
For this, we can only go back to what Jesus did and what he taught. Racists have a Pharisaic sense of self-righteousness and superiority at heart. Jesus however came to break the power of the Pharisees, and his love and kingdom was open to marginalized communities of lepers, tax collectors, and prostitutes. Jesus was even derided as "a friend of publicans and sinners "(Matthew 11:19).
There will be absolutely no racism or apartheid in the new heaven and new earth. “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.”（Revelation 7:9-10）
- Translated by Nicolas Cao