“We don’t shake hands with the enemy.” This statement was made on the heels of Sunday night’s “moment of understanding,” when police officers took off their riot gear and walked with protestors in front of our governor’s residence.
Opposite extremes in reaction to one event of peace and reconciliation. When a protestor began moving toward the police, a spray of pepper balls hit the ground near his feet. But then a strange thing happened. The man, Malik Muhammad, was allowed to approach, negotiations began, and what followed was “a moment of understanding.” Before long, a police officer had his arm around Malik, and other police officers and protestors united together.
The photo above says it all.
Not everyone was happy, however, as they refused to shake hands with the “enemy.” Some expressed outrage, believing that uniting with the police would mean turning their backs on victims of injustice and racism.
With so much chaos, confusion, distrust, hatred, and anger, how will we ever heal as a city, state, and nation? By doing more of what Malik Muhammad did. We move toward one another. We listen to one another. We remove barriers. We stand up for justice, and we seek reconciliation.
Most importantly, we live out the Gospel. The Good News of Jesus is not just about our individual salvation from sin but also about families, communities, social systems, and the dominions of this world coming under the dominion of our loving Savior and King, Jesus Christ.
In Jesus there is “neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). For those of us who may have turned a blind eye to the plight of our neighbor and ignored racism and social injustice, may we repent and renew our commitment to be a part of the solution and not the problem.
For those who have experienced the pain and struggle of living in a broken system or who have been on the receiving end of racism, bigotry and prejudice, I don’t come to you with all the answers. I come to you with a humble heart and a desire to help right the wrongs, for “when one part of the body suffers, we all suffer with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26).
A movement starts with one. Thank you, Malik Muhammad, for taking that step toward the police and creating a moment of understanding. May we all choose to follow.