I made someone mad recently.
No, it wasn’t my wife, but that’s a good guess. The person I ticked off was on Twitter. I don’t even know this person, but he took exception to a story link I posted on Ferguson, Missouri. Just before Thanksgiving, chaplains from the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team descended on the troubled town, praying with people, working with local churches and even taking part in a wedding. I quoted a resident named Fabian, who worked with the chaplains and said, “(God) can take anything broken and fix it.”
This is where it starts getting good.
Someone I will call “Brock” (because I think that’s a cool name), replied to my tweet by commenting, “Terrorism won’t stop until the liberals stop pussy-footing around.” I was at a loss to understand this response, since the aim of my tweet was to show how Ferguson was going from “ruin to revival,” as Fabian’s pastor put it. After a few exchanges with Brock, I discovered he was angry because he felt that President Obama, under pressure, ordered the National Guard to stand down, allowing more hooliganism in Ferguson. His last message to me was, “So blacks burn down half the town–and express hatred towards whites–and you expect reconciliation and healing?”
First, I don’t think that every black person in Ferguson burned down half the town and expressed hatred toward whites–as Brock seemed to be insinuating–but that’s another story. But I told him that I indeed expected reconciliation in this community because it was already happening. That’s what Christians do: employ the “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:18) as God intends. The biblical word for reconcile means to exchange something for something else. This is the ministry of the One we represent, exchanging hatred for love, darkness for light, death for life.
I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by reaching out a hand of reconciliation, a gesture of forgiveness, an expression of love. As MLK himself said, “The aftermath of the ‘fight with fire’ method…is bitterness and chaos, the aftermath of the love method is reconciliation and creation of the beloved community.”
Brock, can I get an “Amen?”
NOTE: the drawing of the police officer and young boy was inspired by a true event. An art teacher in a middle school in Fort Worth, Texas, inspired by a sermon series at her church on the sacrificial nature of love, drew the picture. Though she admitted to her pastor that she has never been skilled at portraits, she wrote, “I felt God wanted me to draw this, I truly felt he guided me.”