Less than twenty-four hours ago I was clothed in self-righteousness and drafting a blogpost in my head intended to prove to the world that the emphasis the media has placed on the number of black men killed by police officers was nothing more than a conspiracy driven by the gun-control agenda.
I started searching for statistics to back up my argument. The second article I read wrecked me. Two of my four children have autism. People with intellectual disabilities and special needs are SIXTEEN TIMES more likely to be killed by police than any other demographic. As I held my breath and burst into tears I recalled that less than five minutes earlier, as my sixteen-year-old son with autism was walking out the door to get the mail, I reminded him (as I always do) to try and control his “pretend”. You see…. he stims. So does his sister. He calls his stimming his “pretend” because his imagination comes out in the form of erratic movements and sound effects. Stimming helps him cope with the world around him. Only the world around him doesn’t understand that. He’s no longer an innocent-looking six-year-old. Onlookers no longer dismiss his stimming as pretend-play. He’s now almost six-feet tall and has a 5:00 shadow by the time he walks to the end of our block to collect the mail every afternoon. When people see him behaving erratically, they stop and stare and often take a few steps back. And my. heart. aches.
I didn’t get through the first paragraph of that article without “getting it”. Yes, all lives matter. But when I fight against discrimination and fear of my two children with autism, I am in NO WAY saying that my other two children do not matter. I’m saying that we as a human race have GOT TO stop treating any person differently based on fear.
What has taken place in this nation in the last three days is the result of deep-rooted fear and hatred. The police officers who killed Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were carrying deep-rooted prejudices and fear of the men they killed and they acted irrationally and impulsively based on that fear and prejudice. The snipers who killed the police officers were filled with fear and hatred towards law enforcement and they acted on their fear and prejudice. The people who step back and keep their fingers on their phone when my son walks past making erratic movements and loud noises are acting on fear and prejudice.
And I’m an emotional basket-case over it all.
To all my black-Mama-friends who’ve tried to make me understand that black lives matter does not equate other lives not mattering, I apologize.
To all of our friends and family in law enforcement that are good and noble, but fearing for their lives today based on the actions of the small percentage of those who are not good and noble, I apologize.
We, as a human race, simply HAVE TO do better!
When we call ourselves “Christians”, we are declaring that we are “like Christ”. More than 70% of Americans claim to be Christian. People, Jesus didn’t act like this.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
Fear is not from God. Period. Jesus was incapable of carrying fear and if we want to represent Jesus we have to stop acting on fear. We HAVE TO stop acting on fear.
Joshua 1:9 “…This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
And we have to love better. We just have to.
Mark 12:30-31 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.31 The second is equally important: ‘LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. No other commandment is greater than these.”
Starting today, I’m praying this prayer every day until I see breakthrough. Feel free to join me.
I ask that you invade our nation with your presence and that you bring about the invasion through me. Thank you for filling me with your presence and for giving me the privilege of showing your heart and character to the world.
When I am fearful, remind me that fear does NOT come from you.
When I am not seeing every human as equal and worthy of you, change my heart and my thoughts.
When my words do not express your goodness, shut my mouth or give me your words to speak.
When I hurt, let me experience your comfort.
When my feet are dug in to a stance of beliefs that do not align with your heart, wreck me and move me.
Father, I thank you for helping see this world through your eyes. I thank you that Jesus’ death and resurrection made it possible for us to CHOOSE to live outside of the fear, hatred, and prejudice that are governing the actions of many.
Help me love every human being the way that you love me.
Help me give the same grace to those I encounter that you have given to me.
Heal this land.
In Jesus’ name.