I traveled to Minneapolis last week to visit family—a trip planned long before the riots incited by the pivotal murder of George Floyd. The occasion was a happy one, to meet a new grand baby. In this home filled with peace, love and joy, it was hard to wrap my head around the events that had occurred fifteen short minutes away.
Minneapolis is an attractive city, featuring a number of the state’s “10,000 Lakes.” Inviting waterfalls and lakes are highlighted by a well-developed parks program. Education and healthcare are tops in what was once considered a progressive place to live.
Such contrast between the two spaces: Peace, Love and Beauty butting heads with Heartbreak, Hatred and Unrest.
Many messages, evoking a range of emotions, were on display at the scene of the chaos. This one drips with sadness. Sadness for the six-year-old daughter who has to live with, not only that her dad died, but with how he died.
But these words also offer hope. Hope that real change occurs so that Gianna’s words won’t be in vain. Floyd’s family, and others like them, could find peace if something good comes out of the senseless deaths of their loved ones.
As we await justice, let’s remember the words of Martin Luther King Jr.:
True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.
As Christians, let’s embrace Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 13:11:
Finally, brothers, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
Another heartbreaker. Children. Splat in the middle of harm’s way. It’s impossible to understand protesters who choose to destroy and burn and loot. Their actions threaten the most innocent among us, making a horrible situation even worse. Driven by hatred, such acts snatch away peace as fast as the current at Minnehaha Falls.
Although it’s not easy, it’s important that each of us seek first to understand.
Listen to Albert Einstein:
Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.
And when things of the world are beyond understanding, we find peace by giving them to God.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6-7
This simple rendering reminds me that people are at the heart of it all. At the heart of the good, the bad. The happy, the sad. The love, the hate. The pretty, the ugly. And we are hurting each other. The Lord God made us all. How He must be hurting, too.
Can we not come together and fight for one thing? Consider the words of Albert Camus:
Peace is the only battle worth waging.
The words of Camus align with the teachings of Christ. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus lays out central principles on the way of life. The opening Beatitude stresses that Christians are to live in a way that leads to peace as opposed to a life characterized by violence and strife.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of GodMatthew 5:9
Created by teens, the multiple messages here are striking. I don’t believe defunding the Minneapolis Police Department is the answer, but I do agree that without justice there will be no peace. I agree that black lives matter, as do all lives. And I hope that Gianna Floyd is right, that her daddy’s death will spur much needed change across our nation.
If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.Nelson Mandela
I pray this happens. That we stop seeing each other as enemies, but rather as partners. Nevertheless, our one true hope resides in Jesus:
The opening Beatitude stresses that Christians are to live in a way that leads to peace as opposed to a life characterized by violence and strife. Click To Tweet
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.John 16:33