Friday, November 28, 2014

Lies, Love and Ferguson

My Facebook has been blowing up with posts and memes about Ferguson, Michael Brown and Officer Darren Wilson.  Much of it has been useless garbage and some of it has been down right lies.  Much of it has been posted by Christians and it breaks my heart. 

Earlier tonight someone I trusted and respected posted an entire post filled with lies about Michael Brown and when I politely pointed out that a cursory search or longer reading of the grand jury text would reveal those lies, they promptly erased my post and left the lies up for the world to see and that makes me so sad.

"Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight." Proverbs 12:22

It's not just the media and lying "witnesses" who should feel shame at how this tragedy has played out, but social media participants, as well.  What we do on social media matters because the whole point of social media is to keep up with one another, learn from one another and connect with one another. We share into the psyche of those around us when we share. We are responsible for what we say and do, even on social media. We are either the light and the salt, or we are not. 

Here's just some of the misinformation floating around on my wall:

Did you know that Officer Darren Wilson is 6' 4" tall and weighs 215 lbs?  Yeah.  The person who posted that he was "half" Michael Brown's size didn't know that, either. Officer Wilson is a huge guy, but for some reason the media doesn't want us to know that.

Did you know that Officer Wilson had NEVER fired his gun before that fateful afternoon, even though he'd been a policeman for more than seven years?  Yep.  The person that posted that Officer Wilson was out just looking to kill a "big, black kid" didn't know it, either.  Officers who haven't fired their gun in seven years of service aren't roaming around looking to kill people.

Did you know that Michael Brown had ZERO felonies on his juvenile record, even though my Facebook is blown up with people lying and saying that he had a whole record of them.  He didn't. He had NO felony record. The truth matters. 

Did you know that most of the witnesses that came forward were lying and the media put them on the news with zero verification that they were, in fact, witnesses?  Shouldn't that be a crime?  Shouldn't NEWS be factual?  What has happened to us?  

We have to tell the truth! We have to actively seek to tell the truth. All the time. If we say something we think is truth but find out later it wasn't, there's no shame in going back and simply saying, "I genuinely thought this was the truth, but now I know better and I want to correct what I said."  No shame in that. Ever.  There IS shame in continuing to lie to save face, though.  Lots and lots of shame. 

The grand jury is in and Darren Wilson will not go to trial. Does that mean we celebrate a young man's death?  Is that what it means?  God, no. No, it doesn't!!! 

Did you know that the majority of looters are not even from Ferguson?!  They are people who came there to loot and destroy because they knew they could. Because they knew they would not be blamed.  And my heart aches for the people who DO live there.  I think of them Every. Single. Day.  The people of Ferguson are REAL people. They are losing their lives, their businesses and their town. As a follower of Christ, your heart should break.  It should crack in two for them.  

And Michael Brown's momma... His momma. I am a momma. I doubt I am raising perfect kids, but I love them. Oh, how I love them and I know she loved her boy.  I want to hold her and cry with her and pray with her and sob with her and tell her I'm so sorry she will live out her days without her boy.  I'm sorry her boy is gone. I'm sorry...I'm sorry...I'm sorry... From one Momma's heart to another Momma's heart I am sorry her boy is dead. I am sobbing as I type this because that Momma's boy is dead.  

And I am angry at the people who ignore her pain and point their finger. I am angry that any Christian would stand and ignore her pain.

The truth is...what I really believe is this:  A young man made a dumb decision to rob a store of five bucks worth of cigarellos and impress his friends. A cop who'd never fired his gun in the line of duty pulled up at just the right time and it freaked that young man out because he thought Officer Wilson knew what he'd done.  He was caught...with only two more days to go before college started and he was caught...for stealing some cigarellos and pushing the store owner.  Some stupid, damn cigarellos. The young man freaked out. The cop reacted as he'd been taught and because he felt his life was in danger. The boy is dead. 

The media lied because it creates sensational head lines for millions and millions of viewers who are starving for sensational headlines and that's where the media's paycheck comes they lie. And convince those who won't bother to do the research that their lies are truth and then those anxious for drama and untruth spread the lies. 

The media films witnesses they know are lying or that they suspect of lying.  People are hurt and scared and tired and they react. They react because one of their own lies dead in the street for four hours. Four. Long. Hours. And his Momma has to see him. His Momma has to see him lying dead in the street. And so they react. We react. Everyone reacts and the truth is obscured and hard to see and harder to know for certain and cold, horrible hearts blame and blame and blame until everything is obscured but hate from all sides. From everywhere. Hate. And we all react and forget that a man who had never fired his weapon before that day killed a boy. And a young man is dead. Forever. And we all react.

It has to stop. We have to stop.  No more lies. No more tolerating racism where it exists (and stop lying and saying it doesn't exist. It does exist!)  We have to stop apologizing for something we can't change and replace it with love. Be kind. Be merciful and hear. We must stand up and demand that the media stop lying and lying and lying.  But most of all, we have to stop perpetuating the lies because it's burning a town to the ground and Jesus weeps.

We have to tell the truth and love one another. We have to love like Jesus loved. We have to love even when we know we are not being loved in return. We have to love even when it's hard. And it has to start right now. With each individual person who is strong enough to tell the truth.

Proverbs 15:1 "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."

Galatians 5:14 "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."

We are either surrendered to Christ or we are not.  If we are, we must love. We must have compassion. We must be gentle as a dove and sly as a fox. We must love our neighbors as ourselves. All the excuses in the world do not release us from this command. We must love one another. We must.

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