Philippians 2 is calling us to consider others, consider the situations, consider the hurt, consider the broken, sinful world and systems we live in, and consider how Christ would love people in these scenarios.
I know a mother who was aggressively forced to the ground with a gun drawn to the back of her head while her young kids watched. I know a gang member who was beat up by cops without cause and another who was shot multiple times by law enforcement-both survived but have permanent injuries as a result. I know fears that minorities have when getting pulled over and the frustrations when many are constantly shot. I know a cop who was shot at and his wife was wondering if he was going to make it home. I know officers who want to perform their jobs uprightly and do their best to serve the community but have to face some of the most evil circumstances and deal with those circumstances in a levelheaded manner. Each of these situations breaks my heart. In general our society and Christians respond poorly and unbiblically to these scenarios.
Think through some of these scenarios. How quickly do we judge based on our own assumptions? Are young black or Hispanic individuals who get shot automatically thugs? Do we believe that certain minority groups are problematic street thugs and therefore most likely “up to no good”? And let’s consider scenarios with gang members and the law. Are they such “monsters” in our own minds that they deserve any sort of negative treatment by those in authority? Do we think gang members are beyond hope and whatever law enforcement does to them is something they “deserve”? Do we realize how families are hurting when they lose a loved one to an officer-involved shooting? Do we consider the fear some parents and children may feel and the constant uneasiness due to interactions they’ve personally experienced or seen their loved ones experience with police? What about the stereotyping and racism that minorities have faced from some of those who are entrusted to protect and serve?
On the flipside, do we think most policemen are corrupt and none of them actually want to help serve the communities they work in? When an officer’s wife or child hears on the news about police being shot, they have the same fears and uneasiness about whether or not they’ll see their loved one come home. I think we should consider the fact that there are officers who are out there trying to do their job in a respectful, upright manner yet they constantly have to deal with some of the most horrific circumstances that many of us never have to face. Do we consider these situations from other points of view?
In Philippians 2 Christians are called to humbly consider others more important than ourselves. That means that people are more important than our preconceived views, agendas, and assumptions. Consider when a family is hurting and grieving over the loss of a loved one, whether it’s a minority or an officer. Consider the role that race or stereotyping might factor in and consider how minorities in our churches might process the situation and wonder if that same thing might happen to them. Consider when a cop is simply performing his duty but is shot by a person who hates the law. Consider the high-risk moments cops face each day and trying to remain calm under that pressure. Consider a minority who gets harassed, beaten, or shot by a cop because there was a false assumption made.
Philippians 2 is calling us to consider others, consider the situations, consider the hurt, consider the broken, sinful world and systems we live in, and consider how Christ would love people in these scenarios. It’s hard to see things like this happen and even hear Christians speak about how a minority “deserves” to be shot and killed because he’s probably a “thug”. How could a Christian speak so casually about a situation where someone is killed? Both officers and minorities are created in God’s image and to think of a moment where a person’s life may end, perhaps without them knowing the gospel, how could we have anything but a brokenhearted posture? Are you so committed to your worldview that young African-Americans or Latinos are “thugs” that you don’t even care about their souls? Or, on the other hand, are you so committed to your worldview that all police officers are corrupt that you don’t even care about their souls? We must cultivate a heart of compassion towards those who are enduring hardships and take time to hear other people’s experiences. Consider others more important than your self.
Danny Neiditch is the founder and CEO of Prodigal Sons, Inc. Born and Raised in LA, Danny is a diehard Dodgers, Lakers, and street tacos fan. You can find him on Twitter @dannyneiditch.