I want you to watch this one-minute video before you read my blog. It is the disturbing killing of George Floyd:
This is one of the most disturbing videos that I have seen. His crying out for breath is heartbreaking. The actions and the inaction by the police is criminal. I am heartbroken that George Floyd is gone. I will let others speak about the social, racial inequities that are apparent in this video and I will let others speak about possible steps that can be taken at a federal and state level. What I want to speak about is how Christians should be responding to Floyd’s death.
There are three reasons that Christians should stand in solidarity with George Floyd, his family and the black community. The first reason is that we are talking about a man and a community that bear the imago dei. In every human person is the reflection of the divine personality. It is sacred. It is precious. The image of God was desecrated when Floyd died from lack of air. It is even more nefarious because it was the ‘peacemakers’ who did it. This should outrage every Christian. We should be filled with lament.
Then, we must realize what most, if not all, black parents worry about: their black sons are in imminent danger of this very thing happening to them. Jogging, driving or just existing seems to be spaces where life can be taken. Human life is precious because it is a reflection of God’s life. We should be angry and mourn that our fellow human beings live in a world where this narrative is at least feasible if not true. Every Christian must do what he or she can to end such disregard for what God calls beautiful.
The second reason that Christians should stand in solidarity with George Floyd, his family and the black community is that George Floyd was a Christian. He was a serious Christian that lived out his faith.
The words of Paul echo in my heart: “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together” 1 Corinthians 12:26. George Floyd suffered, his family is suffering, his church is suffering and the American black church is suffering. What should be our response? Paul tells us; it is the more excellent way. It is the way of love. Every Christian should embrace the way of love that is found in 1 Corinthians 13. We need to find tangible ways of loving George Floyd, his family and the black church. Maybe it is financial gifts to support justice for George Floyd, maybe it is joining in the fight for equality, and maybe it is learning what our brothers and sisters experience as black citizens in our country. Paul is clear that if we have great theology and amazing Christian lives but don’t love, then it is all worthless. Christian, we are called to love George Floyd, his church and the American black church. They are all suffering.
The final reason we should stand in solidarity is that racism is a great evil that still has roots in the church. Racism is the sin of reviling that is condemned. This is what Paul says: “…revilers … will not inherit the kingdom of God” 1 Corinthians 6:10 ESV. You revile a person when you abuse them for no other reason than for who they are. It is despicable and should not even be named among those who believe. We can stand with our brothers and sisters in Minneapolis and the country by making sure that racism is rooted out in our hearts. This would be a great gift in the midst of this calamity.
For those who want to consider this tragedy more deeply, here is a new podcast from Ordinary Christians where I, Bob Bouwer and Derek Buikema try to find a way forward after the George Floyd killing.