This podcast is directed to all young people, but primarily to young black men, young black women, and their parents. We are thankful for all the people who are fighting for legal justice and racial justice across the nation and all of the protesters who are standing up for various issues. But this podcast is about the man in the mirror. What are you doing for the glory of God, to make life better for others, for your family, and for yourself? This podcast is about living life in such a way that it cuts back on the chance of being harassed or killed by the authorities or anyone else and helps you to live the good life of peace and joy.
Jim Rohn said, “You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself.”
Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”
Here’s what the Bible has to say about law enforcement. Romans 13:3, 4, and 7 says, “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil… Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.”
Over the past few days, we all have observed the turmoil that erupted across the country following the decision of a Missouri grand jury not to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Our hearts sympathize with the parents and family members of Michael Brown, and we pray that they will be able to heal from this tragedy and the difficult days that followed.
As many commentators have said, the tensions in Ferguson have laid bare much larger issues in the United States that need to be confronted. From President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to community activists and religious leaders, many have discussed how changes can be made in how law enforcement and the justice system relates to the black community.
But the tragic situation in Ferguson also laid bare a reality that I am sure many have noticed, but few have said anything about, and that is that there is something fundamentally wrong with how young people in our communities are being raised. The fact of the matter is, if Michael Brown had not gone into that convenience store to steal some cigars, it is highly likely that he would still be alive today simply because he would not have been in the way when a police officer came through.
Now, some are trying to make Michael Brown into some kind of hero or martyr — and I am all for making the best out of a bad situation — however, I believe Michael Brown died over foolishness, over something that could have been prevented. He died over his own foolishness, perhaps some foolishness on the part of the police officer, and some foolishness on the part of his parents who probably let him get away with things that he should not have gotten away with. Michael Brown had just done something he had no business doing, and he probably reacted the wrong way when he came in contact with a police officer.
Now, I am a black man who has dealt with these issues for 40 years. I dealt with it when I bought my first brand new car. As I was driving to a friend’s house to show him the car, the police pulled me over thinking that I had stolen the car. (At that time, I was a full-time minister of the Gospel.) Without verifying any information, they took me off to jail and left my new car on the side of the road.