The savage treatment of George Floyd that resulted in his death is heartbreaking. The brutality of the officer involved is unconscionable.
But sadly, the officer’s act has triggered a wave of looting, violence, and destruction. Stores are decimated, police cars are set on fire, and communities are left with human and economic carnage. God’s heart was crushed when George Floyd was asphyxiated. Now, God’s heart is wounded again by the outbreak of devastating destruction.
What does biblical teaching have to say in response to these events?
First, Jesus refused to respond to violence with violence. When Christ was arrested and falsely accused, Peter attacked the servant of the high priest by yanking out a sword and lopping off the servant’s ear. Jesus reprimanded Peter, "Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword" (Matthew 26:52). Jesus understood that the only way to stop the reverberating cycle of hate was not to participate in it.
Dr. Martin Luther King affirmed that civil disobedience must always be peaceful, rather than destructive. "Let me say as I've always said, and I will always continue to say, that riots are socially destructive and self-defeating. I'm still convinced that nonviolence is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom and justice. I feel that violence will only create more social problems than [it] will solve."
Second, do all that you can to seek justice. God despises injustice and discrimination. God declared through the Old Testament prophet Amos, “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5:24). God’s desire was that His people become champions for the disenfranchised. We can join the fight for justice by participating in ministries that serve those who are on the margins. By joining the fight against police brutality. Christians need to be communicating in no uncertain terms that the strangling of George Floyd is abhorrent and must be punished. Christians must acknowledge that the murder of Floyd stands in a long line of similar incidents over the course of decades.
Third, we can take heart in knowing that ultimately, Christ will deliver justice. Unjust things happen in the world that we can’t explain and don’t understand. Tragedies and outrages litter the landscape of human history. But life on earth is a tangle of broken stories that all lead to a divine ending. The day is coming when justice will be served. Acts 17:31, “For He (God) has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man (Jesus Christ) he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” We must remember that we live between the already and the not yet. Satan has been defeated, but he hasn’t conceded. He’s been overthrown, but not eliminated. Jesus’ victory over the forces of injustice will be consummated when He comes again! The Bible is clear that when Jesus returns, His reign will be complete. And every trace of injustice will be eradicated forever!