What Can I Do? A Response to George Floyd

What to do in times like George Floyd's death

What Can I Do?

“I can’t be silent anymore. I need to do something.”

Those were the thoughts that went through my mind when the news broke about the death of George Floyd. As a pastor, I feel that I need to lead by example and act in accordance with the compassion and justice of our Lord; but where do I begin? What can I do?

I came up with a list of four simple things I can do in response.

I can listen.

I don’t understand what it’s like to be a victim of racism. But, I can listen with empathy to the words of those who do. I reached out to a bi-racial family to better understand what they experience on a daily basis. James 1:19 call us “to be quick to listen, and slow to speak.” Now is time to lead with the ears and not with the mouth.

I can learn.

I can learn from African American brothers and sisters in Christ how I can help be a part of the solution in the name of Christ. I can also learn how to work together with law enforcement to ensure police brutality won’t happen here. Important side note: I have a profound respect for those in law enforcement and am friends with a local police officer. He and I have already started a dialogue about the issue and I know that dialogue will continue.

I can lean into God.

I can lean into God by using a reflective prayer like Psalm 139:23-24:

“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”

If I am harboring racial prejudice in my heart, I want the Holy Spirit to search it out so I can quickly confess it, repent of it, and receive cleansing according to God’s promise (1 John 1:8-9). If I have wronged any person of color, I want to make it right and be reconciled to them (Matthew 5:23-24).

I can look out for my brother.

Every human being is a Divine image-bearer. As such, we are called to be our
brother’s keeper (Genesis 4:9), regardless of the color of our skin. We should turn our cheek towards our enemies, but we dare not turn our eyes from any injustice. If we “see something, we need to say something.”

This list isn’t exhaustive by any means. It is however a start. A start that only requires empathy, humility, transparency, and vigilance—all qualities in keeping with Christ’s calling. So, if you’ve been wondering “What can I do?”, my recommendation is to begin with these.

What suggestions do you have? I’d love to hear them.

– Pastor Tim