By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
We were in a mess before the pandemic, we’re in a mess during the pandemic and we will be in a mess after the pandemic. Why? The answer is simple. We live in a world where sin is alive and well.
The world is upset with the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and rightly so. I usually give police the benefit of doubt in most cases, but it’s hard to do so when watching this man die at the hands of a police officer. The police officer expressed exceedingly poor judgment and will no doubt pay the price.
People across the United States gathered for rallies to express their displeasure of what they consider extreme racism. And, they should. Racism is a sin — end of discussion. It is wrong and in this case became a crime when a man’s life was taken.
There is nothing wrong with peaceful protests. We live in a country where men and women gave their life to insure we have that right. But, unfortunately, in many cities, including Nashville, across the nation recently, those peaceful protests turned violent. Businesses and buildings were looted and burned, the courthouse in Nashville among them.
Many people have expressed a similar thought in different ways, including Mark Twain, but I like this version attributed to former Tennessee Baptist pastor and former Southern Baptist Convention president Adrian Rogers: “it’s never right to do wrong and it’s never wrong to do right.”
Racism is never a right thing to practice. It goes against God’s command to love one another and it certainly is diametrically opposite of the Golden Rule which is described in Matthew 7:12: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
And, as wrong as racism is, so is stealing and destroying other people’s property. And, sadly, a lot of the violence was reportedly committed by people who didn’t go to peacefully protest. They were intent on causing chaos. People all over our nation have been reeling from the economic fallout of COVID-19. Many business owners had just reopened in recent weeks only to discover that rioting and looting had happened to their businesses. They had nothing to do with what the policeman did in Minnesota but some of them had to close their businesses once again to clean up the mess and get it ready for business again.
No matter how much we hate what happened to George Floyd, it does not give anyone “the right to do wrong” to others. We need to treat others as we would want to be treated. End of discussion.
I would encourage every reader to read Chris Turner’s column on the bottom of this page about his encounter with a black teenage boy following the death of George Floyd. It will make you think in a way you have never done before.
We would have less turmoil (and violence) in this world if we would respect one another (and respect doesn’t mean agreeing on every issue) and treat others as we would want to be treated.
And, finally our world might be a better place if we followed this other bit of wisdom from Adrian Rogers: “We ought to be living as if Jesus died yesterday, rose this morning, and is coming back this afternoon.”
Wow! Can you imagine how different our world would be if we lived like Jesus is coming back tonight? Think about it.