Enough is Enough – Thoughts on Justice, Compassion, and Eric Garner

I held off on blogging about Ferguson, it was a matter too weighty to deal with merely a blog post. Aside from shaking my head at the entire situation, I didn’t have any words to express my feelings, so I didn’t even try. But enough is enough, now that the Eric Garner case has made it to the forefront of America’s mind I can’t help but address the entire situation.

Protests in Manhattan after the Eric Garner case fails to go to trial.
Protests in Manhattan after the Eric Garner case fails to go to trial.

In case you don’t know what happened, here is the report by the New York Times:

On Wednesday [12/3/13] a Staten Island grand jury ended the criminal case against a New York police officer whose chokehold on an unarmed black man led to the man’s death… the fatal encounter in July was captured on videos and seen around the world. But after viewing the footage and hearing from witnesses, including the officer who used the chokehold, the jurors deliberated for less than a day before deciding that there was not enough evidence to go forward with charges against the officer.

The video is readily available online, and honestly when I saw the video I was enraged, sickened, and saddened. My heart dropped to the pit of my stomach as I watched the Eric Garner being choked out after having a civil conversation…

Every time you see me, you want to mess with me. I’m tired of it. It stops today… I’m minding m business officer, I’m minding my business. Please just leave me alone. I told you the last time, please just leave me alone. Please. Please, don’t touch me. Do not touch me. [garbled] I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. [Transcript of Garner’s words.]

Eric Garner Chokehold

In light of all of this I want to point all of us to two scriptures. One from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament.

Psalm 9:7-12

The Lord reigns forever;
he has established his throne for judgment.
He rules the world in righteousness
and judges the peoples with equity.
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
10 Those who know your name trust in you,
for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

11 Sing the praises of the Lord, enthroned in Zion;
proclaim among the nations what he has done.
12 For he who avenges blood remembers;
he does not ignore the cries of the afflicted.

Luke 10:29-37

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

As you read the passage from Luke I want you to:

Imagine being that beaten Samaritan (a despised race) and left for dead. You see a priest and other religious folk walk right past you. That’s how those who feel emotionally trodden feel when Christians mentally walk past them, talking about what now seem to be trivial matters, not noticing that some of their black counterparts are breaking under the weight of these issues. – Issac Adams

Justice and Compassion. That is God’s heart. I pray that we as Christians we stay in tune with God’s heart and reflect it to the world.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s