The disciples thought Jesus would end up with an earthly throne and that they would all sit with him. They were excited about being able to reign with him. The sons of Zebedee, James and John, even asked to sit on his sides not even knowing the depth of what they asked for. The disciples had high hopes. Imagine Peter’s disappointment when it all seemed to be going downhill! In John chapter 18 Judas arrived with a squadron of soldiers to arrest Jesus. It looked like all their hopes and dreams were drowning. Peter had left his job and family to follow Jesus. He had so much invested. Peter became frustrated, furious, and then failed to keep his composure. Yep, he acted out!
”10 Then Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the High Priest’s servant.”
Acting out occurs when an inner conflict (most often, frustration) translates into aggression. It is a defense mechanism in which a person acts without regard for negative consequences. It usually occurs when a person has reached the boiling point. Peter was frustrated that his dreams were fading right before his eyes. Frustration is the prevention of the progress, success, or fulfillment of something. Peter’s frustration led him to a place of fury (wild or violent anger) which then caused him to fail to handle the situation effectively.
Right now in our country people are frustrated at the mistreatment of African American people. There is a longstanding history of African Americans being treated unfairly in all many ways. Innocent African Americans have died at the hands of law enforcement, who are sworn to protect and serve. Their murderers have not been held accountable and no justice was served.
- Emmet Till-Emmett Louis Till was a 14-year-old African American who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955, after being accused of offending a white woman in her family’s grocery store.
- Trayvon Martin-Trayvon Benjamin Martin was a 17-year-old African-American teenager from Miami Gardens, Florida, who was fatally shot in Sanford, Florida by George Zimmerman. Martin had gone with his father on a visit to his father’s fiancée at her townhouse at The Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford.
- Freddie Gray-On April 12, 2015, Freddie Carlos Gray, Jr., a 25-year-old black man, was arrested by the Baltimore Police Department and subsequently charged for possessing a knife. While being transported in a police van, Gray fell into a coma and was taken to the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center.
- Sandra Bland-Sandra Bland was a 28-year-old African American woman who was found hanged in a jail cell in Waller County, Texas, on July 13, 2015, three days after being arrested during a pretextual traffic stop. Her death was ruled a suicide.
- On March 13, 2020, Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old African American emergency medical technician, was shot eight times to death by Louisville Metro Police Department officers Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove who entered her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky, while serving a “no-knock warrant”.
- On February 23, 2020, Ahmaud Marquez Arbery, an unarmed 25-year-old African-American man, was fatally shot near Brunswick in Glynn County, Georgia, while jogging on Holmes Road just before entering its intersection with Satilla Drive in the Satilla Shores neighborhood.
And most recently George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin and 3 other officers. It was a routine police call for a run-of-the-mill crime — someone passing a bogus $20 bill at a deli. But the ensuing death of unarmed black man George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis cops, and the resulting riots, have once again forced a divided nation into a bitter self-reckoning.
Derek Chauvin, the officer seen on video with a knee on Floyd’s neck Monday as Floyd begged for air, was also one of six officers who fatally shot 42-year-old Wayne Reyes in 2006. Derek Chauvin had been with the Minneapolis police since 2001. During his career, he was the subject of over a dozen police conduct complaints.
We, African Americans, have yet to be treated in this country like the fellow human beings that God created.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
If its self evident then why do African Americans have to fight for it?
The riots that we are seeing across this country are examples of acting out. People are in so much pain that they are demonstrating in a pandemic! White, Black, Latino, Indian, Hispanic, and others have all joined in the fight for fairness, justice, and freedom. When people go as far as to riot it is a reaction to inaction. People are tired. This is not just a black issue, it is a human issue. Reform stops riots. The Millennials who are protesting are letting us know that they don’t like the way of the past. They are largely not in agreement with what they have inherited. And they want it to stop! They are not trying to inherit a racist sick America from us.
Racism has no winners. Racism and the hatred that racism brings, will ultimately hurt everyone. Silence IS violence! A house divided cannot stand. In the end we will either get over this or it will take all of us out. Racism is a lose/lose situation.
8 O Lord our God, the majesty and glory of your name fills all the earth and overflows the heavens. 2 You have taught the little children to praise you perfectly. May their example shame and silence your enemies!3 When I look up into the night skies and see the work of your fingers—the moon and the stars you have made— 4 I cannot understand how you can bother with mere puny man, to pay any attention to him! -Psalm 8:1-4
Nothing is so serene as taking in nature. Water particularly has a calming and soothing effect on mankind. Could it be because we were formed in water in the womb? Maybe and maybe not. The reality is that there are many beautiful things to behold in nature. On land and in the sea, there are many wonders to behold. The view of a mother bird feeding her babies. The sight of whales leaping out of the water. Envision for a minute a group of elephants traveling together with the baby elephants in the midst trying to keep up with the huge steps of their parents. And picture ants working hard all summer so that they may have food to eat in the winter. It’s all amazing!
I love to travel and on this particular trip we were cruising through Alaska. As I sat still on the balcony beholding the gushing stream of water I remembered what Jesus said in John 7:37-39.
37 On the last day, the climax of the holidays, Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.38 For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water shall flow from the inmost being of anyone who believes in me.” 39 (He was speaking of the Holy Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him; but the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet returned to his glory in heaven.)
And so it is! Thanks be to God for the precious Holy Spirit who fills our lives and causes us to be refreshed and satisfied from the inside. What a joy to be able to remain calm and content in the midst of all circumstances. How convenient to have an abundance of satisfaction and contentment not tied to anything material but just in the mere gratitude of being alive and well. Life is best when kept simple. Overcrowding of the mind will distract us from the view of life that God wants to give to us. Let’s make a quality decision to “be still and know that I am God!” I pray that in your still places this week you uncover the beauty of God’s creation which includes YOU!