BEFORE you start reading this post, I should probably give you a disclaimer:
This is an extensive blog post. The content of this blog post does not literally support the blog post’s title.
Now, if you watched the sitcom, “How To Get Away With Murder” by Shonda Rhimes this season, then I am at least 99 percent certain you are a fan. Unlike Ms. Rhimes other show, “Scandal” that I kept hearing everyone talk about, I immediately became hooked on “How To Get Away With Murder”. Once I started watching “Scandal”, admittedly, I am now a fan of the show. But did you all watch the finales for both shows? OMG! Professor Keating, played by Viola Davis, really left us on edged and ready for the next season! Hats off to Shonda for helping us with scheduling our Thursday nights.
ENTERTAINMENT VS. REALITY….
As proven by the show’s ratings, many of us like to be entertained in a way that allows us to break free from our individual and collective realities. And for me, this show has been a great escape. However, just days after the finale, true reality drastically set in for America. After months of intense waiting to be informed whether or not 12 jurors would decide to indict Ferguson, Missouri’s police officer, Darren Wilson, for the killing of 18 year old unarmed Michael Brown Jr., millions were glued to their televisions or radios in anticipation to hear the words of prosecutor Bob McCulloch. Now before you think, “Not another story on this issue”, let me assure you, YES, another story on this issue, but probably not with the total outcome you are expecting.
As a mental health advocate, I endeavor to not only promote ways to have a healthy mind, I also strive to personally accomplish this. But as I shared with a friend, all the news reports about people losing their lives was starting to test my mental state. We are all emotional beings and it is not healthy to keep emotions bottled up inside of us, just as it isn’t healthy to release the emotions in harmful ways. It has taken me over a week to publish this post and it wasn’t due to writers block; Rather, it was because I had so much to say. The first night that the decision was released, I vented on my social media page. No, I’m not about to apologize for anything I wrote because I meant everything that I said and it was my truth. When one deals with crises, it is good to be honest with yourself about how you feel and to have a good support group. For me, this is normally a group of girl friends that I can be real with and not be judged by. Trust me, it is very healthy to be able to just vent.
One of my pet peeves is to receive understanding and to be understood, even if no one agrees with my decisions or actions. Admittedly, we don’t always make the right decisions or take the right actions, but in most civil times we usually have a valid reason for doing so. I have had enough time to listen to advocates, reporters, witnesses, attorneys, officers, community leaders, friends, families and more importantly, the family of the deceased victim. So, I’m not going to rehash the logistics of the case. But for the purpose in gaining understanding, those who don’t understand the hoopla, you should know that the issue is not just about Ferguson. There has been a movement going on for years and it is called, Respecting and Valuing Life.
The fact that arguments have to take place about the value of life confirms that we are in a sad state of affairs. When incidents such as these occur, it will cause many emotions to arise and yes, from all sides. Even in our various frustrations, we have to receive closure so that we can move forward. Closure does not mean forgetting or not doing anything to change or even resolve the issue. But we have to stabilize our emotions in order to maintain our sanity. This is why when NFL player, Benjamin Watson, wrote his commentary on the Ferguson issue, I was so relieved because it was the first time that I was starting to “come back this away” as the elderly folks say. He was able to articulate what I felt and what I thought. He also expressed how I would feel once I went through the process. One thing that really allowed me to start to come back to normalcy was his last paragraph.
I’M ENCOURAGED, because ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem. SIN is the reason we rebel against authority. SIN is the reason we abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn. BUT I’M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for sin through the his son Jesus and with it, a transformed heart and mind. One that’s capable of looking past the outward and seeing what’s truly important in every human being. The cure for the Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner tragedies is not education or exposure. It’s the Gospel. So, finally, I’M ENCOURAGED because the Gospel gives mankind hope.” – Benjamin Watson
HOW AND WHY DO PEOPLE GET AWAY WITH MURDER?
Aren’t you just on edge waiting for this answer? As a Christian, I know and believe the reason behind all chaotic issues is sin. Despite knowing and believing, sometimes you have your Job moments and you have to ask God, “Why?” And last Saturday morning around 4 o’clock, I had to have my ‘Come to Jesus, Job Moment”. Not just about the Michael Brown issue or the Tamir Rice, Eric Garner or Trayvon Martin issue. It was because I had a mental vision that took me not only to the deaths of these boys and men, but also to the death of children that are brutally murdered every day. It took me to the deaths of women that are killed by domestic violence. It took me to the deaths of men and women that chose to break free from life. It took me to the deaths of slaves that were thrown off the ships before they even arrived to America. It took me to the deaths of slaves that were killed because they could no longer physically produce the labor required of them. It took me to the deaths of our ancestors that fought for freedom. It took me to the deaths of the so many lives lost during the Holocaust. It took me to the deaths of so many elderly that are killed in the comfort of their own homes. It took me to the deaths of past and present day Christian martyrs. It took me to the deaths of the priests that were in the church praying on their knees and were slaughtered.
After mentally viewing history, by this time I was covered with tears and asked God out loud, “How do so many get away with murder?” As a Christian and minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I know that the Bible has the answers to life’s questions and even death’s. So I used the law of primary reference, and I revisited the book of Genesis. I had to go back to the beginning and understand why we were created. But when I reached the famous story of Cain and Abel, about the first murder that occurred, God started speaking. As humans, we view death, physical death so differently from God. We focus on why someone died and how they died. These two questions keep us from receiving closure and moving forward. After God called Cain out for killing his brother, despite the lack of respect and value for life that Cain displayed in his answer, God still made provision for Cain. Even though we see examples in the Bible when God avenges, the theme He gives us throughout is forgiveness and grace. God is ultimately focused on our spirit because He knows we will go back to dust.
So now, even when I initially heard the Ferguson Decision, I thought to myself, “How did he just get away with murder?” And pondering about the so many other lives lost in such tragic ways, I had to realize that the basis for all the deaths, all the bitterness, all the hatred is truly a sin issue. God said in Genesis 8:2, “for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth”; therefore, we all have to constantly pray for our hearts because “as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). We can not allow the enemy to keep us distracted and cause us to forget who and whose we are. And to this resolve, we know The Answer. In the meantime, we must coexist while temporarily residing in the earth. How do we do this with the different emotions and view points on relevant issues? Experience has taught me that after I have my ‘Come to Jesus Moments’ and be real with God about my feelings, surrender to the Holy Spirit and allow love to rule that is when I see a change in myself and able to help others. It is our common blood, the Blood of Jesus, that allows the most extreme opposites to reason together. Therefore, I too, am encouraged. Definitely not because of the bloodshed by those that appear to have and continue to get away with murder, but I am encouraged and hopeful because of the bloodshed by my LORD, and Savior, Jesus Christ. The enemy thought he got away with murdering Jesus, BUT THE VICTOR IS OURS!