After the courts refused to indict Officer Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown, Brown’s stepfather – consumed by sorrow and rage – commanded a crowd of protestors to burn the city down.
Some supported this response. Others wondered whether violence makes our people look bad. Christians ask themselves, “What would Jesus do?” The thing is, even Jesus wasn’t ALWAYS non-violent!
Throughout the Bible, there are multiple passages documenting Jesus using violence when the situation called for it.
Matthew 21:12 describes Jesus running into the Temple of God, whip in hand, to violently banish the greedy merchants who were abusing the sacred space to make money!
“My house shall be called the house of prayer,” Jesus cried out, whip in hand, “but ye have made it a den of thieves!”
While Jesus didn’t ALWAYS resort to violence, he did so when he felt rage, grief, betrayal, or failed by a system. Sound familiar?
While non-violence is an important way to protest, it’s not the only way. When someone in our community is so consumed by grief that their pain escalates to violence, instead of judging them we should practice compassion.
When we ask “What would Jesus do?” we must acknowledge that in some cases, Jesus WOULD have chosen violence. Can we use this knowledge to extend grace to those whose rage or grief takes violent forms?
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