It is difficult to watch what is happening in Baltimore. It is especially hard to watch given what took place in Ferguson. One has to wonder how in the world this can happen again so soon. A man dies in questionable fashion due to injuries while in police custody. A few days of peaceful protests turn violent and riots begin.

It is equally hard to watch different reactions to what is taking place. Some believe violence is justified. Some believe that if people just followed the rules, all would be okay. It’s almost as if the reaction from near and far is fanning the flames of what is happening in real-time. We rush to judgement and put it out on social media because we can and because we think we know exactly what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes.

In our nation, racism exists. Economic injustice exists. The gap between the powerful and the powerless continues to grow. Our nation is also addicted to violence. We have come to believe that violence is the solution to all problems and then we glorify said violence. The sin of our violent nature isn’t the problem, it’s the solution in too many people’s eyes. It was Ghandi who said “an eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind.” I fear we are farther down that path than we would like to believe.

In this case, justice is hard. Both the rioters and the police need to be held accountable for crimes committed. We as a nation need to take a good long look in the mirror and see how we contribute to our systemic ills. The church needs to closely examine the words and teachings of Jesus and discern what Jesus would have us do.

Today I pray for those in Baltimore, both the police and the rioters. I pray for both the victims of injustice and those who perpetuate it, that their hearts may be opened. I am confident that in the midst of chaos, God is making a way. I hope and pray that all have the courage to take that path.

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