News and Current Events
3 Ways to Respond to the Baltimore Riots
Written by Project Inspired | April 28, 2015
On April 19th, a young man by the name of Freddie Gray was tossed into the back of a van and taken into police custody. Before the end of the night, Mr. Gray was declared dead from spinal chord injuries and an entire city was left wondering, “What happened?”
Today, you can’t turn your television screen on without witnessing the aftermath of April 19th. The people of Baltimore are enraged. They’re hurt. They’re scared. And they are ready to take a stance against what they perceive to be excessive police force towards African American men. This volatile mix of emotions has caused many men and women to flood the streets and destroy things under the false pretense of protest. As we watch these scenes unfold, it can be easy to absorb those emotions and react in a similar way.
However, as Christians, it is important to remain Godly, even in times of unrest and perceived injustice. For it is in those times that Satan is hard at work. This doesn’t mean that you should remain silent. Not at all. If you feel compelled to respond to the violence being waged in Baltimore, we recommend you take the following steps:
1. Listen. There’s so much to be gained from just listening to people. The Bible itself says, “let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (James 1:19). The same logic absolutely applies here! Beneath all of the anger and chaos in Baltimore, there’s genuine hurt. There’s pain. There’s a yearning to be heard. So, before you speak up for or against this cause, be sure to stop and listen first.
2. Pray. One of the most important steps that you can take is to pray. Pray for the friends and family of Freddie Gray, as they have lost a loved one. Pray for the residents of Baltimore, as they are living in fear. In short—pray for every person that’s been affected by this ongoing event. We are all brothers and sisters in this world. When one person hurts, we all hurt. And today, we have an entire city in pain.
3. Speak and Act. The Bible says, “be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22). As Christians, it is important to speak and to act (with much thought) against wrong doing whenever it’s underway. The riots in Baltimore, Ferguson and Oakland stem from a serious and unfortunate issue that’s rooted in race and police brutality. However, this source of unrest does not give people the right to destroy property and behave in a barbarous way. It’s not okay. And it’s our duty as children of God to speak up against that kind of behavior. Also, if this topic comes up in your youth group discussions or on your social media feeds, don’t be afraid to share your thoughts and to speak up for what is right. Your voice matters.
This topic is complex and this short article does not do the underlying issues very much justice. However, as Christians we need to be the light in an otherwise dark world. We need to be the love that sees past color, denomination, gender and whatever else. Today, you can be the spark, that lights the fire, that changes the world.
“Could a spark of your love light the whole church on fire? When we care for our neighbor more than we care for style, when we breathe in, hope we breathe in. Create some meaning God. When we breathe out, peace will breathe out. Just to breathe out love. This little light’s gonna shine, with just a spark light a fire. Just a spark.”
– Spark by The City Harmonic
Photo Credit: MyFoxDC