These would work but we will never do them.
1. Make Prayer Your Primary Strategy
A primary strategy is something you use more than anything else. This situation is beyond our ability to fix. We have been addressing it for a long time. Think about it. There have been thousands of meetings, hundreds of legislations and reforms, marches and protests and still we can’t fix this. We need divine intervention. When will we admit it? When will we abandon our pride? What would it look like if your go to in the people police challenges was prayer? I’m not talking about the typical God get me out of jail and let me win the lottery prayers. I’m talking about grinding in prayer. I’m talking about spending significant amounts of time in it. I wonder what would happen if churches were more committed to prayer and prayer meetings? What if the prayer meetings were just as full or fuller than Sunday services? We fly across the country to hear people speak, attend cohorts and be entertained by one another but we won’t travel to pray. We are prayerless and we wonder why our country is in the people police relational mess it’s in. Why are we wondering? We have not because we ask not.
2. Listen More Than You Communicate
God gave us 2 ears and 1 mouth. We need to reflect this in our communication with one another. We are never going to fix this by talking over, through and by one another. At some point we are going to have to listen a lot more than we talk. Here’s how you know you have listened. First, you could repeat back to the person what they said and they agree with you. Second, the person feels or thinks they have been heard. Third, in light of what you have learned you could ask better questions. Fourth, you now know how to more effectively love the person.
3. Aim At Being Righteous Rather Than Right
Righteousness is a standard. It’s independent of your perception and feelings. It is objective rather than subjective. A good example of righteousness are the 10 Commandments. Most people who are wrestling with this people police issue are consumed with being right. In a way I can’t blame them, this issue fuels so many emotions and uncovers so many past pains that it’s easy to fall into wanting to be right at any expense. You know you are more concerned with being right when you are willing to break a commandment in order to be right. Another way that you know you are more concerned about being right is that you no longer see the person you are talking with as an equal or a fellow image bearer who deserves honor. 99% of the time you yell you are all about being right. What if we were more concerned with keeping the law, loving our neighbor as ourselves and making sure every person we interact with experiences dignity and respect? What if we were more concerned with righteousness as we process through all of this?
4. Be Willing To Lose And Be Wronged
This issue will never be solved by someone winning the fight, protest, etc. In fact I will go a step farther. This issue doesn’t change until we are willing to lose and be wronged. Search history and see this for yourself. When have we ever seen significant transformation in society without someone losing? The answer is never. Think about the tremendous loss everyone involved with the civil rights endured. The path forward is losing and being wronged. If you are a Christian this should be blatantly obvious to you. Jesus loss = our win! Losers aren’t typically transformed. Losers don’t seek the interests of others. When people feel loss they usually react badly. People police issues we face turn our relationships with one another into a competition and we want to win. When more of us are willing to lose and be wronged we will see change.
5. Love The Unlovely
To some people the police are the enemy. To some police the people are the enemy. We don’t love our enemies we kill them. We defeat them. We dismantle them. I believe we could see significant change if we loved the people we believed were our enemies. There are some videos going around of African American men hugging officers. The problem is that it’s isolated and needs to be happening more and from the police as well. The hardest thing to do is to love someone who you think is wrong. It’s even harder to love them when you see them doing wrong on video. You just want to hate them and be angry. There is a place for righteous anger in all of this and it should be reserved for all who do evil no matter the “side” they are on. Hating your enemy comes natural, loving them doesn’t. If you want to contribute to change start loving those you consider to be your enemies. I leave you with words that could cause a social revolution and change the relationship between people and police.
Luke 6:27-36 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.