Love Your Robber
Matthew 5:44 You have heard that it was said ‘love your neighbor’ and ‘hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. When I was 15, I was robbed by 4 young men. They beat me up, stole my cash, and my car. They happened to be men of color; three were African American and one was Latino. They called me racial names and made me feel very small. I wrote hereabout how I came to realize that it was not my place to judge violent protesters and that their expression could somehow be a form of communication to the broader body that could help us all. Yesterday a good friend of mine, Pastor Benjamin Robinson interviewed Police Officer Shane Winnings on Facebook live, and I was really struck by how much this man loves God and loves people. The degree to which I felt surprised revealed a bias that’s been developing more strongly in me over these last few weeks… that all cops are power-hungry, abusive, and corrupt. But honestly, that’s about as true as if I had decided all men of color are criminals because I was carjacked by a few of them. We do have a problem with systemic racism. We must fix that. And not that it’s everyone’s problem, but I noticed that I was starting to have a problem applying a stereotype to all-white policemen. There are good cops out there too. Dear God, thanks for bringing to light my own faults. Thank you for forgiving me of all my shortcomings and loving me despite them. I want to say a prayer for those four men who hurt me 27 years ago. I haven’t had a chance to forgive them yet, but I know that I can love them because you first loved me. I pray that you will bless them and protect their families. I pray that you will heal all the hurt that they must have experienced over the years because the system is stacked against them. May they know your power and your love, and may they come into a deeper relationship with you through the events that surround us. In your son’s name, Amen.