Church of the Abiding Savior, Lutheran

1625 S. Alston Avenue Durham NC

And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? –Luke 18:7

Please note that this is a confession, more than it is an informative article. It may be fueled by COVID depression, or it may just be cultural burnout. But I hope that, if you feel similar, it will give voice to your feelings and help you process…

How much grace should we have on this Monday? What does forgiveness look like when black bodies continue to die at the hands of police? I am so tired, and I’m angry at the world—a world which allows violence to move freely through the streets for the sake of “my right to protect myself.” Stephen Addison was shot and killed in Fayetteville by an off-duty deputy sheriff, in another example of blatant and unnecessary deadly force with a firearm. Details are still coming in, and the officer has not been identified publicly, so I cannot say with certainty that the officer was white; but I will take anyone’s money who wants to bet on it.

I notice within myself that I don’t want to have grace; I don’t want to forgive those who use the worn out “I was in fear for my life” excuse to kill another black person. I’m sick of reading police reports that try to justify a fellow officer’s racist violence by making up evidence in an attempt to steer the public’s eye away from the truth that another family has lost a father, brother, and son.

Am I called to forgive or to repent my inability to forgive in this moment? I honestly don’t know. I do know that I cry out to God for justice almost every day now, and I’m tired. But not as tired as the families of the dead; not as tired as the people who live in real fear every day because their skin color makes them a target for hate. I will never be that tired because I am white. So I continue to pray, cry out, and engage a racist system.

We at the Racial Justice Network are concerned with educating and moving white people (like myself) toward an awakening—toward the reality that we are all made in the image of God, no matter what we look like or what culture we represent. But we are also concerned with lifting up voices that have been silent for too long, with shouting at injustice with our own voices, and with doing the work necessary to ensure that one day the demon of racism will be exorcised from our world.

We’re not there yet.

Stephen Addison is dead at the hands of an off-duty deputy sheriff. Read his story. Weep with his family. Then find out how to actively engage in protests, lobby lawmakers, and continue building relationships that tear down this wall of hate. I don’t know if this is a rant; I only know that on this Monday, I need to encourage you all to keep praying, keep working, keep talking—and give yourself some grace when you can’t because God is also working to bring about justice in the world.