Charlotte Riots: It’s Something Much Deeper

Right behind a local pastor’s home in Charlotte, the riots ensued on Tuesday night. Helicopters raced over his yard barely touching the roof of his house. He has little children who laid in their beds and slept through the unexplainable noises. He had done nothing wrong, yet he was in the line of fire. He was faced with an onslaught of thoughts while trying to make sure his family was protected. The neighborhood exits were blocked, and if the rioters came any closer, they had a to make a decision on whether or not they would have to leave on foot or stay at home. What would he do? How would he react? Innocent people are being affected by immature acts of violence. Let’s not cry out for peace while expressing rage.

As I watched one of the videos from last night’s protest, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with the gravity of the repercussions that these rioters are bringing upon themselves. They want police to assume the best about them, but they are giving them every reason not to trust them. They want peace, but they are destroying the city. They want to be heard, but they are throwing tantrums like children. They say they want “equality”, but they are not treating others as equals. They want to be treated with dignity and respect, but they are attacking unassuming people who are just trying to leave downtown Charlotte.

I heard a peace activist say as he spoke to one of the rioters, “Just because these cops are wearing a uniform, it doesn’t make them robots…just like your skin color doesn’t make you a criminal!”. I understand and know that there are corrupt cops, but there are also corrupt people who hate authority of any kind. There is growing defiance in the heart of man, and I believe it is the result of a fatherless and motherless generation.

I keep replaying a scripture in my mind, “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” (Psalm 16:6). I can’t help but be reminded of the truth that surrounds this verse as we are being faced with an ever-growing rebellion. How this generation does not like boundaries. How they long to be left to their own ways. How they want to be their own god. How they do not want the discipline that comes with submitting to authority. Boundaries are meant to be something that is for our benefit. It is a place of safety and assurance. When we leave those boundaries, we are susceptible to the enemies that lurk just beyond. Our protection is found within the boundaries. The deception is that the rioters believe their rioting will help drive home their point, but they are destroying their credibility.

In the midst of the riots in Charlotte, I spoke with someone I know and love who is a teacher in a public school in a different state. She shared that if one of her male students were to attack a female student, she would have no right to pull that male student off of her. If she intervened, she would most likely lose her job, and go to prison. We aren’t talking about high school students; she is a 1st-grade teacher. I was floored at the thought of this. How can a teacher be completely stripped of her rights to teach (even ethically)? The public school system is teaching these young ones that if they decide they want to be defiant and choose to attack someone, they will be allowed to get away with it at that moment. As a result, the teacher would be punished for doing the right thing.

I am heartbroken for our city. I am grieved at the damage to the structures and more importantly, the hardening of people’s hearts. But what is most upsetting is knowing that these rioters didn’t just become this way, they learned and became subject to the “machine”. We are looking at the faces of those who may have had a mom and dad, but they were not parented. We are looking at men and women, who are really children that fell victim to the system that gave them the right to be how they are. We are looking at politically entitled men and women who are enabled in their defiance. We are looking at a generation that does not know Jesus. Those faces of anger that are screaming with rage are the faces of a fatherless and motherless generation.

The answer is found not in violence, but on our knees.

Father, we ask that you would turn the hearts of the children to their fathers, and the hearts of fathers to their children.

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