There is an old joke about a mealy-mouthed politician who says, “Some of my friends are for this measure. Some of friends are against it. As me for me, I stand with my friends.” I’ve always loved that joke, but through the years I’ve learned that there are circumstances where standing with my friends is the right response.
Today I am told I must choose between supporting police officers and supporting minorities who tell of problems in dealing with law enforcement. Each camp points to the most extreme behavior of opponents to justify dismissive and dehumanizing responses. Yet one of the most challenging articles I’ve read came shortly after the Ferguson verdict. (Why I Feel Torn About the Ferguston Verdict) Safiya Jafari Simmons, a black woman who is the wife of a police officer and the mother of a black son, writes of her dilemma in telling her husband to do what he has to do to come home safe each night while also worrying about what may happen to her son through profiling or a misunderstanding by police. The choice between supporting law enforcement and supporting minorities with frustrations is a false choice.
As we mourn the loss of the two murdered NYPD officers, let us pray for God’s shalom to be made full, especially as we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Shalom. And let us pray that God would reveal to each of us our role in the realization of that shalom.