“I heard a pastor say If you are more outraged right now with the looting and burning down of property than you are of a man suffocated and killed on video then your priorities are greatly misordered, ” Matt Tommey founder of The Thriving Christian Artist said this on a Facebook post on May 30. And it’s one of the many phrases that has haunted me in the past week.
I admit I haven’t watched the George Floyd video, I don’t think I could handle watching it. Reading my dear black friends post the morning after the video was released broke my heart so much I couldn’t go looking for it. As Facebook and the news has exploded over the week filled with viewpoints and news media on this story I’ve felt so many emotions but in the end my heart just hurts. There are people I love who are black, they are people I love who have black sons, there are people I love who are police man or have policeman husbands and my heart hurts for all of them.
I have struggled with this feeling of helplessness. I am a privileged white woman and I struggle with “what can I do.” I feel like I’m a drop in the bucket, and this bucket has holes in it. Well I was reminded I can write so here I go.
There’s a very strange story in Judges about a Levite and his concubine in chapters 19-21. I never got it until now. The Levite traveled from Bethlehem to Judah and took his concubine with him. But she was “unfaithful” to him and left him and went to her father’s house in Bethlehem and stayed there for 4 months. The Levite went to Bethlehem to get his concubine. The Levite tried to leave the man’s home on the third and fourth day but the concubine’s father kept persuading him to stay another day. Finally on the sixth day even though it was getting into evening time the Levite refused to stay the night again so he got up and with his concubine and servant started back home to Jerusalem. When they neared Jebus the day was almost gone and they decided to travel to Gibeah a Benjaminite city and find lodging there. “The Levite went and sat down in the open square of the city because no man had invited him in to spend the night,” Judges 19:15. An old man saw the Levite and his concubine and servant in the square and after talking invited the Levite to his home. It says in verse 22 “while they were celebrating, behold, men of the city, certain worthless and evil men, surrounded the house, pounding on the door and they spoke to the master of the house, the old man, saying, “Bring out the man who came to your house so that we may have relations with him.” The old man of course refused and the Levite’s concubine was sent out of the house instead. The woman was gang raped and beaten all night and in the morning she collapsed and died. (verse 26) The Levite carried her body home to Jerusalem and then cut her body into twelve pieces and sent each piece to each tribe in Israel. This action caused Israel to meet and eventually attack and destroy the Benjaminite city of Gibeah. The only recorded civil war Israel had in the old testament.
So this story has been playing in the back of my mind all week. George Floyd to me is like that concubine. Only the problem isn’t one city. Its everywhere. The video is the viral version of the Levite sending the pieces of his dead concubine. It’s a wake up call. We cannot continue to allow this kind of brutality to anyone of any color. We cannot be passive about this any longer. And the sad thing is we’ve had these kind of wake up calls before and it’s done nothing. This time we have to make a change. We have to stand with our fellow black Americans and peacefully say, no more. Thing need to change like, police man everywhere should have body camera’s available to them. It helps for safety on both sides. We should support black education and encourage kids to graduate, go to college. Support black businesses. Volunteer to help clean up after the riots, as my friends husband did. We need to really, truly love our neighbors no matter their color.
What happened to George Floyd was brutal, gruesome and painfully heartbreaking. American, bothers and sisters, we got to do better. We got to change. For my friends that I love that are black. I know I don’t understand but I see you and I love you and I want to do better, to change. My friends who have black boys, I pray for their protection and for wisdom. I pray this is a pivot in our nation, in our neighborhoods and in our minds.