I’m not sure what to think about the grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson–not only because I’m ignorant of the legal system but also because I don’t have all the facts (and quite frankly, I don’t think anyone–not even Wilson himself–does or ever will). But St. Louis has slowly become my second city over the past two and a half years, and so in that respect, I’m sort of obligated to have an opinion. After all, what are the dinner guests going to ask me about at Thanksgiving after they’ve finished peppering me with questions regarding my classes? Ferguson, of course.
Beyond having an opinion about the situation–beyond the rhetoric and the talking heads and the angry voices–I care about the situation because I am human. Just like Michael Brown. Like Darren Wilson. Like each of the twelve jurors. Like the protestors. Like the innocent citizens whose businesses and livelihoods were damaged by rioters. Yes, even like the looters. And by caring, I choose to listen. Not just to hear the shouting and breaking glass and cable news headlines, but to listen to people’s stories and hearts and lives–when I agree, when I disagree, and when I don’t know.
Most important, I believe we are called “to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God” (Micah 6:8). I don’t think anyone knows or every will know what true justice is in this situation, much less how to implement it. But even when justice and mercy seem fundamentally opposed, as they do to so many right now, we must both search within ourselves and look to our God to bring justice and to show mercy to our neighbors. Because when Jesus called us to be a light to the world, He didn’t mean for us to light Molotov cocktails (metaphorically or literally).
For some further insights from people more mature and better educated than myself, see this article on Christianity today and this sermon from a local St. Louis church (audio link near bottom of page). Edit: NFL player Benjamin Watson posted this extended Facebook status, which is also worth reading.