When I think of the volatile and vehement expression of emotions that has become characteristic of this city, I’m distraught. My heart goes out to the Brown family in the loss of their son, but to the protesters, I say: A destructive mob mentality is not the answer, and perhaps you should ask: WWMLKD ? –What Would Martin Luther King Do?
I think there were many times that Dr. King asked himself: WWJD? The answer to this problem isn’t more violence, it’s the application of biblical principles: “The kingdom of God is peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit . . . we must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another (Romans 14:12).”
A spokesman for the Brown family has summarized their feelings for this situation in one word—Disgust! The family is disgusted by the decision of the grand jury; the mob mentality of the protesters; and, the dehumanizing language of a “white” officer and a “black” victim.
One thing that does not promote peace and harmony is the mentality that is present in Ferguson—the rehearsing of resentment. The old cliché is that “hurting people hurt people,” and at the heart of resentment is the feeling: “You resent-me.”
Resentment is an emotion that is toxic, and it makes you the emotional slave of the person you resent. It will rob you of your sleep; occupy your dreams; ruin your digestion; and, it will steal your peace of mind.
It’s also intoxicating: The more you resent the greater your resentment becomes. There is a false sense of power that leads you to mistakenly believe you are hurting the person who has wronged you.
The book of Hebrews issues a warning: “Make sure that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness springs up, causing trouble and by it, defiling many Hebrews 12:15).” Look at Ferguson, and you see the root of bitterness has given birth to the flower of resentment, and it’s in full blossom.
James said that, “if you have bitter jealousy and selfishness in your hearts, do not boast . . . for where there is jealousy and selfishness, there is disorder and every evil practice (James 3:14-16).” When you look at Ferguson you see the power of bitterness. It has extinguished the light of joy, and it has left the soul of the city in darkness.
If bitterness has a death grip on you, the words of William Arthur Ward may be helpful: “Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hate. It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness.”