As I sit in my living room chair this morning, and await with prayerful dread the impending verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial, and—whatever the verdict—its inevitable effects upon the hearts, in the pews, and on the streets of our land, my heart aches.
I ache because whatever the verdict, real people will be grieved, alarmed, and distressed to their bone and marrow.
I ache because people will feel gripping fear—either because law enforcement is perceived as evil or because lawlessness seems to have prevailed.
I ache because the unity for which Christ died continues to be shrouded and obscured by the starkly and painfully different perspectives these tragedies reveal.
I ache because deep Christian fellowship is so often restricted to people who think the same about matters of justice, and is so often divided and destroyed when they don’t.
I ache because people on both ends of justice and freedom issues choose not to respect, hear, or empathize with, what the other end is saying.
I ache because our nation will be more deeply divided—and that anarchists on all sides may inch closer to their terrible day in power.
I ache because there has been such a long history of documented injustice that some will yield to despair over the seeming changelessness of evil.
I ache because there has been such a long history of documented injustice that some have lost all faith in authority and the justice system.
I ache because in their rage some people on the “losing side”—whether accusers or defenders of Derek Chauvin—will feel justified in violent actions against others.
I ache because believers are so distrustful of each other and fearful for themselves that they simply will not, or cannot, entrust themselves into the challenges of Christian unity in diversity.
I ache because people will cancel others because they say the wrong thing or take a position that others feel to be wrong.
I ache because when believers hear other believers misspoken or mistaken words they draw the worst possible conclusions, and end the conversation.
I ache because people will label each other as either Marxist or racist because they hold an opposing point of view.
I ache because whenever I speak about justice for minorities and the underprivileged I expect (and too often receive) criticism from the right, and whenever I speak of justice for the unborn I expect (and too often receive) criticism from the left.
I ache because no matter what I say or do that I think reflects biblical perspective, few will be satisfied, and friends will be lost.
I ache because people seem to leave so little space for nuance, or balance, or an understanding of what biblical justice actually is and does, or for listening and learning.
I ache because people on all sides use the Bible to serve their agenda more than they submit their agenda to serve the Bible.
I ache that since our life experiences differ so radically and our varied trusted sources of information are both opposite in content and oppositional in tone, the chances of deep agreement are nearly nil.
I ache that many of the believers I know choose not to love deeply those with whom they disagree strongly; and in fact will find the effort to cross over our dividing lines too daunting and uncomfortable even to try.
I ache because despite my efforts in this post to express understanding, empathy and sober care, some will conclude either that Tim Shorey has gone liberal, or that he remains a racist white old man.
And I ache in my heart most of all, because I know my Savior’s heart aches over all of this, too.
Yet, despite my deeply aching heart, I will choose to listen, learn, love, lament and pray. And may all who feel the same, do the same.