Today’s scripture: Proverbs 14:10-18 (NRSV) (The Message) (KJV) What might God be saying to me?

My thoughts (Lynnette Pullen):

George was driving down the street one dark night and noticed what he thought was a suspicious person. As a member of the neighborhood crime watch, George decided to call the authorities and report his findings. He was directed to stay in the car, but it seemed right to pursue this young man. George wanted to make sure this guy didn’t get away. The young man began to run; George thought it would be right to chase him. A confrontation ensued; George felt it was right to use his weapon to shoot the young man in the chest. The young man died on the scene. George later learned that the young man was unarmed and just walking home.

George thought he was doing the right thing. He was totally convinced at the time that his actions were right. He ignored the authorities, because he felt he was right. But that way lead to death. Not his death in this case, but the death of an innocent young man just walking home from the store. I wonder, if George knew then what he knows now, would he have gotten out of the car? Given all of the information that he now has about the young man that he pursued, would he have even called the authorities?

Our nation is in an uproar about this event. George and his family have received death threats. His hate and misconceptions about people led him do what he felt was right, but obviously was wrong. Will we let our anger and outrage lead us to do what we think is right? I absolutely believe that George needs to suffer the consequences for his actions. I feel he should be arrested and placed on trial.

But as a nation, how can we use this situation for good? Can we find a way to return this hate with love? How can we help this young man’s family? How can we use this to expose the nasty and vile nature of hate and create laws that promote protection and good will, instead of allowing loopholes for murder? How can we stand up for what is right without falling for what’s wrong?

We need to listen to the ultimate authority. What would Jesus do? How do we respond with love to this tragedy instead of react to the hate? How can we stop the hate when people feel like hating is right?

Prayer for the day: God, I struggle with balancing my disdain for racism and hate with forgiveness and love. Please help our nation to respond in a way that conveys both intolerance of such behavior yet love for all people. Help us to bind together instead of divide and fail. Help us to seek and listen to your guidance in this volatile and painful tragedy. Help us do what you deem right. Amen.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.