What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NIV)
There is nothing new under the sun. My friend reminded me of this a few nights ago when we were discussing the Zimmerman verdict. Trayvon Martin is the Emmett Till of this generation. Some people my (unforunate, but possible) have never heard of Emmett Tlil. As a 14 year old child, Emmett was beaten and shot by white men in Mississippi for being in the wrong place at the wrong time (purportedly for not showing “proper respect” to a white woman.). Some people’s only point of reference may be Lil Wayne’s verse in Karate Chop, by Future, where he compares sex to the beating young Emmett endured. (Iwill not get into my anger and frustartion with those words here.) Trayvon Martin, another young, black boy, was murdered, and yes I said murdered, by George Zimmerman for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Both situations are unfortunate, disheartening and somewhat unfathomable.
Racism, biases and racial profiling still exist. Those who think these things don’t exist have not walked 1 step in a black man’s shoes or driven a mile in that same man’s car. Being a black (or brown) man in America is tough! The prosecution of and the verdict in the Zimmerman case are a reminder that black life is not valued. The verdict reminded me that we live in a society where a man will be imprisoned for funding a dog fighting operation, but not for pulling the trigger of a gun and killing another human being. This is compounded by the fact that the Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was struck down just a few weeks ago. This is all the more reason that I am making a concerted effort to be my brothers’ keeper, now moreso than ever.
In a day and age where young black and brown men can’t walk hurriedly in inclement weather to get home to watch the NBA All Star game, we have to be our brothers’ keepers. When a young black man can’t wear a hooded sweatshirt without raising suspicion, it is time to stand and say, “I AM my brothers’ keeper.” Your brothers aren’t just your biological brothers. They are your cousins, neighbors, friends and even strangers whose rights you can help protect and vindicate. I heard a minister say that he didn’t have a stake in the outcome of the case, as though to say he wouldn’t be affected one way or another. He was wrong, dead wrong. As Christians, we have a stake in anything that results or could result in an injustice. God is a god of justice. “The Lord lives righteousness and justice… (Psalm 33:5).
In light of all these things, it is even more important than ever to stand and say, “I AM my brothers’ keeper.” Small injustices count just as much as big injustices because enough small injustices snowball into even bigger problems.
In order to be our brothers’ keepers, we must love them as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:39). We must take an interest in their lives and share their burdens. We must speak encouraging words into and over their lives. When you see a young or even a more sesoned man who needs direction, give it. If he gets off track and needs redirection, give that too. If he needs encouragement, give it. When he needs forgiveness and it is yours to give, give it. Most importantly, when he needs help, SERVE him IN LOVE. Today, I stand and say, “I AM my brothers; keeper.” As my borothers’ keeper, it is imperative that I look out for and warn them, fight (not literally :-)) with them, pray for them and love them.
Are you your brothers’ keeper? What can you do to establish, re-establish or strengthen your role as your brothers’ keeper?
Peace and blessings!