Last night 12 Dallas police officers were targeted and ambushed. At least 5 are dead.
This morning thousands of law enforcement officers will go to work knowing that they too are potential targets of ambush. Why? Because they are committed to something more than their own good. As Paul says in Romans 13, those in law enforcement are “God’s servants for your good”.
It is important to pray for the broken and hurting in Dallas. Indeed, pray for the safety of all of those in law enforcement. But it is equally important that we do more than pray. Christians must have the courage to be salt and light. We must stand for truth. We must not be part of the media 24/7 news culture that feeds on half-truths and sound bites and then reports them as facts.
This news culture distorted the facts in Ferguson, Missouri and in Baltimore, Maryland. Yes, there have been other cases where law enforcement officers showed poor judgement and acted wrongly. But Ferguson and Baltimore were wrongly and carelessly reported because the media failed to follow the direction of God in Proverbs 18:17:
The one who states his case first seems right,
until the other comes and examines him.
An accurate judgment cannot be made by sound bites and assumptions. Lives matter too much to listen to the first one who states his case. Lives continue to be lost, in part, because of irresponsible reporting.
Further investigation has shown the swift rush to judgement in Ferguson and Baltimore was not accurate. Law enforcement was not at fault in these two scenarios. But it doesn’t matter. The irresponsible reporting based on first statements has continued to inflame and cause unrest and anger. The events in Dallas are just another horrific link in this chain.
You can begin to end this sinful rush to judgement by teaching your children the practical value of following Proverbs 18:17. Teach them to not to make judgements based on the first bit of data they hear. Show them how the media reporting often ignores the truth of this verse. Then in your own conversations don’t make decisions based on sound bites regardless of the source. Gently hold others accountable by not giving credence to sound bites.
If Christians will begin to set the example and demand that judgments be withheld until sufficient data is available good can begin to emerge. This is one important way to be salt and light to our broken communities. Follow the teaching of Proverbs 18:17. Lives matter.