Watching Baltimore play out like a recurring nightmare, many people have taken online to make comments about what should be done or how this wouldn't happen if certain people just did certain things. Some of it comes from a sincere place. Some of it is tinged with anger or hatred. It makes me want to jump into the fray, but then it just becomes a maelstrom of words; talk that does little good.
So I will say just this briefly: I do not know what it is like to be an African-American living in the United States. I do not know what it's like to feel like I'm being watched with suspicion. I don't know what it's like to lose someone to violence. I do not know what it feels like to bear a history in which the men and women of my ethnicity are treated like second class citizens. I don't know what it is like to live in poverty. I don't know what it's like to feel like the system is stacked against me.
The first thing that I need to do, and I've probably written this before, is to be a good listener to the individuals who have those experiences. Actually, that's true in any of the situations in which we potentially stand in judgment of someone different. There are other things that I will need to do. I need to pray. I need to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. But for starters I need to listen. God, give us ears to hear.