The news surrounding the death of Michael Brown and the events in Ferguson, Missouri has garnished a lot of attention from the public in the past couple weeks. It’s no mystery how this has received so much exposure. It’s the decision of the media conglomerates for the most part. But then, there are others that have plenty to gain by keeping this issue front and center. Political pundits, whether liberal, conservative, or other affiliation, find that by keeping a certain spin on a hot button topic produces revenue. That revenue is often generated by ensuring the issue is as controversial and confrontational as possible. But let’s not forget that money is not the only motive. Political and lobbying power play significant roles in these affairs as well. Public exposure for many high profile figures provides huge incentives for making an issue as dramatic as possible. It often pays dividends for weeks and months if manipulated correctly.
Obviously, there are plenty of incentives for sensationalizing a tragic death. But there has to be the right ingredients. Given that our nation is historically divided by racial lines, it’s easy to see how a white police officer shooting an unarmed African American man can be used in a variety of ways to advance certain agendas. The same just wouldn’t be true if this was the case of a white teenager or an African American police officer. The issue is what sells and what sells is shock value. And in cities like Ferguson, MO, like Memphis, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and other major urban cities, shock value is what creates hostility. Unfortunately, America is becoming increasingly uneducated and ignorant. Too much reliance is made on receiving information from the main stream media, which seems to be a propaganda tool used for the political, intellectual, and social elite.
Despite how clever and resourceful the information czars are in providing what they want the citizens to know and when to know it, the sad reality is that these techniques wouldn’t be as effective if it weren’t for one distressing condition we all have. That condition is our sin nature. Now one may ask what the events in Ferguson, Missouri and the subsequent misrepresentation of the facts to the public have to do with our sin nature. The simple answer is because one feeds off the other.
Going back to the events in Ferguson, one only needs to examine how igniting a single event leads into a chain reaction that effectively turns a city (and country) upside-down. Many factors are involved when riots occur. In a blog called “What Causes Riots?” Robert Nielsen provides valuable insight into the motivations behind these conflicts. I think the author hits a valid point when he suspects that the deeper motivation behind riots is rooted in frustration. He goes on to explain how the source of the frustrations are typically generated from societal ills. A lot of what Mr. Nielsen writes makes sense but in the end we are still left with only the “effects” part in the causation equation. He taps into many of the issues in society and mentions how these are the underlying motives behind riots. However, his closing statement actually belies the sense that there is still an element of the equation missing. He says, “Until something is done to address the frustration and alienation that young men have towards society, then the threat that cities will burn will never go away.” He suggests societal ills are the source of frustration, of course, but what is the root issue that needs to be addressed?
The first step in understanding the root cause is to delve into the hearts and minds of those involved in the conflict. What was the phenomenon that created the spark leading to the eventual riot? Was it race, inequality, oppression, or some other factor? Depending on who is asked, the reality may be somewhere in the middle among the hundreds of varying opinions offered. However, at the very core of all of these perceived causes is sin. Sin is what fuels anger and resentment. Sin is what fuels the greed and motivation to “stir the pot.” Sin feeds off sin. But is stating sin as the problem really that simple? What is sin, really, and how can we deal with it?
Sin is the result of man’s direct disobedience toward God and is now part of the human psyche, or the fallen human nature. The fallen human nature is by definition a condition that is bent toward evil, often self-centered and focused on wanting only what is desiring to oneself at the expense of others. Sin, in essence, is at the very core of the problem in every human being that needs to be confronted and dealt with if society is ever going to heal. Sin is what leads to anger, resentment, revenge, persecution, violence, greed, and a myriad of other human responses. Sin is described as transgressing against the laws of God or rebellion against God. And the law is a reflection of God’s character. The point is is that there is a moral basis for which society should live by and we only need to look to God’s character to know how we ought to live and how we ought to conduct our lives in relation to one another.
The real tragedy is that people in society want to push God out of our lives and out of the conversation. No matter how much effort mankind tries to cure its societal ills, there will never be a permanent solution or true peace among people, cultures, or nations until there is peace with God. As it is, our nature is at enmity with God as Romans 5:10 tells us, “For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”
To answer the question, “Why is there so much anger?” it’s because of our human condition. The solution to the problem is not going to be resolved through government, social programs, the main stream media, popular talk shows, or any well intentioned civil rights activists. As evidenced by the declining influence of the Declaration of Independence, the concept of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the United States is witnessing a decline in those values as depravity overtakes our culture. And as this country drives God out of its collective consciousness and looks to man to solve its cultural woes, those very values that was once held so dear are now becoming but a memory.
To counteract what is happening in the United States, to avoid prejudice, killing, riots, and greed, the only thing this country can do is get back to the basics and get right with God. The Scriptures tell us in 2 Chronicles 7:14, “…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” For maybe when we have peace with God, then we can hope to have peace with each other.