What breaks your heart?
I’ve been thinking about the things that get us really incensed, the sorts of things that outrage us. In my circles, I hear a lot of outrage over things like businesses requiring patrons to wear masks. Inevitably, those discussions are fueled by a very particular understanding of liberty and, even more pointedly, freedom without limit. This same thing applies to attitudes about quarantine and government orders to shelter in place.
It’s not that these sorts of things should be unimportant. That’s not my point at all. But I can’t help but notice the outrage over some of these things as I think about the response to George Floyd’s death…or Ahmaud Arbery’s death…or Breonna Taylor’s death…and the much larger conversation about race in the United States. And such outrage seems misplaced against the backdrop of such injustices.
Here is a simpler way to say it: in some of my circles, there seems to be far more outrage over looting and rioting than there is over the death of a black man at the hands of a white police officer.
The things that outrage us reveal the true contents of our hearts.
That’s why this is such an important question: what breaks your heart?
And a second one is of even greater importance: what breaks God’s heart?
And here another: is your list different than His?
It’s so easy to default into sweeping and unhelpful generalizations at a time like this. But the actions of one bad cop are no more representative of all law enforcement officers than the actions of a violent mob represent the thousands of peaceful protesters.
The Scriptures of my faith present communal lament as a virtue in the simple but beautiful command, “weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). In that spirit, I weep today:
I weep for George Floyd and his family.
I weep for Derek Chauvin and his family.
I weep for people of color who live in the kind of fear that I’ve never known.
I weep for the officer who will face unnecessary violence today because she is simply doing her job.
I weep for those who feel as if they have no way to voice the hurt they feel in their community.
This is a time for weeping and lamentation. It is a time for broken hearts.