- Here is what I have learned concerning that which generated the riots in Baltimore. Riots broke out after the funeral of a black man (Freddie Gray) died of serious spinal cord injuries apparently suffered in police custody (Fox News Website, 4.28.2015). Looted storefronts, rock throwing, burned cars, 15 police officers injured, “purge” (or lawlessness) encouraged. During the funeral there were credible reports of gang activity by three of them as they sought to encourage violence. The National Guard was called out for the first since 1968 to deal with a similar crisis. President Obama called the police action and violent reaction a “slow rolling crisis,” though he tried to mitigate the force of those words with an additional remark that there was no excuse for such violence. The newspaper article’s last paragraph starts, “The violence set off soul-searching among community leaders and others…” (www.jg-tc.com, A-2, 4.29.2015).
- A number of months back, I sent out an email article by Hugh Fulford with some observations relative to the Ferguson, MO tragedy. A brother (______) on Long Island (LI) took strong exception to what had been written. I don’t remember much about what Hugh said or what the brother on LI said. I do remember giving the brother a warm reply and asked him to discuss with me a scenario. He replied in kind with interest, but as a professional and time constraints tight, he could not do so at the moment.
- Unfortunately, it never materialized. Reflecting on this and how best to handle a situation such as these, I remember well two passages in Scripture that also speak of mob action.
A. There are two mob actions in the Book of Acts that warrant some attention. In both scenarios there was an economic component to the actions of the mob and there was also a religious component to the mob actions. As Paul preached, the people “tuned in.”
B. Acts 16:19 – An irritated Paul, hearing the continual words of a “certain slave girl,” turned around and commanded the evil spirit to come out of her. Accomplished, the masters of this slave girl, realizing their hope of profit was gone gathered a mob (however large) and justified their actions with incarceration (16:16-24). As a result of the injustice perpetrated on Paul and Silas, there was a man (jailer) who was saved, he and his house.
C. Acts 19:32 – By this time Paul dealt with false religion to such a degree that he invariably had success. That success came at a cost, however. While in Ephesus the makers of idols were aggravated that Paul’s preaching and teaching was thwarting their industry (19:24-27). In order to head off this preacher and his message a mob gathered and took with them companions of Paul into an area where much chanting and hollering was done. The Scripture poignantly state that most of them did not even know why they were present (19:32).
D. In the course of unfortunate scenarios like what we have seen in Baltimore, it will invariably be the case that someone will suggest “dialogue.”
E. Dialogue is good, but about what will one talk about? Will it be the economic situation of the community? That will be fine, but will it be sufficient? Will it be about the relationships that exist between two different communities (the “white” police force and the black community)? That will be fine, but will it be sufficient? Where does a conversation start?
F. Let me suggest what most (if not all) of secular society will reject, almost with a wave of the hand. The solution to the matter starts with one. First, one must be a Christian. Second, one must be devoted to the Lord and His way, no matter the cost. Short of these two points, all applications of the Scripture will fall short of actual solution. It won’t be because the Scriptures are wrong, or will fail; it will be because the implementation of what is said by the individual will not take root (Matthew 13:3-9). Matthew 7:12; 22:34-40; Philippians 2:12-16; Colossians 1:28; 2:8, 20-23. Satan is a hindering agent (1 Thessalonians 2:18). He will do what he can to thwart the Lord’s cause, even if it is rioting in the streets. In the context, though we are not told how this actually occurred, Paul mentioned the Jewish obstacles. Thus, Satan used the Jews.
CONCLUSION. That which occurred in Philippi, Ephesus, Ferguson, and Baltimore was all at the instigation of Satan! To deny it is to not be aware of how “he” moves in Scripture (1 Peter 5:8; 2 Corinthians 2:11; 4:4). The ONLY way to defeat Satan is not to play his game.