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There were scary images in Ferguson last week as we watched the city burn.

Two men, one black and one white, ignited a firestorm that swept across the nation.

Chances are, if you are white you see Darren Wilson as a heroic officer who risked his life and Michael Brown as a juvenile delinquent who had it coming.

If you are black, it’s likely that you see Michael Brown as a teenager harassed by the law his entire life and Darren Wilson as a cold-blooded murderer.

If we are honest I think we can admit that both men could have handled this situation differently.

If they did, Michael Brown would still be alive and Darren Wilson would not be in hiding in fear for his life.

But the underlying disease in our nation would still be here.

All that Michael Brown and Darren Wilson did was to strike that match that set the nation on fire. If not Ferguson, it would have been another city.

I saw this question with some frequency on Twitter, “What does this have to do with justice?”

Of course it has nothing to do with justice, but that does not mean it’s not important.

When I see images like I saw last night, it tells me that someone is angry and what they are saying is, “Listen to me”.

In my opinion this is not a black/white problem.

This is a grey problem.

What I mean is this; the real problem is not the color of our skin, but that we are not listening to one another.

Most of us are so convinced that we are right that we have no respect for people who disagree with us.

  •     Can you see this conflict from the other guy’s point of view?
  •     Can you empathize with a young black man who grew up being harassed by the police?
  •     Can you feel the pain of Michael Brown’s parents at the loss of their son?
  •     Can you feel the frustration of a community who feels that their leaders are not listening?

I’m not asking you to agree with them.

I am asking you, can you feel what they feel?

If not, then you are not listening.

On the other side, can you put yourself in the shoes of Darren Wilson?

    Can you feel the fear that he was feeling?
    Can you relate to his side of the story?

I’m not saying you have to agree with what he did.

But can you feel what he felt?

If not, then you are not listening.

Admittedly, these are huge problems, but we are not going to solve them until we sit down with one another,

listen to each other and seek to understand the problem fromthe other guy’s perspective.

    Is there hope for out nation?
    Is Martin Luther King’s dream still alive or is it dead?

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

I believe that his dream is still alive because it is an eternal dream. God inspired his words for our nation.

It’s really God’s vision for our nation, that’s why I believe it can still happen.

It’s time to stop pointing the finger and playing the blame game.

There is plenty of blame to go around.

So, we can’t really stop the riots in Ferguson, then what can you and I do about this?

How can we help our nation heal?

You and I can bring healing by doing three things:

1) Building friendships with people who look different than I do.

2) Listening to people who have different opinions.

3) Communicate what I feel in a respectful way that doesn’t put people down.

You may be saying, “C’mon Mark, It’s not the simple.”

I agree it’s not that simple.

This is just the beginning of a painful process, but it’s time to get started on the journey.

Are you willing to join me in helping our nation heal?

Copyright © Mark Harper Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Mark Harper
Web site: Mark Harper Ministries
Pastor and Leadership Coach, Mark Harper has 35 years of experience in the local church. He is the creator of the Super Church 2.0 Curriculum, which is used in over 5,000 churches worldwide. The focus of Mark's ministry is helping leaders build strong churches and helping parents build strong families. Not only has Mark served in the local church as pastor, associate pastor, and family ministry pastor but he is also a certified coach with the John Maxwell Team. He also recently released the Amazon Best Selling book The Red Book: The Lifeblood of Children's Ministry.

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