At precisely 8:27 PM on a cool, sad day in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after 8 minutes and 46 seconds of strained breaths and exasperated pleading, Mr George Perry Floyd Jr met his maker.
Hearing these events unfold, and the various responses being shared, only one quote came to mind. That of the famous Atticus Finch from the well-loved novel by Harper Lee, which gave the book its title, To Kill a Mockingbird. “Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”
A noun looked upon by the world as condemning, ancient and out-dated. For believers, an act of defiance against an all-loving, creator God. A bullet to His heart, the heart that only beats for, us, His children.
The Bible defines sin in 1 John 3:4, as “lawlessness”. Lawlessness defined simply as acting in violation of or against the law.
So what is “the law” in Biblical terms?
In the book of Matthew when Jesus is asked what the greatest commandment is, Jesus replies, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:35-40, NIV)
I doubt that one needs to be an English professor to see that the core theme here, and indeed of Jesus’ entire ministry was to promote love. Love of God, and love of people. Sin is a distortion of love, a perverted presentation of what is good. The horrific events of the death of George Floyd and so many other black individuals (Belly Mujinga, Ahmaud Arbery and Trayvon Martin, to name but a few), are no less than a representation of our fallen world. A magnification of all that is evil and corrupt, for what was once meant for good.
Being a participant of several constructive conversations, with believers and non-believers, alike, I have learnt that our society has made this a race issue, when in fact, it’s a love issue.
In a recent episode of the Just Thinking podcast by Darrell Harrison and Virgil “Omaha” Walker (totally worth a listen, btw!) the hosts describe the current issue as such: “it is never black versus white, it is always heart versus heart. The issue is always enmity, not ethnicity.” Melanin is an innate attribute of one’s identity. Melanin cannot feel or think, love or hate. But a heart? A heart can. In the context of George Floyd and the injustice he faced, it was not white man vs. black man, it was the hardened heart of the officer who killed him, acting out of an overflow of hate and sin, a distortion of God’s love, a picture-perfect display of Romans 3:10-12.
Romans 3:10-12 (NIV):
“As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”
It’s times like these that I understand why God flooded the earth in the Old Testament!
So, why is it a sin to kill a mockingbird?
Well, “mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, the only thing they do is sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”
George Floyd was a truck driver and security guard at a restaurant, known as the “gentle giant” by his friends and family. He was the father of five children, a positive contributor to American society, but most importantly, he was and still is a child of the living God, an image-bearer of Jesus Christ.
He didn’t deserve to die at the hands of injustice and a distortion of God’s love, but as believers, let’s be intentional and wise in calling this what it is. It is not an issue of race, but rather an issue of sin. Jesus said in 1 Timothy 5:20, “But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning.” (NIV). Call out sin in love, friends, not judgement. For God is just and true, He will judge all by the same standard, this is not our duty. “For we know him who said, ‘it is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ and again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.” (Hebrews 10:30, NIV).
So, here’s to our mockingbirds, who do nothing but make music for us to enjoy, yet still, fall to the hands of evil, and sin, products of a broken world. It is our job to protect, uphold and fight for truth in a time of disarray.
Be a light for Jesus in a time of darkness, and let our mockingbirds sing.
Keep smiling, be blessed,
Anita :) xx