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This podcast is directed to all young people, but primarily to young black men, young black women, and their parents. We are thankful for all the people who are fighting for legal justice and racial justice across the nation and all of the protesters who are standing up for various issues. But this podcast is about the man in the mirror. What are you doing for the glory of God, to make life better for others, for your family, and for yourself? This podcast is about living life in such a way that it cuts back on the chance of being harassed or killed by the authorities or anyone else and helps you to live the good life of peace and joy.
Jim Rohn said, “You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself.”
Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”
Here’s what the Bible has to say about law enforcement. Romans 13:3, 4, and 7 says, “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil… Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.”
Over the past few days, we all have observed the turmoil that erupted across the country following the decision of a Missouri grand jury not to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Our hearts sympathize with the parents and family members of Michael Brown, and we pray that they will be able to heal from this tragedy and the difficult days that followed.
As many commentators have said, the tensions in Ferguson have laid bare much larger issues in the United States that need to be confronted. From President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to community activists and religious leaders, many have discussed how changes can be made in how law enforcement and the justice system relates to the black community.
But the tragic situation in Ferguson also laid bare a reality that I am sure many have noticed, but few have said anything about, and that is that there is something fundamentally wrong with how young people in our communities are being raised. The fact of the matter is, if Michael Brown had not gone into that convenience store to steal some cigars, it is highly likely that he would still be alive today simply because he would not have been in the way when a police officer came through.
Now, some are trying to make Michael Brown into some kind of hero or martyr — and I am all for making the best out of a bad situation — however, I believe Michael Brown died over foolishness, over something that could have been prevented. He died over his own foolishness, perhaps some foolishness on the part of the police officer, and some foolishness on the part of his parents who probably let him get away with things that he should not have gotten away with. Michael Brown had just done something he had no business doing, and he probably reacted the wrong way when he came in contact with a police officer.
Now, I am a black man who has dealt with these issues for 40 years. I dealt with it when I bought my first brand new car. As I was driving to a friend’s house to show him the car, the police pulled me over thinking that I had stolen the car. (At that time, I was a full-time minister of the Gospel.) Without verifying any information, they took me off to jail and left my new car on the side of the road.
Another time, when I was serving as a pastor, I went to a Subway. Even though I was dressed in my suit, and driving the church van with the church name on it, a police officer followed me into the restaurant and said that I had said something “fresh” to the lady at the counter when I had not said anything to her at all. It seemed to me like the lady was in on it because she didn’t say anything to deny what the policeman had suggested.
Even as an older black man who lives in a quiet, predominantly white neighborhood, I am still watched and harassed even when I am just going to Walmart.
While I support those who are speaking out about the racial issues that have been brought to the forefront by this situation, I urge everyone to not neglect other lessons that are just as glaring.
Parents, you need to take a deep look at how you are raising your children. Do you know where your children are this very moment? Do you have a son who feels like he can bully and intimidate others to get what he wants? Are your teenagers out robbing convenience stores like Michael Brown was doing on that fateful night and like I did with my buddies when I was a teenager? Are you doing your job as a parent? Are you teaching your children and raising them with principles, manners, and values? If you are, then you will have your children engaged in education, family, church and pursuing something worthwhile with their lives. You won’t have to worry about them being in the street robbing and intimidating others.
Young people, are you creating problems for yourself by doing things you have no business doing and running with the wrong crowd? As a young black man, you can’t get mad at a police officer for automatically suspecting you of doing something wrong if all he sees and hears about are young black men robbing people, killing one another, raping women, and selling drugs. Yes, it’s called stereotyping. And, it’s up to you to begin changing the stereotype. When you come into contact with a police officer, act calmly and respectfully, and don’t immediately accuse him of racial profiling. If you behave in a way he does not expect, you are beginning to change the stereotype of what a young black man is like in his mind. And the next time that officer comes across a young black man, he will be less likely to jump to conclusions or to act in a harsh manner.
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Now, in order to be saved — in order to get right with God — you cannot look at the man in the mirror, but the Man Christ Jesus. First Timothy 2:5 says, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can have a home in Heaven. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in twenty-three foreign countries. He is the author of thirty-four books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts, The Prayer Motivator Devotional and the Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report and the Second Coming Watch Update. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, and a Master’s degree in Religion from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for twenty-five years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com. Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.