“Whereas religious prayers sing of peace and harmony, religion has divided human beings through an atrocious history of enmity and bloodshed. Yet, behind the veil of superficiality and hypocrisy, I always believed in the inherent beauty of God that lies at the essence of all true spiritual paths.” Radhanath Swami
“As long as people will shed the blood of innocent people there can be no peace, no liberty, and no harmony between people. Slaughter and justice can’t dwell together.” Isaac Singer
Forward Thinkers, this week as I prepare to minister to another family in our city that has the unpleasant burden of having to deal with the sudden death (murder) of a loved one as a result of possible gang warfare, I’m moved to use this week’s Forward Thinking article as a platform to share my views on the bloodshed (B.S.) in our communities from a biblical perspective.
Forward Thinkers, let’s begin with Genesis 11:6 The LORD said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.”
Forward Thinkers, God himself declared whenever people come together on one accord there is nothing on earth they can’t accomplish together. Forward Thinkers, the enemy also understands the power of unity; that’s why the enemy continues to strategize plans of division within our communities. Forward Thinkers, we are so busy fighting against each other we have forgotten the devil’s goal is to kill, steal, and destroy. Can you imagine the power and results that would come from Christians and Muslims coming together from the north and south communities of Houston and if Bloods, Crips, and ESE’s would join them with one common goal of bringing peace to our streets?
Forward Thinkers, I’m proud to announce on August 6, 2016 at 1pm this vision of unity in our community will manifest at the Fountain Life Center, 14083 Main Street, Houston, Texas, 77035 as Muslim leaders (Dr. Robert Muhammad and Deric Muhammad), Christian leaders (Pastor Remus Wright and Pastor E.A. Deckard), Concerned Citizens (Gerry Monroe) and local gang members come together for a city-wide gang truce. Forward Thinkers, I believe this spirit of oneness will create such a positive energy that we will experience a sudden decrease in the senseless murders that have occurred over the first seven months of this year. Forward Thinkers, the first seven months of 2016 we have experienced over 185 murders in our city. The sense of urgency demands we come together now before another family has to bury an innocent loved one.
Forward Thinkers, God said we could do this if we put aside our differences and walk in the spirit of unity. The only question is, can we humble ourselves long enough to trust God at His word?
Let’s stay in the book of Genesis and take a look at the first murder recorded in the bible and examine how the spirit of Cain still resides in our communities. Genesis 4:8-11 New International Version (NIV)
8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.”[a] While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
10 The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.”
Forward Thinkers, notice Cain killed his brother Abel because he felt Abel possessed something he desired to have. It breaks my heart when I sit in a courtroom with a mother like Dazie Williams whose son, Joshua Woods, was murdered by four other African American males over a pair of Jordan basketball shoes. Forward Thinkers, there are countless murders committed in our communities because the killer does not see himself as being a person of value, therefore it becomes hard for them to see the value in someone else. These four young men put the value of another young man at the market value of a pair of shoes without realizing they were also including their own lives in exchange for the shoes. Forward Thinkers, Cain did not realize the consequences of his actions and unfortunately, everyday in our communities, young people are making decisions without thinking about the long term consequences of those decisions.
Forward Thinkers, we must push the message of being our Brother’s Keeper and not our Brother’s Killer if we want to see a decline in the bloodshed on our streets. God was not pleased with Cain’s actions and God is not pleased with the murder of innocent people in our streets today.
Forward Thinkers, we must become concerned enough about Cain before he makes a life-changing decision that we embrace him and teach him how to love himself and show him his life has value and there is no need in comparing himself to Abel or anyone else. We must teach Cain his life matters before he decides to end another person’s life. Yes, Forward Thinkers, we are responsible for the Cains in our society because we must remember Cain is still our neighbor’s son and the bible commands we love our neighbor.
Forward Thinkers, let’s look at one final biblical perspective concerning all the B.S. in our communities as we examine the No Snitching Rule. First, let me bring clarity to the original concept of the no snitching rule. The no snitching rule was a street code between two or more criminals that were participating in criminal activity together and the rule was if one of the individuals were caught by law enforcement they would promise not to give information concerning the identity of the other individuals involved. Forward Thinkers, this street code between criminals also brought about the term “charging it to the game” which simply means the individual that got caught would take the sole responsibility of the crime committed. Forward Thinkers, this morale code among criminals has spilled over into the heart and fiber of the inner-city and has become a major problem in our country.
Forward Thinkers, we can’t demand good cops turn in bad cops if we are not willing as good citizens to turn in bad citizens. Think about that a minute before you commit to honoring the no snitching rule again.
Forward Thinkers, I know this may surprise you but I have also discovered an example of the no snitching rule in the bible. The example I found is in the book of 1 Samuel chapter 20, the story of Jonathan and David. Forward Thinkers, Jonathan’s father King Saul was beefing with David, the future King. When Jonathan found out his father was plotting to kill David, he exposed his father’s plans to David, saving David’s life.
Forward Thinkers, in today’s culture, many would label Jonathan as a snitch but the reality is Jonathan’s actions should be duplicated over and over again. Forward Thinkers, Jonathan was not a coward because he made this decision knowing in advance that his father could turn on him and murder him also. But, Jonathan chooses to do the right thing at any cost. Forward Thinkers, until we are willing to do the right thing without being overcome by fear, the ‘hoods’ will continue to ruin our neighborhoods and blood will continue to flow down our streets.
Forward Thinkers, we must commit today to come together in unity and declare NO MORE B.S. on our streets and create a plan of action to ensure our vision becomes a reality before another generation is wiped away or locked up forever.
Pastor E. A. Deckard is the Senior Pastor/Founder of the Green House International Church located, in both Houston, Texas, and the Woodlands, Texas. Pastor Deckard is also the Co-Founder of the No More Bloodshed Movement. To contact Pastor Deckard for speaking engagements contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Periscope @ Pastor E A Deckard or the church website www.ghic.net