Several years ago, I was privileged to have Ben Watson in the youth group I led as the Youth Director at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Rock Hill, SC. Ben’s parents lived next door to us and eventually planted a church in Rock Hill. After moving away from Rock Hill, I lost contact with Ben and his family, but over the years I have continued to be impressed with Ben. Not only did he graduate Northwestern High School as an all-state tight-end in football, but he also chose to go on to play for my beloved Georgia Bulldogs! Go Dawgs! From there Ben was drafted in the NFL by the New England Patriots where he won two Super Bowls. Today he continues to play tight-end for the New Orleans Saints. For all of his accomplishments, I am infinitely more impressed by Ben Watson’s faith in Christ. He absolutely loves Jesus! Well, today my love and respect grew even deeper as I read Ben’s thoughts about the Ferguson Missouri Decision regarding the tragic shooting of Ferguson citizen Michael Brown. Two days ago, demonstrations devolved into chaos after it was announced that the grand jury had decided not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of 18-year-old Brown. Wilson, a white police officer, shot and killed Brown, a black teenager, on August 9. On Monday night in Ferguson, buildings were burned. Stores were looted. Shots were fired. And chaos took place across the country as activists took to the streets with dozens and dozens of protests in several states.
This morning my friend Ben Watson, as a black man and a Christian, beautifully expressed his thoughts on the situation. I would like to invite our people at SPC to prayerfully read Ben’s thoughts and to pray for race relations in Ferguson Missouri and in our nation. Thanksgiving blessings!
– Tim Melton
At some point while I was playing or preparing to play Monday Night Football, the news broke about the Ferguson Decision. After trying to figure out how I felt, I decided to write it down. Here are my thoughts:
I’M ANGRY because the stories of injustice that have been passed down for generations seem to be continuing before our very eyes.
I’M FRUSTRATED, because pop culture, music and movies glorify these types of police citizen altercations and promote an invincible attitude that continues to get young men killed in real life, away from (the safety of) movie sets and music studios.
I’M FEARFUL because in the back of my mind I know that although I’m a law abiding citizen I could still be looked upon as a “threat” to those who don’t know me. So I will continue to have to go the extra mile to earn the benefit of the doubt.
I’M EMBARRASSED because the looting, violent protests, and law breaking only confirm, and in the minds of many, validate, the stereotypes and thus the inferior treatment.
I’M SAD, because another young life was lost from his family, the racial divide has widened, a community is in shambles, accusations, insensitivity hurt and hatred are boiling over, and we may never know the truth about what happened that day.
I‘M SYMPATHETIC, because I wasn’t there so I don’t know exactly what happened. Maybe Darren Wilson acted within his rights and duty as an officer of the law and killed Michael Brown in self defense like any of us would in the circumstance. Now he has to fear the backlash against himself and his loved ones when he was only doing his job. What a horrible thing to endure. OR maybe he provoked Michael and ignited the series of events that led to him eventually murdering the young man to prove a point.
I’M OFFENDED, because of the insulting comments I’ve seen that are not only insensitive but dismissive to the painful experiences of others.
I’M CONFUSED, because I don’t know why it’s so hard to obey a policeman. You will not win!!! And I don’t know why some policeman abuse their power. Power is a responsibility, not a weapon to brandish and lord over the populace.
I’M INTROSPECTIVE, because sometimes I want to take “our” side without looking at the facts in situations like these. Sometimes I feel like it’s us against them. Sometimes I’m just as prejudiced as people I point fingers at. And that’s not right. How can I look at white skin and make assumptions but not want assumptions made about me? That’s not right.
I’M HOPELESS, because I’ve lived long enough to expect things like this to continue to happen. I’m not surprised and at some point my little children are going to inherit the weight of being a minority and all that it entails.
I’M HOPEFUL, because I know that while we still have race issues in America, we enjoy a much different normal than those of our parents and grandparents. I see it in my personal relationships with teammates, friends and mentors. And it’s a beautiful thing.
I’M ENCOURAGED, because ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem. SIN is the reason we rebel against authority. SIN is the reason we abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn.
I’M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for sin through the his son Jesus and with it, a transformed heart and mind. One that’s capable of looking past the outward and seeing what’s truly important in every human being. The cure for the Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner tragedies is not education or exposure. It’s the Gospel! And finally…
I’M ENCOURAGED because the Gospel gives mankind hope.
– Ben Watson