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Violence Won’t Save the Victims



Romans 12:17-19 teaches Christians: “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.”


These words would have surely been familiar to George Floyd, a man from Houston, Texas where he was known as “Big Floyd” and had some association with a Christian ministry. [1] Sadly, in the days since his death, its wisdom has not been heeded by those who claim to be avenging his memory.


Unfortunately, the name of George Floyd is now known for the short videoclip which captured the moments before his death under the knee of a police officer. [2] Violent protests have since erupted throughout the country with protesters equating the death of Floyd with what they characterize as systemic police brutality against black men. [3]


These protests have led to the destruction of property and personal injury to numerous individuals, many of whom had little or nothing to do with Floyd’s fate. One retired firefighter had his life’s dream destroyed before his eyes as protesters looted his bar, the grand opening of which was slated for June. The owner, Korboi Balla, who is black, said in a Facebook post: “Yes people are mad and upset, I get that and I understand the protest, I’m hearing people say [censored] the business they have insurance WELL WE DON’T AND THIS IS ALL OUT OF POCKET!!!” [4]


What makes stories like this even more heart-breaking is the fact that these violent protests have occurred in Floyd’s name, despite a plea from his girlfriend, Courteney Ross, who said “I would like to make the call for peace for everyone, please today, please be peaceful, we need to rise up in peace today for him, that [is] what Floyd would want.” [5]


Rapper Lil Wayne also issued his own call for violent protesters to rethink their strategy. Although he acknowledged Floyd’s death as a seemingly clear-cut case of senseless police brutality, he said in an Instagram exchange “we have to stop placing the blame on the whole [police] force and the whole everybody of a certain race or everybody with a badge.” [6]


Nonetheless, even some Christian writers, such as Dante Stewart, have approached the protests with an almost permissive mindset. In their view, it seems the lawlessness is a justifiable rage that will provoke changes to the way African-Americans are treated in the United States. [7] Unfortunately, this notion is anti-biblical.


The Bible encourages Christians not to seek vengeance or violence time and time again, in verses like Leviticus 19:18, Hebrews 10:30, and Matthew 5:38-39. Perhaps Proverbs 20:22 says it most succinctly when it says: “Do not say, ‘I’ll pay you back for this wrong!’ Wait for the Lord, and he will avenge you.”


“Violence begats violence” is a common saying because the whole of human and Godly wisdom tells us it is true.


George Floyd’s death was a grave act of injustice, there are many reasons to protest such acts of violence, nonetheless, there is no reason for those protests to inflict more violence on innocent people. Initially, several police officers have already been injured in Houston, Texas due to the violent acts of protesters and there are several other reports from across the nation of police being assainated. [8] None of those officers are singularly responsible for what happened to Floyd and yet they have been “punished” because of protesters with a misguided sense of self-righteousness. It is important to protest the unjust loss of life, but in the course doing so, we cannot forget that the lives of others matter, too.


Christians should work to thwart injustice and evil. They should not stand for it. But they should not commit evil in the name of protesting it. That is the purest act of hypocrisy and it dishonors the very name of God. In Romans 12:21 it says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil.” Those who protest the death of George Floyd with violence have become a part of the problem, they are not a part of any solution.


Foundations of Truth hereby waives all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, published, edited, and distributed in any manner whatsoever without any attribution or notice to Foundations of Truth.


[1] Kate Shellnut, “George Floyd Left a Gospel Legacy in Houston,” Christianity Today (May 20, 2020), https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2020/may/george-floyd-ministry-houston-third-ward-church.html

[2] “Officer charged in death of George Floyd,” CNN (May 30, 2020), https://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2020/05/30/officer-charged-in-death-of-george-floyd.cnn

[3] Dylan Scott, “Violent protests are not the story. Police violence is,” Vox (May 30, 2020), https://www.vox.com/2020/5/30/21275507/minneapolis-george-floyd-protests-police-violence

[4] Zachary Evans, “Rioters Destroy Bar That Black Minneapolis Firefighter Bought with His Life Savings,” National Review (May 29, 2020), https://www.nationalreview.com/news/rioters-destroy-bar-that-black-minneapolis-firefighter-bought-with-his-life-savings/

[5] “‘This is a piece of justice': George Floyd's girlfriend reacts to news of officer's arrest,” KSTP (May 29, 2020), https://kstp.com/----------------------------------------/this-is-a-piece-of-justice-george-floyd-girlfriend-reacts-to-news-of-former-minneapolis-police-officer-arrest/5744946/

[6] Instagram (May 28, 2020), https://www.instagram.com/tv/CAwOLu_Hb_s/?utm_source=ig_embed

[7] Dante Stewart, “Black Rage In An Anti-Black World Is A Spiritual Virtue,” Sojourners (May 29, 2020), https://sojo.net/articles/black-rage-anti-black-world-spiritual-virtue

[8] Jessica Willey, “Several officers hurt, nearly 200 arrested during George Floyd protest,” ABC News (May 30, 2020), https://abc13.com/houston-native-george-floyd-minneapolis-police-officer-ewn/6219448/

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Foundations of Truth hereby waive all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, published, edited, and distributed in any manner whatsoever without any attribution or notice to Foundations of Truth.