Know that the Lord is God. It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. (Psalm 100:3)
This morning as I was scrolling through the news-cycle, I came across an article that made me really sad. It was the account of a neighbor who had called police on a 9-year-old white girl who had written “black lives matter” on the street in chalk. This little girl wrote this message because she thinks that “black and white people…should be treated the same.”
The woman called the police because she believed that this little girl was vandalizing the neighborhood. You have got to wonder if the woman would have called if the little girl was simply drawing out a hopscotch game. Probably not. My guess is that this woman called the police because she didn’t like the message.
So, let’s think about vandalism. The definition of the word is the “destruction of someone else’s property.” I have been distressed about the destruction of property and vandalism we have lately witnessed. It is terrible to see innocent people losing their property or business, and I hope that all such behavior would end, or be stopped, if necessary.
As I write these words it has just occurred to me that every act of prejudice, racism, bigotry, inequality, or injustice is vandalism. Since vandalism is any act of destroying someone else’s property, and since according to today’s scripture we all belong to God, every ungracious and unfair act to any child of God is vandalism to God’s property.
As much as I think we should be distressed about any act of vandalism to a shop, business, or public property, I would argue that we should be even more distressed by any vandalism to any child of God. A store can often be rebuilt, but a life can’t when it has been taken away.
According to the news article, the police officer who was summoned to check out the vandalism complaint couldn’t have been more fair, kind, and tender; that doesn’t mean that that little girl wasn’t afraid—she was.
I hope that the woman who made the complaint watched the interaction between the officer and the little girl. I also hope that something touched her heart and that she was embarrassed, maybe even ashamed, about what she had done. All the little girl was saying is that all people should be treated the same. Which is, by the way, what God wants us to do as well. Maybe our hope is this: Maybe the best way to stop the vandalism in our streets is to stop vandalizing God’s property and highest creation—each other.
- If you lived in the neighborhood where the above interaction happened, what would you like to say to the little girl?
- To the woman who made the complaint?
- To the police officer who was summoned?