Sunday, July 10, 2016

(A Letter to My Grandsons) Following the Shootings in Dallas

This is a letter I read from the Pulpit at the close of my sermon.
 July 10, 2017

In the aftermath of two young black men being shot and killed by police officers in Baton Rouge, LA. and Minnesota, and seeing it played all over the news and social media,  it makes me ask the question, “Why did it have to happen and end that way?”

Days later there were protests all over the country over the shootings.   In a peaceful protest over those losses in Dallas, Texas, a sniper like gunman opened fire downtown during the protests on the innocent police officers of Dallas.   Killing five, and wounding many, traumatizing families, and those who had given an oath to protect us, traumatizing America, and causing me to ask another question, “What has happened to our America?”

It has also encouraged me to write this letter to you:

An Open Letter to my Grandsons:
Aiden (6), Eli (4), Koby (2), Jordy (2 Months) 

July 9, 2017

A Letter From Papaw

Boys, words cannot explain the joy you have brought into our lives.  All of you are beautiful and special. So different, but so much alike as blood unites us all. You are Created by a loving God to glorify Him with your life.  My prayer for you all is that you will grow to love Jesus, His Word, and the things of God. That there will be a day when you all ask Him into your heart to save you, and to be your Lord and Savior.  That we will together, spend forever in heaven, with the One who died for our sin.

I write this to you today, because the America I grew up in seems to look a lot different than the one you are growing up in.  This week two boys were shot in encounters with police officers and died.  It appears that it didn’t have to happen and many have said it was because they were black.  Because of this, it has continued to divide people in our country just based on the color of our skin.  Never in my 54 years of life has it been this bad.  Not since the civil rights movement, when Martin Luther King led a change in America and reminded us all that all men are equal.

I want you to remember, that the color of someone’s skin, whether it be white, black, red, yellow or whatever, does not make them any different than you.  God loves us all.  Since recent victims have been black, some shout black lives matter!  I want you to remember and never forget all lives matter!  God loves you and he loves everyone.  Always treat others the way you want to be treated.  With respect, dignity, truthfulness, and honor.  Love people. Jesus did!

Don’t let your family or friends talk about someone and be mean just because our skin is not the same color.  Jesus died for everyone.  You are no better or worse than someone else, regardless!

Because of this tension in our nation, kids are being robbed of the innocence of childhood where your job is to have fun, play ball and enjoy life, to not worry.  You should be able to trust your parents and family to protect you and make sure you are safe.
I pray for you to have as  fun a  boyhood as I had growing up.

You have a lot of things I didn’t have as a boy, and one of them was news on TV all day long.  Another was video cameras everywhere.  You are seeing things that scare you and I don’t want you to grow up being scared. Always know that God is there and will be with you.  Always remember God is bigger and stronger, and can fix anything, even racial strife and prejudice in America. He can do it again. I pray you grow up happy and content wherever you live and whatever school you go to.

Another thing I want you to know is that you must respect authority and the law.  If you are ever pulled over by an officer, listen to him and be respectful. He has stopped you for a reason, for some concern.  He is trying to protect you, even if you don’t think so.  Pray for those that protect us.  They have families and little boys and girls just like you.  Every time you hear a siren, pray for first responders.  They put their lives on the line everyday for all of us.

It has been reported that the gunman who killed the 5 officers and wounded the others in Dallas was upset over the shootings by the police of the two young men, as well as others who have been killed across our nation. We all should be concerned over what we have witnessed.  Reports from eyewitnesses shared that before he died he had shouted he wanted to kill white officers, white people.  I don’t want you to ever hate anyone except the Devil.  The Devil is the liar. God loves us all.  Remember that killing is never the answer.  God commands us not to kill.  Those officers will never go home again either, and they have little boys just like you who will cry themselves to sleep because daddy isn’t coming home.

Always respect the power of a weapon. When you see one, you tell your parents. Never touch one and tell  Your daddy who will let you know when you are big enough and ready to be trained to use a gun responsibly.

One last note, I love you more than you will ever know, and I pray for you everyday. I pray that you will always be a man of peace and reconciliation.  May you never fall into the pit of hate and prejudice..  May God use you to show people His love.

 Always remember Psalm 56:3 “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in thee.”  Because of Jesus, we don’t have to be afraid.”  Jesus is the only One that can help, heal, and change our nation.

 I pray you have a happy boyhood.  Enjoy it.  It only comes by once. 

Love Papaw