Statement on Alton Sterling's Death

Earlier, Alton Sterling, a black man and a father of five, was killed by police officers during an arrest. While the videos taken of the killing are subject to debate, what is clear is that the killing was at point-blank range while two officers had Mr. Sterling pinned to the ground.

Already, the unfortunately typical responses and divisions are being drawn. Many are asserting that we should not rush to judgment until we allow the criminal justice system to play itself out. Others are, again, posting the criminal background of Mr. Sterling, an implicit argument that things are different if you’ve sinned in particular ways. And some are rolling their eyes at a community that is rightfully compelled to remind a watching nation that black lives matter too.

We don’t pretend to know the proper legal outcome. But we do know what Scripture has told us; that the kingdom of God is impartial (Galatians 3:28) and that, no matter our background or crimes or sins, we are all image-bearers of God (Genesis 1:26).

And we know that we have been called to mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15). Please let this not be a time to argue, or speak dispassionately about the technicalities of the law, or to blithely tweet about how all lives matter. For everything there is a season, and this is not that season. This is a time to lament; to affirm the humanity of Mr. Sterling; to empathize with those who feel marginalized and disenfranchised.

Watch the video of Mr. Sterling’s son as he breaks down at a news conference in tears for his slain father. Mourn with him. Mourn for him. Lament for him, and the rest of Mr. Sterling’s family. Pray for them. Pray for peace, and for solace, and for comfort, and, yes, for justice. May it roll like a river.

Rest in peace, Mr. Sterling. Your life mattered.