I Can't Breathe
(Originally written in May 2020)
For more than two months Americans have been quarantined in their homes, many masked and gloved when not, for fear of a virus that has the power to steal breath.
In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, we were told the virus attacks the lungs—comprising the ability to breathe, particularly in immunocompromised patients. Ventilators, which help the body circulate oxygen, provide a critical last resort. And they were in short supply.
A rally cry went up and the production of these bedside breathing machines came from unlikely sources. Engineers from Mercedes developed a machine in less than a week. Tesla and SpaceX also made commitments. The need to breathe is fundamental. Human life is valuable.
Then on Monday May 25, a video showing the cruelest of ironies and the evil of systemic racism reverberated like a thunderclap.
A police officer rested calmly, his knee on another man’s neck.
“I can’t breathe.”
Crowds pleaded with law enforcement while recording the incident on cell phones.
“I can’t breathe.”
The man on the ground, George Floyd, begs for help and calls for his mother, gasping for breath--the very thing our nation has pulled out all stops, to preserve.
Racist roots have produced bitter fruit for decades—a scourge on the United States. It’s an assault on humanity and worse, a blatant attempt to undermine and deface the One in whose image both George Floyd and Derek Chauvin were made.
God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; (Gen 1:27).
Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being, (Gen 2:7).
We are image-bearers of the living God who’ve received the breath of life—as a gift. We aren’t to imitate Cain who beat his brother dead out of jealousy, hatred and rage but like Jesus, who withstood the shame, indignity and agony of the cross to bring life.
There is no room in a Christian’s life to tend pet sins and racism is a common beast. The grace shown us isn’t merely leniency but power to grow beyond immature bigoted beliefs (1 Corinthians 13:11), repent (1 John 1:9) increase in love (2 Thessalonians 1:3) and lay down our lives for one another (John 15:13).
If there’s anyone who has the right to drive his knee into neck of sinner as breath hemorrhages—it’s Jesus Christ and he did the opposite.
Let’s go and do likewise.
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"Lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily entangles and run with endurance the race set before you. "