It was undeniably the most important decision of his young life. As he reached into the box, he had an important choice that would forever alter the course of his future, the course of his familyâ€™s future, and the actions of a nation. It would have been easy to just walk away; to just be another average customer. But that is not what he wanted. We will never know why- why he gave in to temptation. We will only know the great tragedy that followed. It was in that critical moment he went from just another young man buying a cigar- to a household name throughout the 50 states. And while everyone debates over conflicting eyewitness testimony and use of force; it is undeniable that every scenario comes down to this brief moment in time, to this one breath, to this one slight of hand- when Michael Brown chose to steal.
It is the one constant that everyone seems to be overlooking. He committed robbery. This robbery led to a report being filed with a description of the suspect. The report and the description led to the confrontation between the police officer and Michael Brown. That moment led to heartbreak, anger, outrageâ€¦
Now, we can set fires all day in response to the results of the confrontation- but the simple truth is, if Michael Brown had not decided to break the law, if he had walked a different path- it would have been just another day. And at the end of that day, he would not be dead.
I do not say this to make light of the tragedy. No matter what the truth is of the situation, no one wins. Mr. and Mrs. Brown must live with the pain no parent should have to bear. The police officer, whether justified or not in the shooting, must carry with him the face of a young man whose life he ended. The city must struggle to rebuild the loss inflicted on innocent bystanders- a loss given to them by thugs whose only desire is violence. And a nation must attempt to heal from the trumped up charge of racism by those who seek to divide.
But the hard truth is that at the foundation of all of those bricks of tragedy is Michael Brownâ€™s decision to take what did not belong to him. I donâ€™t think any of us would have ever guessed that the cost of a handful of stolen cigars would be so highâ€¦
When all is said and done, when fires are finally left to smolder out, there is only one real lesson to learn from the burning of Ferguson. It is not that police officers are some form of tyrannical beasts that must be beaten into submission. It is not that all black teens are nothing more than street thugs. It is not that the criminal justice system is defiled and corrupt. It is not that blacks hate whites or that whites hate blacks. No- the only lesson is that every decision we make has consequences, far reaching consequences that affect more than just ourselves.
We must learn to think about the choices we make before we implement them. We must consider how our actions will impact the lives of others. We must decide to put the needs of others above our own selfish desires- especially when those desires come at great cost to those around us. And we must realize our own responsibility when exercising our free will in choice. It is truly my hope that we put down the torches and the hate, that we learn to take responsibility for our actions, that we choose our paths carefully, and that we clothe ourselves in love for others.
It is my prayer that we would seek the peace of God over the violence of men, that we would consider the effects of our choices, and be wise with what little time we have. Because the greatest tragedy in all of this, the greatest heartbreak in all this ash, would be if we walked away only having learned how to better launch flaming arrows at one anotherâ€¦
Original posting here