I Live in Kenosha Where Jacob Blake was Shot. We’re at War.

I Live in Kenosha Where Jacob Blake was Shot. We’re at War. August 25, 2020

I live in the town where Jacob Blake was shot. I live in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and have for the better part of my life. As I write this I hear the thunder crack and the heavy downpour of rain, bringing relief to the men who have come to our city to put out the lingering fires. Small mercies of a God who provides. Perhaps the smell of burning will dissipate by the time I come home today, but likely, it will not. It makes little difference if new fires are made. More people are coming and we don’t know when it will stop, but we do know that God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. He can be this for you too—or you can be the object of His enduring wrath for all eternity. Cast yourself upon the mercy of God in Christ; repent and believe the gospel while it is still called “today.” Know that this is but a microcosm of the mighty destruction that awaits and will consume all of the earth one day.

To my friends and family members who have reached out with concern for our well-being, I am deeply thankful for it. It is an encouragement to us that you are thinking of us and bringing our city, police, firefighters, and townspeople before the Lord in prayer. We have been availing ourselves to much prayer and resting in the Lord’s sovereignty. He is not surprised by any of this. Know that even if the worst happens to us, we are in Christ and this is a peace that surpasses anything. God is our very present refuge in the midst of any and all disaster, and He is capable of bringing us joy and gladness even in great unrest, even though our hearts still mourn at what is transpiring around us as much of the city has gone up in flames.

I am likewise thankful for all of the good men and women, some of which I personally know, who kissed their family goodbye in full riot gear and went to protect the city they love and serve, in many ways, thanklessly. You are bearing the weight of much hostility and many wish you nothing but harm. Know that we are praying for you and thankful that you continue to serve our great nation’s cities. You certainly don’t do it for the popularity it brings, which is something admirable in and of itself in many ways because it speaks of a trait I believe is missing from many these days.

To my friends and family members who are watching my city be razed from afar, and yet still wish to look me in the face and say that the Black Lives Matter movement isn’t inherently violent or that BLM leadership is opposed to violent measures, I would kindly ask that you come stay with us over the next week. My house will be open to you. I will treat you as well as any other time you’ve visited; we will have meals together, talk about all sorts of different things to our hearts content, and perhaps even enjoy a libation or two. When the darkness comes, we will sit in the living room with guns loaded waiting to see if someone desires to test our hospitality. We will offer to protect our black neighbors my family lives in good standing with, many of whom are confused and saddened by seeing their own town being destroyed.

Believe it or not, Kenosha is a fairly peaceful little town. It takes all of 10 minutes or so to cross from one end to the other. Drive in any direction for 10-15 minutes, and you either hit a lake, open county, or a beautiful forest preserve. We have more amenities than small towns—but we are by no means a large city. To put that all in perspective for you, the city is about half of the size of Minneapolis, yet a quarter of the population. It takes little effort to cause massive amounts of destruction, especially considering the resources and staff are not made to handle the war being waged on our city. I have little doubts that some people who live here have participated in the destruction and looting in the aftermath of Jacob Blake being shot, but most of it has come from people who have traveled into the city. We are, after all, right in the middle of Chicago and Milwaukee, and anyone who lives in that stretch knows of the ancillary crime that comes simply as a result of travel between one and the other.

From what I know at this point is that we will be pulling in visitors from far more than just Chicago and Milwaukee this time around and their intent is perfectly clear. We have a long week ahead of us, and likely a longer weekend. When all is said and done they will leave and we will remain with what little isn’t destroyed. We will help clean up the mess left behind in the wake of the indignation of those who don’t live here, but come nonetheless to destroy the livelihoods of generational businesses of people, Black, Hispanic, Asian, and Anglo. We will help rebuild the city, if the Lord wills, and once again enjoy the community many have taken years to pour their lives into. We will serve those who are left bankrupt, homeless, injured, etc. We will come to help of the old men who are battered by “protestors.” We will be the hands and feet of Jesus in a city where the hands of those swift to shed blood and bring ruin came through first. By the end of the riots in my city, which are only reported to continue, there will likely be little left to burn, even with the National Guard here.

There will be many hurting people and our church will be one of many who comes alongside to be a blessing where many have been a cursing. You’ll forget all of this happened in another month or so, but Kenosha never will. Yet for those who came here to destroy and pillage, we won’t give you the grace of being called protestors. We’ve had both peaceful protestors and demonstrators who’ve left when curfew comes into play because they’re not interested in seeing the world burn. They still love Kenosha because it is their city. You won’t be given the kindness of being called demonstrators. Though virtually every major news outlet in the country is too cowardly to call you what you are, I am not. You are violent criminals who exploit the death of a man you know nothing about, nor care to learn—because you don’t care about him, just as you didn’t care about George Floyd. You don’t care about black lives, especially black lives in Kenosha for that matter either, because you’ve been happy to destroy the communities and businesses of black families I know, and many I do not have the privilege to know.

The point is not that a building or business matters more than a life. The point is that justice is impartial. Justice doesn’t treat one person favorably over another. Justice doesn’t look to wreak havoc on innocent people who are given the unfortunate providence of living where something like this took place. Justice is not accomplished through unjust means, because the very foundations of justice depend upon equity, which simply means there is no excuse for the sanctioning of violence in return for what the people’s court has deemed an unjust death. Justice is not vengeance. Vengeance belongs to the Lord. Not you. Not I. The Lord. Make no mistake, justice will be dealt either in this life or the one to come, yet many who cry for justice now will be consumed in terror when they see justice upheld on that last Day.

The fact that many a professing Christian sanctions the mob justice being poured out in our nation by violent criminals, ought to instead cause them to pause and take heed of the profoundly simple warning found in Romans 1:32. You cannot sanction the ultimate justice bound up in the perfect judgment of the Lord and the mob justice bound up in the imperfect hands of rebels. They are committing deeds worthy of death, and to sanction such deeds brings judgment upon your own heads—that much ought to be painfully clear. Yet the more sinister reality behind it is that by giving voice to such actions, you not only perpetuate the violence of these domestic terrorists, but you withhold from them the very fact that God is a just God, and will bring them to account for every evil deed, every murderous thought, and every idle word.

You fail to express to them the reality that the Lord is a jealous and avenging God, who is filled with wrath so great that the winepress of His wrath will cause blood to reach to the horse’s bridle at the eschaton. You fail to express that they are enemies of God, and that the Lord vents His great wrath against His enemies—that surely, though He is slow to anger, He is great in power and will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. This truth does not extend solely to those whom the world deems are worthy of it, but to all who are not in Christ. You withhold from them the reality that at His rebuke the seas dry, the rainforests whither, the mountains tumble and the earth itself bursts open simply through the might of His sheer presence. You fail to impress upon them that no one can stand before His indignation and endure the burning of His anger—that when His wrath comes it will be poured out like fire upon the reprobate and they will be utterly consumed in it. They may raze a city to the ground, yet the Lord lifts up His voice and melts the earth.

Yet perhaps the cruelest thing you fail to tell them is that the Lord is a stronghold in the day of trouble and He knows those who take refuge in Him (Nahum 1:7). For those in Christ, this is a balm to their souls—yet for those who are not in Christ, rioter or peaceful citizen, this is a terror, even though they may not see it as such now. The implications of this are many, but the simplest is that God is a Warrior-King to whom vengeance belongs, and the white-hot purity of such holy vengeance will be realized in full not a moment sooner or later than when He desires to pour out His wrath in perfect zeal. To those who lie in wait to rob their neighbor, or to put it in modern terminology, who wait for the ripe opportunity to riot and loot, this will not be a favorable day. Perhaps Kenosha will still stand when this is done. Perhaps not. Nonetheless, the Lord reigns. What is uncertain about Kenosha is not uncertain about the Lord. He will stand at the end of all days and be the impartial Judge of all the earth.

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