I Choose Jesus by Patty LaRoche

Patty LaRoche

I choose Jesus. I’m not sure I’ve ever wanted him more than I do now as I watch this country make decisions that make no sense. The horrific death of George Floyd incited behaviors that make me question how the moral chasm in this country has gotten so deep, that make me wonder what happened to church-going families who, no matter their socio-economic status, valued life and the rule of law and order. How do people who scream “injustice” see no injustice in their own destructive rebellion? When did politicians become so single-minded in their pursuit to retain their positions that they cower to disorder and disregard for what has made America the most powerful, most blessed country in the world?

Jesus, fill these peoples’ hearts. Turn them back to you.

When I was pregnant, in my mid-twenties, and watching a ballgame at Main Street Park, I politely asked a young, black girl to watch her language, since several young children were playing within hearing distance of her foul mouth. When she flipped open her pocket knife and called me a slew of white-trash names, I chose to leave the park. I hadn’t taken 30 steps when I heard her behind me, turned and saw that she was running after me. Fortunately, I was near my car and was able to get inside and lock the door. I was terrified. This made no sense. What had happened to this young gal to cause such hate?

I had grown up in this town and was friends with the few blacks with whom I attended school. Dave was a professional baseball player, and we had black player friends who frequented our home on multiple occasions. We hung together. We took care of one another. Some had been raised in the ghetto but made determined choices to overcome.

Today, I dream of revival in those cities where blacks are not given a fair chance. And they aren’t. I cannot imagine what it must be like to fear being pulled over by a policeman because of the color of my skin. Or having my children receive a sub-par education because they live on the wrong side of the tracks. Or living in poverty so that drug-sales become my livelihood.

I pray for a day when potential athletes and musicians and artists and entrepreneurs (no matter what color) develop their talents and become a blessing to others. I want young girls to understand their value to God, to know that they don’t need men who promise their loyalty but run for the hills when the pregnancy test comes back positive. I want young men to see the potential that God has put inside them and know that their strengths can be used for good and not gang-warfare.

I want blacks to stop killing each other while decrying “Black Lives Matter.” Of course they matter! So do Jews’ lives. And Chinese lives. And Hispanic lives. And Muslim lives. God made us all in His image. Each of those ethnicities has been persecuted, yet they don’t spend weekends killing their own. I want Reverend Sharpton to not only speak at funerals when the cameras are rolling, but I want him to start a revival on the South side of Chicago where 80 people were shot over the Fourth of July weekend.

Tell those poor souls about Jesus, Mr. Sharpton. He is the answer, the beginning of the heart-change they need so desperately. Their riotous lootings are not.

The revered leader, Martin Luther King, once said, “Riots are socially destructive and self-defeating. I am convinced that non-violence is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom and justice. Violence will only create more social problems than it will solve.”

There are hundreds of God-fearing, brilliant black leaders who are speaking out against violence. Why is it that many refuse to listen?

Jesus, fill their hearts. Turn them back to you. Oh, dear Readers, let that be our prayer.

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