Protestors by Patty LaRoche

Patty LaRoche

Scene #1: Protestors looted stores, torched the American flag, threw frozen water bottles at police, and destroyed their own communities.

Scene #2: Protestors created hand-made signs, lined the toll booths, gave drivers the thumbs up and waved them through.

Guess which scenario represented Mexico? Definitely not the first one.

A few years ago, my husband and I were driving from Las Vegas to Mazatlán, Mexico. Nearing our sixth toll booth, we noticed several adults waving signs protesting the gas price-hike in Mexico. Most Hispanics were concerned that because America was pulling businesses out of their country, they would suffer economically. They felt slighted and fearful.

Yet, no one appeared angry. No one blocked our path. No one chose to teach us Gringos a lesson by smashing our car or hanging us from the overpass. Quite the opposite. We were given the thumbs-up and waved through without paying a toll.

Last year, as Dave and I crossed the mountains in Mexico, we were stopped before our first toll booth by dozens of protestors, many resting in tarp shacks while their amigos blocked the road. Three smiling men approached Dave’s side of our truck and told him to pay them 50 pesos instead of the 31 pesos in tolls. I asked “¿Por qué?” (“Why?”) and was told “because that’s what we are doing.” Apparently, these men and women—along with their police escorts– had taken over the toll booth. We paid the money; the protestors removed the barrel from the front of our truck and we were waved on. Not for one second were we anxious.

Peaceful. Unified. Safe. Very unlike today’s American demonstrations… which makes me wonder, why is it that so many of America’s protests are becoming more barbaric than our less-advanced neighbors, they who have so much less than we? What happened to a code of morality where objectors show a modicum of self-restraint like they do in Mexico? When did a civilized society turn into brutes that rant, rave, curse, steal and burn Bibles (which, as we know, contains the answers to our problems) as a gesture of disagreement?

Christians must take action. We need to offer hope. That’s what happened at the “Riots to Revival” event in Portland, Oregon, Saturday night. CBS News reported that between 4,000 and 7,000 worshippers united for a night of “praise, worship, and to hear Bethel Music’s Sean Feucht speak” at Waterfront Park in an effort to heal America’s brokenness.

“White, Black, Hispanic – we came and released our song of hope over this city,” Feucht said. “People gave their life to Jesus. Hundreds of people. We baptized people in the river behind us. There was so much joy that took over the streets of that city last night.”

For those of us with less musical ability, here’s another idea. Let’s follow Franklin Graham’s Instagram call for specific prayers: for PEACE because “the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:20); for PERSPECTIVE, because “the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17); for PATIENCE, because of God’s “kindness and forbearance and patience” toward us all (Romans 2:4); and for the OUTPOURING of God’s wisdom and direction for our leaders and officials who are dealing with this crisis. Ask God to change hearts and heal this divide in our nation.

Graham’s way is much more in line with the Mexican way. I think that God likes that way best.

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