What If It Were Your Son?

What if it were your son?
What if your unarmed son had been killed by armed men sanctioned by the government?

Maybe your son had been casing houses
Maybe he had been trying to pass a phony bill
Maybe he hadn’t been doing anything but walking around in the color of his own skin.

But whatever he did or didn’t do, he was dead.

And there was no justice.

You called the police.
You badgered the district attorney.
You held candlelight vigils, organized a telephone campaign and staged peaceful protests.

And there was no justice.

The people who killed your son were free to live their lives, and your son was still dead.

What if this then happened to your neighbor’s son?
And then to the son of your cousin who lives out of state?
And then to the child of your college roommate?
What if suddenly you realized that everyone you knew had lost someone they loved at the hands of armed enforcers who weren’t ever held accountable?

What would be the straw that caused you to break your commitment to non-violence?

You don’t have to condone violence to understand its origins.

You don’t have to support riots to empathize with and support the rioters.

You do have to come face to face with your own complicity–with what your own silence and inaction have wrought.

Even Jesus up-ended the tables in the market place.
Even Jesus couldn’t keep calm in the face of injustice.
Even the Prince of Peace had his breaking point.

Before you condemn those who yell and break and burn…

What if it were your son?


Rev. Anne Russ is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), currently based in New York City. Doubting Believer is an online, inclusive and progressive Christian community. Follow us on Facebook and get emails to keep up with all that is happening.

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