Rachel breaks up a fight

Rachel breaks up a fight

Last week, my daughter Rachel was driving through her tiny town of Black Mountain, North Carolina, when she saw two men fighting. One black, one white, with the white man’s girlfriend shooting video and the black man’s male friend just standing there, watching. There were two other onlookers as well. Rachel stopped, rolled down her windows, and yelled at them to stop what they were doing.

Not only did they not stop, but the white man also gained the upper hand. He brought his opponent to his knees, grabbed him by his dreadlocks, and began “wailing” on him. And the bystanders—kept standing—and filming. 

Rachel, bless her heart, got out of her car, ran over, and placed her arms between the man on the ground and the punches being thrown by his assailant. “Stop it!” she cried out again. And remarkably, the man did. At THAT point, she heard the sound of a gun being cocked. She turned around and saw the black man’s friend with his gun out. Interesting timing, she thought. Why didn’t he pull the weapon when his friend was being pummeled?

Anyhow, the fighting stopped, the gun was holstered, the phone-cameras were pocketed and everyone got back in their cars. Including, thank God, our daughter.

May I say, I am in awe of the courage it took for Rachel to intervene in that way. I honestly don’t know if I would have done the same—or if it would have turned out as well. I’m proud of her—and grateful that she was willing to do more than watch or film.

God help us, we have turned into a nation of spectators. We would rather take pictures and kibbutz than put down our devices, wade into the madness and seek to stop the fighting. But unless more people are willing to wade in…or at least weigh in…nothing will change.

This weekend I will be preaching from the book of Exodus. It speaks exactly to this moment in our nation’s life, both to the pandemic of COVID and the pandemic of racism. We will be listening to the story of Nick Phelps, an African-American who is Chapel Hill’s Care coordinator and also a member of our worship team. I hope you will find our service this weekend to be relevant to your own struggles about issues of race. Please join us…and I beg you to continue in your daily prayers for our church, our nation, our world.

Lord have mercy—and keep praying that he will!

Pastor Mark

P.S.—By the way, next Sunday my gutsy daughter, Rachel, will bring the message. You definitely don’t want to miss that.