As a Christian and a father to a biracial boy, what happened to Ahmaud Arbery is quite literally my worst nightmare.

I do not have all the facts. I do not know the whole story. But I do know that a man made in the image of God was outnumbered, ambushed, attacked, and murdered in a quiet neighborhood in broad daylight. To apply the title of ‘vigilante’ to his killers assumes guilt on Arbery’s behalf and circumvents the American right of due process. If the men truly believed Arbery was responsible for burglaries, the only right action would be to call the authorities, not exact a perverted (and incongruent) idea of ‘justice’ against the man. I pray that, going forward, the justice system will not continue to fail the Arbery family.

I pray the African-American community will be comforted by the God of all comfort. I pray they will be ministered to by the church. I pray the Lord will protect our young black men from undue harm. And I pray, most of all, that God will show mercy on America by changing the hearts of men and causing them to love each other, to celebrate our differences, and to worship the true and living God.

Brothers and sisters of color, please know that I love you and mourn with you. And please find your hope, your comfort, your peace in the Name that is above all names: Jesus Christ. One day violence will cease and God’s people will enjoy peace for eternity in Christ’s presence. Cast your hope on Him.

White folks, and especially fellow pastors, please listen:

On days like this, and there are FAR too many, our brothers and sisters of color do not need your diplomatic nuance, rational (or irrational) debate, awkward (or deafening) silence, or fear of unpopularity.

What they need is your compassion. Your tears. Your ear. Your humility to understand you actually have no idea how they are feeling. Be willing to listen without judgment, to love without hesitation, and to speak up for justice without fear of man.

Just tell them you love them, you mourn with them, and you will wait with them for the day of justice and peace to come.

This song comes to mind today. It’s okay to cry. I did.