T.D. Jakes, senior pastor of The Potter’s House and America’s Preacher, offers these remarks as family and friends lay Tyre Nichols to rest:
“Florists arrange, choirs rehearse, speakers prepare messaging, cakes are baking and food for the family is being carefully prepared. Yet, we know that all these respectful condolences will not replace the tremendous loss that Tyre Nichols’ family must feel today. Their trauma is palpable—our hearts bleed for them with profuse empathy and sympathy.
“Tyre’s young body absorbed the blunt force trauma of power gone wild. Not only his bereaved family, but all of us carry some trauma that once again bruises the soul of America!
“As demonstrations continue in the midst of mourning, my hope is we stop experiencing tragedies like this over and over. The repetition of avoidable and unnecessary destruction must end. We are far too divided into an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality. The problem clearly isn’t just Black, White or Blue. It is wrong versus right. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely!
“’Whoever sows injustice reaps calamity, and the rod they wield in fury will be broken.’ -Psalm 22:8.
“After today, the sounds of the funeral will be silent. The hearse wheels stilled and the mourning songs ended. But our silence mustn’t continue; not until peaceful demonstrations transform protest into better policies. We will know we have succeeded when people revert to the golden rule. ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!’ That one rule would stop the senseless loss of lives that we keep experiencing! We cannot absorb this pain as a new normal! It’s past time to end this suffering!”
Jakes also addressed it from the pulpit during Sunday’s sermon on Jan. 29 calling for prayers for Tyre Nichols’ family:
“If we turn our heads from the ugly parts of our society, we are destined to relive and repeat them again. We have to deal with this tragedy and this adversity.
“To all our officers in our country who get up every morning and go out and put on their uniform and serve our communities in such a tough job, we salute you for your excellence and your service. We will not lay at your feet [the indicted officers’] behavior. That is prejudice.
“We are not judging all that wear blue, but when you have power on your hip and authority on your chest—to him whom much is given, much is required. You took an oath to protect and serve. Not to kick for an hour and beat and abuse. This behavior doesn’t matter if you’re black or white. It’s not about colors, it about how you manage power. Everybody can’t handle power. Because if you give the wrong person too much power, they read into it ‘supremacy.’ Our history is riddled with people who took power to supremacy, which led to destruction. And we keep making this same mistake over and over again. It is no wonder that Jesus prayed that we might be one. Because achieving unity is difficult is the midst of diversity.
“We all ended up bruised. All over people were telling stories of pain and trauma. When one of us hurts, all of us hurts. That’s the cost of unity. We should bleed together. We should lead together. America cannot afford to look away from its history, even though this particular case is hard to watch and there is trauma involved, anything we ignore we will inevitably repeat. Love will always beat hate every time.”