It took me a bit to write this post. Not because I faltered on where I stand but because I was so frustrated and angry about the Charlottesville acts. I couldn’t put into words how I really felt and comments made out of knee jerk reactions aren’t always helpful. The only one who honestly heard those was my husband.
Rac·ism: prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.
It’s one of those things that completely breaks my heart. It actually brings me to tears. It’s like watching something so beautiful being ripped apart and spit on in front of your eyes. Something you treasure being trampled upon. It just seems so personal. I’m not trying to be dramatic but I couldn’t help but think about the black people in my life and the diversity that fills our church. It hurts to think about anyone hating the people I care about just because of the skin color they were born with. These are the people who I laugh week to week with, the people I do life with. The people I share my hopes and fears with (and visa versa). The people I get to serve alongside. I could never imagine race ripping us apart.
I love people. I was fortunate to have parents who raised me to respect everyone, young and old. They encouraged me to show love to everyone and see diversity as a strength, not a weakness. They were also very honest and open about teaching me how racism does exist and how I need to deal with it. I’m honored that I can look back and say I had friends/acquaintances that reflected many nations and faiths. It’s a shame when others don’t share that same view. For me, yes, I do see black, white, Spanish, etc. I do see Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, etc., but nothing in my heart sees or feels an “I’m better than you” mentality. Not one spot of it. These differences genuinely invigorate me and I appreciate them so much. I see people as people. Stories, lives, feelings, dreams, hurts, a past, and a future.
Don’t Ignore It: Sadly, racism does exist. Although it is unfathomable in my mind, in this day in age, it is something that continues to be brought to life by the presuppositions people have and the perspectives they act on. Marches that rally people to hate, walk around with torches, and chant “you will not replace us” are, frankly, embarrassing. I’m embarrassed as a white woman. Let’s not act like it’s not a big deal, because it is.
Find Your Answers in God’s Word: I literally love the Bible because it deals with every issue under the sun, including racism. Unfortunately, we live in a broken world. Racism has stained humanity since the beginning of time. In the New Testament, we see Jesus dealing with segregation and shaking up culture. We see Paul addressing racist beliefs between Jew and Gentile. What is beautiful about the Gospel is that it is a message of unity and peace. “Love your neighbor as yourself. But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin.” James 2:8-9. Yes, racism is a sin and goes against everything Jesus stands for. Jesus died, and rose again – FOR EVERYONE. Peter said in Acts, “I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism.” God’s redemption is for all. Also, sidebar – not trying to be funny, but Jesus wasn’t white. For some people… ::mind blown::
God’s Perfect Love: It’s a pretty saying we love to wear on our shirts these days but truly, love wins. God’s love always wins and, in the midst of humanity suffering, this is something we need to cling to, not become resentful towards. Hate what is evil and cling to what is good. “…Perfect love expels all fear.” (1 John 4:18) Racism, as blunt and brute as it makes itself out to be, is truly a fear. A fear of being inferior, not good enough, and not worth it, so I must take what I want for myself and belittle others to be on top. As crazy and counter-intuitive as it is, love covers a multitude of sins. I don’t always understand how, but it does.
God’s Perfect Justice: We also serve a God who is just. When Jesus died on the cross, it was his perfect love and perfect justice colliding. I don’t mean to get all iron-fist on us, but God’s word says, “do not take revenge, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘it is mine to avenge; I will repay….'” Everyone has a chance at forgiveness and grace. Everyone will hear the Good News, but there will be a time when God will right every wrong and every act of injustice. Human suffering will come to an end. Racism will come to an end.
Start Where You Are: People love to take their views and opinions to social media, especially when they are outraged or when they are the group being targeted. Heck, I’m writing a blog post about it. But, I want to make a change face to face, beyond the cyber world. It’s one thing for someone to see my words on a screen. It’s another to speak up in a group conversation or intervene when you see injustice. Be present, stand up for what is right. Strive to understand. Let’s commit to do better, each day. Not everyone will change, but we are responsible for every opportunity that is put in front of us. If we say we are followers of Jesus, then we should realize the power of reconciliation. After all, it was Christ who reconciled us to God. If we are to be an example of him, it should be our mission to mend, rather than tear apart. To bring healing instead of harsh words.
Outshine The Hate: There are a lot of people in our world who do wrong, but there are a lot who do good! Nothing makes me more proud to be a human than seeing people restore hope to a broken world. That’s what I want to share! That’s what I want to spread around everywhere! Success stories, people being radical enough to unconditionally love and do the right thing. People putting others first and serving one another. I’m #blessed (but fo’ real!) that I get to celebrate that every Sunday – I get to be around people of every color! I want to blast the junk out of all the hate that gets spread around. Refuse to let hate outshine goodness in the circles that you find yourself in.
I’m not a sociologist or an expert by any stretch. I know I don’t know everything, but I’m forever learning how I can be a better representation of hope. I’m just a white chick that goes to church. Crazy enough to believe the church has the answer to this hurting world. Bold enough to not tolerate racism on any level. The time is always right to do what is right.