I have always been so thankful for the town that I grew up in because of its diversity (and it’s great football team but that’s not the point of this post). I was never aware of the exact percentages of each ethnicity represented, but I know that it was pretty diverse between White, Black, Hispanic, & Asian. At times in school, I would even find myself the minority in some of my classrooms but these were the people that I had grown up with and all that I knew. I never knew any different. Going off to college, even though it was not an all-white college, I still remember being surprised at how many white people were everywhere. Now I find myself in Colorado in a land of white suburbia (or so it seems).
And here I sit for the past year while watching the news and reading the articles full of racism, hatred, and desperation in our country. It absolutely breaks my heart and sickens me. However, I have the privilege (the white privilege) of crying while sitting safely on my couch because this is not my reality. As sad and horrible I find it, I do not know the heartache or worry of watching my teenage son walk out the door while I fear his safety in situations where he should feel safe. I will never know the angst of my family being treated less than just because of the color of our skin. And these are just the everyday occurrences. This does not even count having to endure watching a hate rally while horrible people exclaim that they are the superior race, not my own. No, I will not know how this feels. I can only try to imagine and fathom the heart-wrenching emotion that comes with all of this.
But I can’t sit silently. Silence indicates that I am okay with hate being spread to certain people in our country. Silence indicates that even though I may not agree with them, I don’t care enough to say or do anything about it. Silence means racism moves one step closer to winning. No, I can NOT sit silent. As a follower of Christ and a person that does not believe anyone reigns supreme over anyone else, I am called to action. I am called to love.
It is clear in the very beginning of the Bible that we are ALL made in God’s image (Genesis 1:16). In Acts 10:34, Peter says, “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” If God does not show partiality, why do we as people feel like we are able to do that? Are we claiming to know better than God? In John 13:34, Jesus commands us “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” He is commanding us to love like He loves, which includes showing no discrimination over anyone else (James 2:9).
As we read and study Scripture, it is clear that we are being called to show love to EVERYONE. People that are different from us. People that may not be easy for us to love. That means loving and praying for the people that are consistently victims and also for the people that are the attackers. This does not mean it’s a love that excuses behavior, but one that holds them accountable to those behaviors and prays for transformation of hearts.
So how do we do this? I do not even begin to know the answer to this. I’ve been in a safe little bubble for so long so it’s hard to even know where to start doing my part for reconciliation. But I do know that there are people I love and people I don’t even know that are hurting.
So to my friends that this is your terrifying reality everyday, tell me what I can do. Forgive me for my lack of action in the past. You already have my love and my prayers. But I know you need my actions. Teach me. I AM WITH YOU.
And to my white friends, step up with me. It’s time we stop sitting idly by and hoping that everyone can just get along. To those that are Christians, you don’t even get that option. God is clear in how He has called us to live this life. Let’s do just that. TODAY.
‘There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:23
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.” Romans 12:9