Being a Christian in a racially divided world comes with great responsibility.
You see, we don’t get to pick a side and stand on the street with a bull horn yelling “THIS IS WHY WE HATE ALL OF YOU!!!” We don’t get to wage in hatred driven commentary that further divides a nation while reliving past pain that has been grandfathered into our present society. It’s not even productive to try to defend evil out of a guilty conscience or lack of understanding. Being a Christian in a racially divided world simply means choosing the greatest way of all…the way of love.
I realize how frustrating that is to hear for some of you. The truth is, when we speak of race and the history of this nation, love does not seem to be the foundation. When people want to boast on the greatness of America (specifically Christians) I sincerely hope that it comes with repentance. True greatness is not gained by the disenfranchisement of others (ask the Native Americans how great this country is.) It does not take from the innocent for personal gain. True greatness is not rooted in pride or greed and it certainly doesn't need to enslave an entire culture in order to build a legacy. I don’t believe that our Jewish brothers and sisters woke up each morning in Egypt thousands of years ago and exclaimed: “This is the greatest country on earth!” while slaving to their deaths at the hand of evil rulers. If you can see that, then you can certainly understand why Black Americans have a hard time claiming America’s greatness while still hearing the screams of ancestral pain.
Being a Christian does not mean participating in blind patriotism while turning our heads the other way when America is at its absolute worst state in decades. It does not mean ignoring the obvious and continuing with church business as usual, increasing attendance, launching new building projects, numbers, numbers, numbers…while the rest of the country is full of despair.
It cannot continue to mean that we chose neutrality or silence in the face of racial adversity. And it certainly does not mean insisting on an inferior or superior race mentality. It does not apply the entitlement theory to every disparaging situation and it cannot assume that only two races exist in this country when countless others work, live and sacrifice everyday on this same soil.
Being a Christian in this climate does not mean that we hide behind a barrage of scriptures in order to support our opinions and theories while lacking the God-given instinct to pray in the midst of this madness. It is not impressed with who came up with the better argument and who has more rights than others. It doesn't applaud the punishment of a culture by not allowing the same rights as the majority, simply because “we were here first.” By the way,saying "we were here first" in this country, will ALWAYS be a lie unless you are Native American. Not a favorable truth but the truth nonetheless.
Being a Christian in a racially divided world means seeking truth at all times. Asking God to search our hearts and cleanse us from prejudice, hatred, unforgiveness and yes even a murderous spirit. If in fact the sins of the fathers are handed down to the fourth generation…then we MUST pray and repent.
I remember hearing from an older blood relative to never trust white people. At the moment I was put off by the statement because I was determined to carve out my own social paths in life by not carrying any unwanted baggage with me. I decided to ignore the statement and take my chances.
Years later with many opportunities to buy into that bit of advice along the way, I have found that a person is either trustworthy or not simply based on the spirit that resides within them and not the color of their skin. That’s not the only race lesson that I've learned throughout my life.
I have come to study the Abolitionist movement with as much interest as I study the sadness of slavery in America. I have fallen in love with many cultures, languages and yes the beautiful food that represents them and I am raising my children with a multicultural perspective even when diversity is still scarce in our environment.
By the way, diversity is not a pet project for the socially elite…it’s simply a mirror reflection of what heaven looks like. You don’t launch diversity campaigns, you begin your foundation with the desire to serve and be a part of all cultures. In short, diversity simply does not work as a back end project. If it was never in the heart of the vision (whatever that vision may be) it will never be a tightly woven tapestry of beauty in your ministry. Repentance is the key to change when it comes to diversity. After we repent, then we write out a new vision and begin again.
I am by no means saying that I don't experience the frustration and anger that comes with witnessing the behavior that comes with the racial divide. And I am tempted to enter into the conversations about our current climate from time to time but I try to let a cooler head prevail. Prayer helps.
Of all the experiences that I've had, people that I've met and conversations that I have been a part of, the discussion I love the most is based on a mutual admiration for the love of our Savior. When we all meet at the cross bringing our ethnicity, languages, experiences (good and bad) with us, we form a bridge of unity while receiving healing at the same time. When we leave behind our denominations, political viewpoints and socioeconomic statuses, the bridge becomes stronger and unity becomes the structural support.
When we cease to involve ourselves in the discussions of hatred, mindless finger pointing or the refusal to take the moment to stand in someone else’s shoes, we become more palpable to the world that we are trying to influence.
So you see, being a Christian in a racially divided world means being a bridge; a solid structure that one can cross with confidence and peace to get to a God who created us ALL...