I’m not black.
I’m not a cop.
I’m just another voice in the narrative.
My opinion will not have the solution to this terrible, systemic problem. My perspective on what has happened in the last few days is random and inconclusive.
I know nothing.
But God knows what we need to do.
It’s time to do it.
Let’s start with: “Let love be genuine. Hate what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”
Then move on to: “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another.”
And finish with: “Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
This is the voice of God in the writings of Paul in Romans 12.
The perfect Judge is asking us for the courage to NOT judge. The loving Savior is asking us for the grace to NOT get into right or wrong arguments. The perfect Healer is asking us to be hands and feet that are drenched in compassion.
God the Father is asking us to be Jesus to America.
Jesus who washed Judas’ feet.
Jesus who defended the oppressed.
Jesus who healed the broken hearted.
Jesus who forgave the people who murdered him.
Jesus who died unjustly as a criminal.
We know that after every act of violence that goes viral, we are exposed to different thoughts and responses. Pastors, politicians, teachers and soccer-moms enter the debate and chose sides according to their experiences and beliefs.
I know you’re tired of it.
So maybe there’s a better way.
A different response.
One that starts and ends with us.
I believe the occasion demands that we take responsibility for our part, because if we are not part of the solution, then we are part of the problem.
The time has also come to deal with our own racism. That bit of “harmless” prejudice, the slight disdain for the people of another color, culture, gender, sexual orientation or religion. True healing starts with acknowledging that the most dangerous racist in our lives, is the one raging on the inside.
The official definition of the word will help you understand what I’m trying to say.
Rac·ism (noun): “The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.”
Scientifically, humanity is composed of exactly one race. Although the world has different ethnicities, geographies, citizenships, and cultures, all human beings are nearly identical genetically. The genetic differences that reflect variation in physical appearance across all mankind involve 0.01% of our genes.
All humans are made in the image of God.
Terence Crutcher was.
Every protester and every police officer in Charlotte is.
And so are you.
Scripture tells us, “Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ.” Colossians 3:11 (The Message)
This Christ experienced racism in his lifetime. When Nathaniel was told about the Messiah for the first time, he responded with the question, “What good comes out of Nazareth?” A statement that distinguished the people of Nazareth as lesser, inferior, bad.
Jesus was also judged based on his social status. They called him the “son of the carpenter” as if to say poor, uneducated, lesser, inferior, bad.
He was born in little Bethlehem, raised in Nazareth by a carpenter, lived as a minority in the Roman empire and was murdered as a criminal on a cross.
He was treated as poor, uneducated, lesser, inferior, bad.
I know He understands the struggle.
And I’m sure He’s the only solution.
So whatever the question is, love is the answer.
Not our version of love, Jesus’ version.
The version that decides for understanding, community and kindness. The version that turns enemies into friends and strangers into family. The version that forgives police officers for their brutality, and acknowledges the pain of those who have been brutalized. The version that believes the best about anyone that used the hashtags #BlackLivesMatters and everyone that shares #BlueLivesMatter.
Compassion is not just an emotion that makes us feel pity; it’s a Godly invitation. It’s the call to do it like God Himself did it: to come closer, to embrace their experience, to die for their benefit.
As Heidi Baker likes to say, “Love looks like something!”
What is it going to look like this week?
For me it looks like cooking a Puerto Rican meal for my African-American neighbor while we talk alongside my white wife about the recent police shootings. It looks like praying together with police officers in our church community and extending a hand of friendship. It looks like praying Psalm 10 over my black friends and family:
For us the Church of Jesus, it looks like a combination of hundreds of little acts of love.
So let us open the table of communion at our gatherings. Let us have a dialogue founded on love instead of opinions. And let us listen to understand, not to respond.
Yes, we could spend hours and hours talking about what the white police or the black community should do… but that’s the easy part. The difficult (less attractive part) is to take the Kingdom of God approach: Deal with the sin on the inside, take the log out of our eyes, repent for the hate in our hearts and drop the stone of racism from our hands.
It’s easy to tweet 140 characters about police brutality or black on black crime. It’s easy to share judgment on Facebook about criminals or rioters.
It’s harder to pray. Harder to love. Harder to understand.
Dear church, let’s do the hard things.
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
Nelson Mandela in Long Walk to Freedom.
+ Can I ask you please to share this link and video? It’s an invitation to see our brothers as Christ sees our brothers. A conversation starter. A hopeful beginning in such a hopeless environment. Thank you.
*The song in the video is from The Billiance / Brother Album.