Matthew 5:43-48 (NLT)
“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
The only way I can speak with truth is with the Word of God. Christ has been the beacon of truth in everything I see and do since I decided to follow Him. As such, I believe we should peacefully protest and stand against the racism and injustice towards people of color.
We live in a fallen world. The evil we encounter is a result of Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden, passed on from generation to generation. We all face sin. The problem is, as Jesus states in John 12:35 (NLT), “Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going.” Our sin distances us from God and, in turn, from walking righteously in love. This figuratively dims the light on our path and the way in which we view ourselves and others.
Everyone has their opinion on what racism is. What’s more important is how to fight it. But how do we fight it if we don’t know the source? Racism is sin, constructed with pride, selfishness, fear and hatred. It’s complex and long-lived. It’s an amalgamation of numerous things.
Just break it down.
Racism is fear. There are so many types of fear. It’s very likely racism is fear of losing control, of losing power. It could be fear of the unknown, of what is different. It’s probable there’s even fear of oppression, the very thing racism creates.
Racism is hate. Fear and envy tarnish our hearts until they’re filled with hate. We hate people because we project our own feelings of anger, resentment, and jealousy onto those we don’t know as an outlet for our rage. Hatred knows no color. We may apply it to people, situations or circumstances on our own, but in its defining moment, hatred is blinding.
Racism is pride. It’s been said that pride is the root of all evil. Proverbs 16:18 (NLT) states “Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.” It builds one up in order to tear others down.
Racism is selfishness. For some of us, our privilege blinds us to the plights of the world. Completely sheltered and sitting in lofty fortresses of complacency, we build a cocoon for ourselves. We can’t see the struggle our brothers and sisters of humanity are walking through because we don’t relate to it. We don’t know how to love others because we’re too busy loving ourselves.
It’s more than a mentality. It’s a culmination of sins that are acted upon. It’s learned by what we’re taught, what we hear and how we’re trained from a very early age. It’s an ignorance or dissociation of the experiences of others. God did not create racism. That’s our handiwork. This condition has infiltrated our homes, our government, and businesses. It’s present across all levels of authority.
Racism, bigotry, slavery, greed, wrath, envy, prejudice, the list goes on. we are. missing the mark.
Sin creates a divide. A divide between God. A divide between our brothers and sisters. Even an internal divide. We can and should still work towards creating a better life by living in God’s love and truth, and turning from sin.
Jesus is the only way to liberate us from the restraints of sin. His sinless life, self-sacrificing death on the cross, and resurrection (in the face of injustice) ultimately defeated death. As He took the penalty of sin upon Himself, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13 (NLT). Repentance is more than asking Him into your heart. Repentance is turning away from your sin and toward Him. By doing so, we are. transformed.
Jesus instructs, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-42 (NLT).
“Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” 1 John 4:18 (NLT).
“If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?” 1 John 4:20 (NLT).
“Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2 (NLT).
“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3 (NLT).
Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. His love shows us how to love our neighbors better than we could ever imagine. Gary Chapman’s book, “The 5 Love Languages”, may be overly referenced, but has taught me how to love in all it’s facets. The languages are: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Physical Touch, Gifts, Quality Time. There is no doubt we need to use them to live in love and fight injustice and racism.
• Words of Affirmation
Reach out and tell someone, anyone just how much you love them.
Use your voice to speak out against injustice.
“We hear you, we see you, we love you, and we stand with you”.
Be respectful of the lives lost to violence, regardless of the life they lived.
Think before you speak. Are your words kind? Are they educated?
• Acts of Service
Do something. Awareness is not an action. Live the cause in love by standing together in support of people of color. As we’re called to love even our enemies, I do not condone violence. There are people and groups that are self-seeking in the current state of protests, looting, and rioting that do not support the cause and create chaos. Still, I believe in the right to peacefully protest, and in police enforcing the law to stop rioters and looters. If you are outraged by the rioting and looting, ask yourself what caused it and what you can do to prevent further destruction. Denying that there’s a problem is part of the problem. Help with clean up. Volunteer and serve in your community.
Write local politicians or the BBB to voice concern on systemic racism and criminal justice reform.
Show your children God’s love to others; from the toys you buy them to the friends you allow into your home. Be inclusive. Let them ask questions and have conversations with them. Train them not only by your words but by your actions.
• Physical Touch
Give someone a hug, even if it makes you uncomfortable.
Find organizations or funds that promote healing, build community, and combat racism and injustice in your area. Donate to them. Gift them your time.
Be conscientious of what you support; find organizations that unite rather than divide.
• Quality Time
Work to build meaningful friendships with people of different colors and cultures. Be intentional.
Open a dialogue. Listen without becoming defensive. Ask how you can help to love them better. Have tough conversations with people that are consciously or subconsciously supporting racism.
Do your research and ask questions. Do not remain in ignorance.
Assume the best in people instead of becoming offended.
Respect all humankind.
I think we all need to ask ourselves some questions. How are you loving others? Are you putting others before yourself? Do you love your enemies? Are you being intentional with your relationships with people of color? Are you unconsciously contributing to racism? Are you challenging it?
Despite all of our failures and how far off the mark we may be, we are. made in the image of God. God loves each and everyone one of us even when we don’t deserve it. We’re called to love as He does; to go beyond love and extend mercy. Humble yourself. Turn the other cheek when offended, show compassion to accusers and love oppressors. The only thing that brings eternal and total transformation is His love.
God’s love is undeniably like anything we’ve ever known. He shows us a new style of love, agape. It’s a love that should shock us into awakening- it’s a self-sacrificing love, a love in the face of injustice, an undeserving grace. It’s by His love that we are made free; free from fear, anger, lust, pride, addiction. We can be made free from it all, if we so choose. One day, there will be an end to racism. Jesus first came in humility; his agenda was spiritual warfare to win our hearts, and concurrently conquer death. The next time He comes there will be a reckoning. There will be justice. And there is hope in that.
United, we have more impact. Let's stand together in love.
We ask that you would pray with us for our nation.
We pray for peace over every family that has lost a loved one to the hands of police brutality and racist individuals. We pray for protection upon every person of color and for justice against the horrific violence encountered. We pray for police officers that are righteously upholding the law and who are on the front lines of the violence and destruction. We pray they will stand firm against it and that they're shielded from it. We pray for a stop to the rioting and looting. We pray for healing. We pray for the innocent that were injured or lost their lives during the riots. We pray for an awakening to those promoting violence, rioting and looting. We pray for those in authority to be victorious over fear, bias, violence and racism. We pray for unity for our country and for the end of discrimination, racism and hate. We pray each and every person shows love, mercy, and humility to our fellow humans.
I would love to open a discussion. Please share your testimonies or tell us ways we can help. Before responding, I urge you to ask yourself; Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? Comments that are hateful, political or untrue will not be tolerated.