How Can We Respond?
We are compelled to ask the question if anger and compassion can be traveling companions when the battle of racial tension rises to its peak.
Violence for violence sake is never okay. It is demonic to hate someone because of the color of their skin. As a woman of color, I want to raise my children with full confidence that it is the content of their character that matters more than anything else.
We are trying to find the right response while living in a fallen world where racial tensions will never be fully eliminated just like poverty will never be fully eliminated. Our hearts crave for glimpses of heaven. Our God reminds us that evil can never overcome evil but He calls us to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). But what does that even mean? We want practical answers even when solutions seem complicated.
With all the struggles that came with the coronavirus crisis, there was a global sense of unity and solidarity. But with the murder of George Floyd, the United States stands more disunited than ever. Yes, there is a time to be angry. Senseless killings call for a time to protest. But a rage that only results in greater chaos and the loss of innocent lives does not reflect any depth of compassion. So, in a time where anger is justified and compassion is necessary, can these two be traveling companions?
Here are some suggestions for serious consideration:
1.) Beware of the messages you see around you. When you hear that all people are equal but most people in powerful positions consist of white males, know that positions of power do not imply superiority. The superiority of a person does indeed rests in the content of one’s character. That single mother, who is raising her children with care, love, and integrity needs to be respected and esteemed.
2.) Go to the people, build relationships, and learn about them so that we have a greater sense of ‘us’ instead of a “patronizing savior syndrome” that perpetuates a greater us vs. them mentality. We are created in God’s image. Our destinies are interrelated. For most of us living in The United States, this does not have to mean traveling a great deal or making a great effort. It does mean stepping out of the comfort zones we create for ourselves and having a cup of tea with our neighbor who may be of a different color, nationality, sexual orientation, or faith background. Hear their stories. Laugh a little and you may even shed some tears that bring us together.
3.) Intentionally share power. Some people are uncomfortable with the #BlackLivesMatter movement because the truth is that #AllLivesMatter. But the reason that it is important to acknowledge and support the #BlackLivesMatter movement is because non-white lives have been devalued for too long in this country. Yes, it is the predominantly white churches and organizations that have provided aid to millions of people around the world. Yes, it is the predominantly white churches that have planted seeds that will reap eternal harvests. This is the only country that I know of where people value learning the language of the immigrants rather than forcing the immigrants to learn the language of the majority. There is greater goodness to be found in the United States than what we are seeing in the news today. Our personal thoughts, actions, and feelings matter. But consider where there needs to be a paradigm shift. If we follow the God of all who left His throne in heaven to pay for our sins on that old rugged cross, then let us live in a way that reflects some understanding of His heart.