I tend to be fairly slow to respond.
Ok, now let me explain – for the past 15 years I’ve served in leadership positions where I’ve had to be careful with my words. That fact alone has caused me to pause and think comprehensively before I speak and especially before I write. So, there are times where I have thoughts and want to respond to things and I usually pause. Yesterday, due to the protests in Charlottesville, VA I took a different approach because something has been stirring in our country for a long time – there is racism rampant, but it’s not a black and white issue it’s a red issue.
Maybe my statement is a stretch but here is what I mean – our hearts are the real culprit causing so much strife, division and hatred. I’m convinced there are several issues going on inside that drive and even feed the racism:
- Fear –
- An unchecked desire for comfort and lack of difficulty
- Uncontrolled anger
All of these are heart issues feeding into the racism and divisions all across our country, but more specifically across our cities, our neighborhoods and our homes. Yes, these are the issues leading to the divisions in my home and yours. So now what? If this is true this isn’t just an issue in Virginia or some far away city. This is an issue that needs to be addressed now, in our homes, our churches, our cities. Doesn’t it scare you that we could respond to the events of this week with the same vitriol that it all started with. Doesn’t it scare you that we might not even look at ourselves?
Doesn’t it scare you that we could respond to the events of this week with the same vitriol that it all started with?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I think we should speak out against the racism and openly ethnocentric ideals spoken by white supremacists and others, but I think we should also look in the mirror. In fact, I think we can take a page from the words of Jesus to the Pharisees. The Pharisees were a very exclusive and often judgmental group. I think we have a few of those today. Here is what he said:
Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them. – Luke 11:46
So, since this is a heart issue, it’s not just someone else’s issue, it’s a humankind issue, which means I can start to make a difference by starting with my heart. I can begin to repent of the anger, self-centeredness, pride and so on in my heart. I can begin to sacrifice for those who might be very different from me. I can choose to give of myself to help ease the load of those around me. And here is the real kicker: if you are a Christ-follower, these actions can all be summed up in one of the greatest commands ever given: love your neighbor as yourself. (Just a side note, it doesn’t say love your white neighbor or black neighbor or even love your friendly neighbor) But that requires a change of heart…