Your Life Experience Does Not Mean That Racism Does Not Exist
I grew up in the “City too busy to hate”, also known as Atlanta. My perspective of racism up until a couple of years ago was that it was close to dead. We knew about a few counties around the city that were racist, but they were considered backwards, ignorant, and evil. The few racists left in the area were being snuffed out by cultural shifts, a growing Christian voice, and Atlanta’s expansion.
That’s my white, male, native Atlantan perspective. I had no idea that neighbors, old teammates, friends, and fellow church members still dealt with racism everyday.
Here’s What I Know
We live in an amazing country. God has blessed us beyond imagination with opportunities, freedoms, and a voice to be shared across the world. It’s not perfect, and it must constantly be defended.
But something is holding us back. We’re not our best. God is not done working in us as a nation. I know this because there is a significant portion of the population that feels hated.
Here’s what I know I don’t know. I don’t understand what it’s like to be a minority in America, especially an African American. There’s nothing in my personal or Swedish American background that can somehow give me a true understanding. It’s heart breaking and humbling at the same time, especially in moments like this, as we look to Charlottesville.
Although it is difficult for me to imagine racism happening in my own neighborhood, it’s imperative that I acknowledge it and stand by my fellow Americans and brothers and sisters in Christ against it. As Christians, we have no choice but to rise up against racism and hate.
Charlottesville Should Not Be Happening
What’s happening in Charlottesville, Virginia is a great tragedy. It’s embarrassing, infuriating, confusing, and at times it doesn’t even feel real.
No matter what is in our nation’s past, this is not normal.
It’s not how God wants it to be, and it’s not how He wants us to treat one another.
For the most part, white Christians have been slow to respond. It seems as if we have been paralyzed by our own ignorance, our unwillingness to acknowledge the existence of racism, or even just not knowing how to jump in and help. But just like Charlottesville, this should not be happening. God gave us a heart of courage and of love. Not understanding is not enough of a reason to stand on the sidelines.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. John 13:34 NASB
There was once a great Christian response to racism in this country. There was a roar that came from Christians standing up against oppression. This roar is rising up again, and that should give us hope.
Love Is the Ultimate Reaction
When God created us in His image, He gave us a mighty weapon; love. It has the power to change everything.
I believe that love can change the heart of any man or woman in an instant. It’s evident in how Jesus changed my life, your life, and the lives of those that came before us. Love is the ultimate reaction to instances of hate.
Love defends the persecuted.
Love seeks understanding.
Love stands up for what is right.
Love prays for those that hate us.
Love responds to hate with love.
Love makes us come alive.
Love saves the day.
God called us to love Him, and love each other. He gave us Christ, the ultimate act of love, to show us how.
We can end racism today. Christians must fight back. As love breaks through, lives will be transformed. Truth will endure, and evil will be crushed. Even the heart of a white supremacist can change, break from the chains of hate, and live in God’s redeeming love.
The people of God can come together and eradicate racism in America.
Our response, to Charlottesville and any injustice or act of oppression, is that we will not stand idly by. We are committed to sharing the truth that God loves all of us, unconditionally, and that He created us to love each other as well. Church.org will continue to promote love, and share how the greatest love story ever written was for every man and woman. We stand against racism, and we stand with our nation, united by the Creator that gave us this beautiful variety of skin tones.
Praying for UNITY in our Nation. Let LOVE prevail. Speak out against HATRED, speak up for LOVE. Silence will not do.
— Sam Collier (@SamCollier) August 12, 2017
Always look forward. Remember that what's behind you is still in the past, no matter how loud it rallies to ring in your ears. Our bright future is not found behind us. The greater fight is ahead. Thanks to Jesus (and soldiers like this), I pray that even these brothers feel welcomed to join us in that one day. Never will we lose our hope.