Black Lives Matter. White Supremacy. Police shootings. Hate crimes. These are phrases that are all too familiar to us now.
I don’t often write about current events choosing to focus more on missional topics like foster care/adoption, non profit work, and missions. But the current state of racial tension in the U.S. impacts how we view a missional life.
I am reminded of a story during WW II about some Christians gathering for worship each Sunday in a church building that sat right next to the railroad tracks. The same tracks that carried train car after train car of Jews on their way to the prison camps, many to their death. The Christians would simply sing louder when they heard the cries from the train cars as they rolled past.
In the same way, we can’t ignore what is happening in our country today. However, I do think that we often take too human of a view of the matter.
We need to understand how God views racism, and respond as He does. That’s what a missional lifestyle is anyway. We see how God, a missionary God interacts with His creation, and we do the same.
No matter where you live in the world, if you pay attention to world news, I imagine that by now you have at least heard about the racial violence that happened in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA.
Over the past several months, if not the past several years, racial tensions that simmered under the surface have erupted out into the open. It is not a pretty sight. In fact, it is quite ugly. For many reasons no doubt, more and more people feel as if they can use violence to communicate their hatred.
I don’t feel anger. I don’t feel confusion. What I feel is a deep-seeded sadness that resembles depression.
Just in case you don’t know this already, I am white, male, in my mid-50s, and hold to morally and fiscally conservative views. I know now that those facts about who I am causes some kind of negative emotion in some of you.
But these facts about me are also true. I give away money every year, much of to causes that help meet the needs of those less fortunate than I am. Ten years ago, I quit my full-time job and moved, along with my wife, to Thailand to volunteer as a missionary. During that time we invited a young single mother of two children to live in our home in Texas rent free. About six years ago, Danielle and I stood before a judge and took an oath to adopt an almost two-year-old child into our forever family. I tell you these things to reveal to you my heart.
When it comes to race, yes I see the different races of people around me. I also recognize that others see the world differently than I do, and a big reason for that is the difference in our race and culture. But another person’s differences doesn’t repel me. Instead I am drawn to them. I want to know where they are from, how they view the world, what they consider important and unimportant, even if these things are very different than my own. I don’t deem one person better than another person based on any kind of criteria. And here is why.
The way I view others, whether they are like me or very different than me, is through the lens of the One who transforms my heart.
God’s view goes beyond a person’s race, culture, or worldview. He peers into a person’s heart. He isn’t a progressive liberal or an alt-right conservative or anywhere in between. He is completely set apart from all that. He isn’t concerned about where you or I are land on that spectrum, or what culture we come from. We all, even though created in His image, are very different than He is. He is complete lacking in nothing. He is pure. He is righteous.
Racism isn’t just an American problem. It is a humankind problem since the beginning of time. People’s hearts need transformation if their actions and attitudes are to change. The only One who can and will do that is God.
So what is our role in all of this? Certainly not shouting louder than the other person. And absolutely violence isn’t the answer. These only harden hearts.
Intercession. Not just empty words uttered to whatever. I mean our hearts crying out to God interceding for our nation, beseeching Him to change our hearts. When we see God move and transform who we are, then we will see healing in our land.
I haven’t found that anywhere on social media or on the 24/7 news, but I trust that some are standing in that gap. I am ready to call upon God. Are you?
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