Events continue to stream across our media devices that remind us how horrible racism and prejudice are. Rarely does a week pass that I don’t see a news report to which I respond, “Again?” I’d like to think that a day is fast approaching when people look around themselves and just see other people. Though our skin colors vary and our cultures are diverse, we all are created in God’s image. Beautiful, valuable, precious people. People of incredible worth. People to embrace and love. Diversity is something to be cherished and appreciated, not despised, hated, and attacked.
I (obviously a white male) grew up in the south (Alabama and Georgia). Though I lived there during the Civil Rights Movement, I don’t remember much about it. I recently watched “Selma.” I was quickly moved to tears by the scene that depicted violence on the bridge as the marchers were entering the city. Each time I see or read about something like this from history or the present (Virginia), I am ashamed, embarrassed, appalled, and incensed at how my brothers and sisters have been treated and disrespected. . . and even killed. And I am frequently amazed at how the mistreated and disrespected respond with courageous grace and forgiveness.
Prejudice, racism, and White Supremacist groups are not limited to the South. Since 1974, I’ve spent most of my life in the Midwest. And I’ve traveled the country a bit. Unfortunately, it seems like these groups are increasingly emboldened to prop up their feelings of inferiority with prejudice and godless ideologies that drive them to attack others because they are different, as if being different lessens a person’s worth or value. Why are we so threatened by differences? I’ve discovered that human ignorance isn’t geographically contained. I see it in the Midwest and other areas, too.
As Christ followers and Christian leaders, we must renounce racism, prejudice, and hatred. It is deplorable. It is an insult to God and ultimately benefits no one. It should outrage all people of goodwill. How it must break God’s heart to see how His beautiful and prized children are mistreated by others. We must stand against such attitudes and acts. We must cry out for justice, love and equity to reign. We must stand with those who are the victims of racism and mistreatment.
Not only do we need to make strong ethical statements, but we also have powerful biblical mandates that direct us to treat one another with love, respect, and dignity regardless of physical traits, appearances, or race.
I echo Jesus;
“Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.”
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
And Nelson Mandela;
No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for loves comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
May love, respect, justice, and character reign!