In my school years, I took algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus. Decades later, the pain inflicted in those classes still burns my bacon. I struggled with math – deeply – at every turn. I remember countless hours staring at the pages in workbooks, and the even more painful time I spent staring at exam papers. Reflecting on my pain shed a profound insight: I was never able to solve a single math problem by staring at it. I had to think deeply, determine to attack it, and get to work. Similarly, while it’s good that the events in Charlottesville are causing many people to recognize and condemn the sin of racism – merely doing so would be like me thinking I could have solved my math problems by simply staring at them. If we hope to destroy racism, we have to promote its opposite, so that behaviors like the Charlottesville shenanigans end with the certainty of today’s sunset.
You may be thinking, “We will never destroy racism. The most we could do is reduce it.” You may be right, since racism is a matter of the human heart, and changes of the heart seem so hard to sustain. I think, however, that we have an ongoing obligation to do all we can to see how far we can go toward becoming a society where we treat each another as equals, not rivals. The world will not be changed through passive means. True change happens when people become intentional and decide to be the change they want to see in others.
“We must go deep against racism – and go deep often – in order for peace and love to go far and wide.”
DREAM TO REALITY
August 28 marks fifty-four years since the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. proclaimed his God-given dream on the steps of the Lincoln memorial. His dream was that one day we would live in a world where people would be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. That dream is just as vital today as it was then.
Coming solar eclipse aside, the human heart is constantly in danger of being eclipsed by the dark deception that skin color matters – that one race is superior to another. Nonsense. We are in this world together. And, brothers and sisters, it’s time for equality and peace to advance, not retreat.
For the warped racist warriors trying to use the Bible to support their darkness, Acts 10:34-35 (ESV) should suffice, which record the words of the apostle Peter: “Truly, I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” For Pete’s sake, he spent three years with Jesus. I think he knew what Jesus was talking about. We would do well to learn from him today, where so many of our racial problems are the result of turning a deaf ear to the One we should be listening to most.
Racism is like a cockroach infestation. Let your guard down for a moment and once again, you’ll see the creepy creatures crawl out from the crevices. We must go deep against racism – and go deep often – in order for peace and love to go far and wide. In order for the dream of racial equality to be a growing reality among more and more people, we must do more than justtalk about how racism is wrong. We must model what is right, and help others do the same. And, we must root out racism in the secret recesses of our hearts where no one but God sees that it is there.
The garden that is America has tares among the wheat, for sure, but are we minding the gardens of our own hearts as tentatively as we must? Now is a great time for each of us to reflect not merely on the misguided, foolish philosophies of a few white extremists stirring up more attention than they deserve. It’s time for each of us to recapture the narrative and turn something bad into a teachable moment – beginning with ourselves. Merely speaking against racism in others will do nothing to protect us from its subtle infiltration into our own lives.
TEACH YOUR CHILDREN, GROW THE GARDEN
If you have children, sit down with them and remind them, often, that we should view people based on the content of their character, not the color of their skin. Use what’s happening around us, in the classroom of life, as object lessons for what is right and wrong. Don’t assume your children know that racism is wrong – or how to treat people equally. Talk to them, then show them how people should be treated, with fairness and love.
Don’t think that merely recognizing a problem is the same as devising a solution and intentionally tackling it, head on. Stand up, speak out against racism, realizing that the best way to beat it down is to constantly take a serious assessment of our own heart condition, making sure no weeds grow up unchallenged in your own garden. This, my friends, is how racism is put on the ropes. This is how we turn the dream into reality.
WHAT IS ONE THING YOU CAN WORK ON THIS MONTH TO BE A CATALYST FOR RACIAL HARMONY, AN EXAMPLE OTHERS CAN FOLLOW?
ABOUT ME: Most of the lessons I’ve learned in life I’ve learned through failure. I typically publish my blogs Tuesday through Friday, here and on Facebook. We welcome and read comments from readers just like you because they help us (and others) think and grow. Don’t be shy. Chime in.
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