We are on the heels of yet another heart breaking senseless crime. Another young white guy has murdered a mass of people. This recent mass murder is a little different than some of the others. This one was clearly motivated by racism. This young man in his deranged mind justified the killing of 9 innocent people at a church prayer meeting.
What horrible irony. The place you go to find hope and forgiveness would be the place that he would bring death and destruction.
What if we could end racism? What if the answers are already there?
I can tell you the answer is not in passing a law, having the right person in public office, or going on a social media rant.
This murder has caused a lot of attention toward the Confederate Flag and whether it should be taken down from certain public areas. Some use the flag as a symbol of pride and to some the flag is an object they have always associated with racist people. Maybe the flag should come down, but the flag is really not the issue. The issue is always the same. It is a matter of the mind and heart. This is where we are losing.
I grew up in the Deep South. As a Caucasian male I don’t pretend to know what it is like to an African American person. I don’t know how hard it is. I don’t know how a black man sees me, or what feelings well up within him when he come in contact with a white man.
I do know that I grew up in a culture that verbalized disgust when a white woman and a black man were together. I grew up in a culture where there was always some level of fear when young black men were around because the perception was that they were angry and would commit some crime. In the school I attended black people hung out with black people and white people hung out with white people. While I had many friends that were black I did not hang out with them outside of a school setting. We played sports together, were in the band together, and sat next to each other in class but there was always a clear distinction between black and white. There was a always a clear level of separation that was seen most clearly on Sundays at church. These are just the facts of how things were and how in many places they still are.
As I have grown in the Lord many of my personal views have changes. I have come to fully realize that every person is incredibly valuable because Christ made us.
Galatians 3:28 says, “There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
This tells me that the Gospel of Jesus Christ transcends race, socioeconomic status and gender. In Christ we all have value. We are one church under His blood. The precious blood of Christ was shed for every man.
Because the world is broken and people are naturally sinful I am sad to say that racism will not end.
Many will take this tragedy and use it to politicize their particular agendas. Many people will use this opportunity to throw out more hatred. Neither of these responses helps anyone.
Racism will probably never end…but I just might be able to end it in my family.
I cannot change the pain and anger that people feel in their hearts, but I can teach MY children.
Here is how I am going to end racism in my home.
I am going to teach my children what God says about people. I am going to teach them that God loves people so much He gave His life to save them. John 3:16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
I am going to teach them that we should love people and give our lives in service and love towards others. Matthew 22:39 “…’Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
I am going to teach them to do to others, as they would have others do to them. Matthew 7:12 “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.”
I am going to teach my children to value other people and cultures. 1 Corinthians 9:22 “When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some.”
I am going to invite people of other races into my home. 1 Peter 4:9 “Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.”
I am going to teach my children that we do not judge someone by the color of their skin but the content of their character. John 7:24 “”Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”
I am going to show them the evil of prejudice and teach them the beauty of love. Romans 12:9 “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”
I am going to (if the Lord allows) open my home to foster children of whatever race the Lord sees fit. James 1:27 “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.”
I am going to beg my children to not repay evil with evil but to repay evil with good. Romans 12:21 “Do not overcome evil by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
I can’t end racism…but I can make a difference in my home. I pray my son will not be the deranged young white kid with hatred in his heart towards people of a different skin color.
I pray my children will not be the problem but the answer.
We end racism one decision at a time, one heart at a time.
The answer is almost never in legislation or anything in the realm of politics. The Bible has already showed us how to end racism. We just have to obey it.
There is hope. Close friends of mine, who are Caucasian, have become foster parents of three young African American children. I am so thankful for this. One of the children is a girl and she has become best friends with my little girls.
One of the three children is a baby who just turned one and had a birthday party that we attended. It warmed my heart to see my 7-year-old son blowing on the belly of this baby just like he blew on his sister’s belly. He didn’t even think about the difference in skin color. He just loved the baby. I pray that my children will grow up to love people…all people.
The families of the victims in the Charleston shooting have showed us what Christian character and love look like. In the midst of the deepest pain they chose to publicly forgive their enemy instead of pile on more hate. Let us all learn from their example.