Today I will write for just me. My sense is we often tend to write and speak for others, telling them where they need to change. I understand. It’s easier. It’s also less effective. The most effective maturing comes not from the demanding of another, but rather, from a sober look at self.
When I witness the loss of life, I grieve. I lament the death of George Floyd. I lament the death of those who’ve gone before him. I lament injustice and the death of the innocent. I am dismayed by the riots and resulting unrest. I find myself humbly but deeply craving what our country most needs now. I find myself first wrestling with three sincere questions…
One… Who Matters?
Life means existence…
- Black lives.
- Immigrant lives.
- The lives of the elderly, disabled or unborn.
Sincerely seeking to understand — no judgment — what existence have I justified as being lesser?
Two… Is It OK to Be Silent?
Our silence has the potential to perpetuate the acceptance of evil, unethical, or abusive behavior…
- In relationships.
- In race relations.
- In pop-culture, society or politics.
What evil or unethical behavior am I accepting?
Why am I selectively silent?
Do I ever choose the lesser of two evils, ignoring that such by definition, is still evil?
And Three… What Am I Omitting in My Outrage?
- Outrage without principle is hysteria.
- Outrage without compassion is shame.
- Outrage without truth is manipulation.
- Outrage without integrity is sanctimonious.
- Outrage without action is incomplete.
How can my outrage be used for good?
And is it ok for another’s outrage to be different than mine?
I wonder… if each human existence is created in the image of God, how can I treat anyone as lesser? How can I not believe in their equal value and worth? Am I too blind to see how God feels about each of us?
I’m sobered… pained by what’s happening across the country — the hurt in the hearts of persons of color, the division that far too many on all sides brazenly continue to sow. I thus settle in a singular place, crying out to God as to what our country most needs now. I settle here:
“If my people… respond by humbling themselves, praying, seeking my presence, and turning their backs on their wicked lives, I’ll be there ready for you: I’ll listen from heaven, forgive their sins, and restore their land to health…”
The challenge of race relations isn’t something that I can simply be silent about nor shout about at others; neither effectively changes the individual human heart. The only way I know to make lasting, permanent change is to submit to something bigger than me. God is god and I am not.
What does God say?
- Humble myself
- Seek him — recognizing he has wisdom that I do not; and…
- Turn — accepting no more evil and unethical behavior
God will listen. He’ll forgive. And he will heal our land.
As I observe varied perspective from places seemingly big and small — from the tears in my friends’ eyes to the destruction on the streets of Minneapolis and in the shouts on social media — I’m convinced of one truth most of all…
We are a land in need of healing. That’s what we most need now.