Where We Need to Start in the Conversation on Race

“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” ~1 John 4:11

It is almost too much for me to handle anymore. I sit silently in the driver’s seat of my car, tears spattering the sides of my face as I shake my head in confusion and sadness. How did we get to this place?

Brothers and sisters unmercifully fight, their sharp words piercing joint and marrow, soul and spirit. Old wounds split open and bleed, exposing areas deep within that demand radical healing. Empathy is but a long-lost friend in a world where joy is no match for sorrow.

Broken people, we are.

When will we stop taking an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth?

When?

When will we sacrifice our pride and stand in solidarity with one another, race to race, neighbor to neighbor, friend to friend?

When?

When will we behold the beauty of our brothers and sisters, and see them as the masterpieces their Creator designed them to be?

When?

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Christian Brothers and Sisters, we cannot delay any longer. If we really believe that God loves His most blessed creation, and if we believe that Christ went to the cross to reconcile and restore broken people to Himself, and if we are serious about bringing that restoration to our bruised and battered and hurting relationships, then it is time to do something.

I need to confess, and maybe you do too, that I have taken a back seat to the conversation on race for far too long. Truth be told, my heart is overwhelmed with chaos when I try to process the facts and the stories. And really, the anger and hate and warring. It is just too much.

The cacophony of racial conflict rings with sharp dissonance in the depths of my soul. I cannot turn away this time.

Friend, is this where you are too?

I’m ready to move forward from this place of confusion, into a place of understanding. In many ways I have been ready for awhile, but something has been holding me back.

Facts.

Facts beckon me to hear and believe their truth, but I can’t seem to sort through the conflict tossed in from opposing sides. So I am stuck.

Why do we give facts a place on the throne in our lives? Are they what really matter the most?

Brothers and Sisters, we have started in the wrong place. Our lives and our debates are consumed with making a case for the opposition, and in that we have failed to recognize the most important part of it all.

Relationship.

 

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Relationship is where it started with God and us, and it’s where we must start with one another. It’s time for us to love our brothers and sisters enough to sit down and have hard, messy conversations. To enter into their pain and hurt, and to listen to them. Not to argue over the facts, but to sincerely hear the feelings. And it isn’t just about the white man listening to the black man. It’s about each of us, regardless of our race, acknowledging that every person we encounter has been wounded and deeply needs to be understood.

For it is in understanding that walls crumble before our eyes, and long-standing barriers begin to break. It is in understanding that fighting ceases and restoration begins.

So today I’m choosing relationship.

Today I’m choosing to love others by asking God to change my heart where anger dwells, and by intentionally engaging in meaningful conversation with brothers and sisters in races not my own.

But I can’t do it alone. I am asking the LORD to guide my steps and to give me peace in my confusion, love in my hurt, and hope in my despair. And I know He will, for He is always good on His promises.

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