The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.-Psalm 103:6
Let me just start by saying that I don’t have this all figured out.
Like everyone, I was stunned by the events of the last week. And the grief, the hatred, the violence…it just keeps happening. Smack dab in the middle of a global health catastrophe. It’s the perfect storm of pain and loss.
It took me a few days to figure out what I wanted to say. But I guess if I could sum it up it’s this:
I’m sorry. And I want to repent.
My whole life, I’ve been saddened by racism. But I haven’t done much about it, other than say, “Well, I’m not racist.”
Clearly, that’s not enough.
God is on the side of the oppressed, and I want to be with him. I don’t want to just be “not racist.” I believe Jesus, the Jewish rabbi who spent most of his time with society’s outcasts, calls his followers to be anti-racist.“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees [i.e. churchy people], you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin [i.e. you check all the religious boxes]. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.”Matthew 23:23–24 [my interpretation added, obviously]
That camel is starting to feel mighty uncomfortable. How do we practice things like justice, mercy and faithfulness?
Change starts at home. We talked to our kids this weekend about the events that are unfolding and what caused them. They had a lot of questions. It’s an ongoing conversation and prayer, but I hope that the seeds we plant now help them see that the world doesn’t have to be this way.
I’m also going to be dedicated to:
- Educating myself and others and listening more to minority leaders
- Supporting minority businesses and celebrating minority accomplishments
- Peacefully calling out injustice when I see it or hear it and amplifying the voices of the oppressed
- Praying for peace and for the system to change
- Holding our elected leaders accountable
- Continually looking inward to untangle my own hidden prejudices and assumptions
I don’t know where you’re at personally. If you’re white, I hope you’re thinking and praying as hard as I am for peace and justice. And if you’re a person who has been mistreated or oppressed because of the color of your skin, I hope you accept my humble apology, even though it’s not nearly enough.
One final thought—our children are watching us. How we respond or don’t respond to racism is going to impact them, for better or for worse. I know I’m not going to be perfect, but I hope they see that I care and I’m doing what I can to make the world better for their generation.