Today I am sad. Depressed. Dejected. Hurting. Full of sorrow. Heartbroken. I am troubled. I am heavy hearted. I am in mourning. Grief stricken.
I feel this way because of the state of the world we live in on August 15th 2017.
This is the world we live in? I just paused for a moment to talk to my daughter, and the feelings were suddenly refreshed, and deepened. This is the world she has to live in?
A world where hundreds, maybe thousands, gather in a public display of racism just a few days ago in Charlottesville, Virginia. Which just to be clear is unequivocally denounced, condemned, and opposed by me. Racism is evil. Racism is wrong.
She has to grow up in a world with international and domestic terrorists.
A world where countries, Iceland specifically is “on pace to virtually eliminate Down syndrome through abortion.”[i]
A world where the President of the United States of America says about the events in Charlottesville, “As I said — remember this, Saturday — we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence. It has no place in America.” But then in the same press conference says this about those who marched with and are white nationalists and neo-nazis in Charlottesville, “You have some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people…”[ii]
How is it possible to be a “fine person” and march with neo-nazis? White nationalists and those who march with them cannot be defined as “fine” people.
Those who are white nationalists and neo-nazis, and those who march with them, should be unequivocally denounced, condemned, and opposed. That is not what I heard from President Trump.
This is the world we live in. A friend of mine posted a video from Vice News on Facebook about the events in Charlottesville. As I sat and watched this video a sense of despair come over me with the realization that this is the world we live in. To watch the video you can click on the following link. But be warned, there is very inappropriate language and it is difficult and uncomfortable to watch, but again, this is the world we live in. You can watch the video here, but be warned of the multiple f-words, n-words, death threats, and very offensive language and violence:
I took a few days away from writing this entry, life got in the way. That and I wanted more time to think, more time to work through what I am feeling and what the appropriate response would be.
But I am still sad today, August 17th, 2017. I am still depressed, dejected and hurting. My heart is still heavy and I am troubled. I am troubled for my friend from college and his family. He and his wife have three adopted black children and just yesterday experienced the police being called because their five year old black son was sitting on the porch of their house watching cars pass by because someone thought he looked “suspicious.” Five years old. Five.
I have a five year old who, like me, is white. I worry about him, and my daughter in this world we live in, but I will never have the same worry for my white children as my friend does for his black children. My heart is heavy for him and his family today.
But today I feel more than sadness. I feel more than depression and my heart is more than heavy. Today I am upset. Mad. Angry. Furious. Enraged. My anger burns not just against those joined in Charlottesville who support racism. My anger is against more than a president who calls people who march with neo-nazis and white supremacists “fine people.” My anger is against more than the people who are happy and proud of virtually eliminating Down syndrome through abortion.
I am angry at those who say things in the face of evils such as those listed above, “This is just the way it is,” or “it’s always going to be like this,” or “just get used to it,” or “grow up and stop complaining,” or “suck it up and move on.”
If that is your stance, if that is your rallying cry against evil, my sadness over your position has turned to anger.
Things will always be this way, if we, everyone, and specifically white people, such as myself, do nothing. Things will always be this way if we let them be this way.
So let’s not let them be this way anymore. Change is possible and it starts with me and it starts with you. Actually, I may be wrong, real change, cultural change, a change in ideology, and thinking and beliefs, starts with Jesus. Jesus produces real change in people, real change in society, real change in this world.
In his book The Case for Christ, author Lee Strobel writes of a business man he knew who was a “rabid racist” who thought that he was better than any person who wasn’t the same color as himself. He had a condescending attitude towards African-Americans and often told crude jokes and made no attempt to hide his feelings. “No amount of arguing could dissuade him from his disgusting opinions,” Strobel writes. Until the man became a follower of Jesus. Strobel writes that he watched in amazement as the man’s values changed over time and his attitudes, and perspectives shifted as his heart was renewed by God. He became a man who no longer harbored any ill-will against people of different ethnicities and accepted all.[iii]
Then Strobel makes a key point, he writes about this man and his radical change in ideology, “Legislation didn’t change him. Reasoning didn’t change him. Emotional appeals didn’t change him. He’ll tell you God change him from the inside out – decisively, completely, permanently…” that’s the power of the gospel of Jesus the power “to transform vengeful haters into humanitarians, hardhearted hoarders into softhearted givers, power-mongers into selfless servants, and people who exploit others – through slavery or some other form of oppression – into people who embrace all.”[iv]
Legislation, reason, and emotional appeal do not change people’s hearts. Jesus can, and does. That is why my sadness, my troubled spirit, my anger, my fury has turned to hope.
Hope not in protesters who are protesting for positive change. Hope not in laws or legislation. Hope not in an organization or politician.
But hope in Jesus. Hope that people will turn to Jesus and we will see radical changes in hearts and lives, and a radical change in this world.
But in order for that to happen, Christians, those of you who are following Christ, I am writing to you now. Christians, we must act like Jesus. We must think of other people the way that Jesus would think of other people, that all people are worthy to be treated with dignity, grace, compassion, and love. We must treat other people how Jesus treated them and remember to do to others what we would want them to do to us.
We must act like the Jesus we see in the gospels. A Jesus who tells us that the most important thing to do in this world is to love God and to love others. And to love others means to love everyone, everyone of all ethnicities and colors, races, genders, and religion. Love everyone. Love all. And we love not just in word and deed but in action.
Christians, we need to make a difference and we need to make a difference now.
I am hopeful that this can be done. That it is possible. It’s been done in the past by dedicated followers of Jesus such as William Wilberforce who lead the charge against ending slavery in the United Kingdom. He saw the injustice and the wrong that slavery was and did not stand idly by hoping someone else would make a difference. It was Jesus who changed the hearts and lives of men and women and as a result those Christians sunk empty slave ships to make sure they could no longer transport slaves.
And if the slave trade was happening as freely and openly today as it was then, I would be sinking empty slave ships too. But there are other injustices that are happening just as openly today and I have to take a serious and hard look at myself and ask the question, “What am I doing about it?” You must ask yourself the same question, “What are you doing about it?”
Christians, we have a responsibility, it is our turn to make real cultural change. Our turn to make a difference, not with guns, or bombs, or rocks or sticks. Those are not the weapons we are called to fight with. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, “4Our weapons that we fight with aren’t human, but instead they are powered by God for the destruction of fortresses. They destroy arguments, 5 and every defense that is raised up to oppose the knowledge of God.”
Racism is an argument that opposes God, and who he is and what he stands for. We must attack and destroy that argument with the truth that human beings, all human beings are created in the image of God and therefore deserve to be treated with respect, dignity, grace, and love. The idea that one group of people is better than another based on the color of their skin is an idea that is raised up in opposition to the knowledge of God and who he is and how he acts and loves.
We, Christians, need to destroy these ideologies such as racism, neo-nazism, and white supremacy that are unbiblical and is a direct attack on God, who sent his son, Jesus to die for every person, of every ethnicity, and race. We have to fight against these doctrines with truth, the truth that everyone, every person is loved by God, and all are created in the image of God.
We need to fight ideologies of hate with the truth of love. The truth that God loves everyone and we as followers of his son, Jesus, need to love others, everyone.
This world makes me sad. The way people act and behave and the words they say hurts my heart and infuriates me. I am angry and hurt, and I believe the appropriate response to this anger and hurt and sadness is to love in action and in truth.
Silence is not the answer. Accepting that this is just the way the world is, is not the answer. Hate is not the answer. Violence cannot solve a problem of the heart.
Loving all in action and in truth through the power of Jesus by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the answer. We need to destroy ideologies of hate and doctrines of injustice with the truth of Jesus and his love for all humans. We need to fight this current world with the hope we have Jesus that things do not have to be and stay this way but change, real change is possible.
God’s heart breaks for this world, and mine does too. But hope still remains. I’m not calling for people to be better or to do better. I am calling for Christians to love in action and in truth and to fight against this world by using truth, love, hope, and the salvation of Jesus. Christians, we can, and must take a stand. Love will prevail, love will win, hope remains.
And now on August 24th 2017 as I edit and review this article, and on August 29th 2017 as I get ready to post this, I am more certain than ever that Jesus is the answer. The hope, the peace, the love, the salvation that can only come through Jesus is the answer. Christians, our calling is this: love God, and love others. This is what can and will bring change if we will have the courage to love through action.
I leave you with this from Ephesians 5:11, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” We are called to expose the works of darkness, may we be proactive and intentional in this calling, as we call out evil by living out the light of Jesus, for the sake of others, and society as a whole.
[ii] You can read the full transcript of President Trump’s press conference here –
[iii] Strobel, Lee. The Case for Christ: a Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus. Willow, 1998. Pg. 227