This article, to date, is the most difficult I have ever written. The reason being because I’m about to hurt a lot of feelings, including my own. I want to discuss prejudice and judgement. This is an extremely difficult topic to talk about without making people angry. So, I decided to write about it.
Saturday, Aug. 12 a hate group planned a protest against the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The evening before the protest, members of this group marched through the University of Virginia carrying torches and yelling “White Lives Matter” and “Blood and Soil.” This was a horrendous act of hate and racism. Members of this group claimed to do these things in accordance to the will of God.
Let me tell you one thing, this is not God’s will. The God of the Bible is a God of love and he loves diversity. We are told in Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” We are also told by Jesus in John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
These two verses tell us that all people are made in God’s image and if you are a follower of Jesus Christ you will be known by your love. This group of racist did not show love and they do not believe all people are made in God’s image. So once again, their actions were not in line with Biblical principles.
Now, what do we, the Church, do about this? We confess our own personal short comings when it comes to racism. Right now, you are saying, “Andy, I’m not racist.” If you are of the Caucasian persuasion, you might also throw out one of the following clichés, “I have lots of black friends.” or “God is colorblind.” Please don’t say these things. Your friends should not be defined by their skin color. Also, saying that God is colorblind shortchanges one skin color or another. To quote Morgan Freeman’s character Azeem in “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”, “God loves wondrous varieties.” Just look around at our community here in Newton County.
All people have preconceived notions about different races. We have to throw away all of the stereotypes the society perpetuates. All people are different. They may have something in common but they are not the same. These ideas we have are false. Get to know people not for their skin color but for who they are. We have to turn away from, repent, our sin of racial judgement.
I know this article won’t fix everything, but it’s a start. We have opened the door for conversation. My mentor is a man named Michael Holloway. He’s a brown dude. My youngest daughter was very upset the day I told her she would never have “chocolate hands”, her words, like Mr. Michael. I love this man. He and his family love me like family. He has taught me so many things. One of the most important things he has taught me is to talk to people, get to know them and what concerns them. That’s what Jesus did. He listened and he loved.
Church, we need to have the tough conversations. We need to know the people in our community, no matter their race. We need to stop ignoring this. We need to get out of our comfort zone and have real, uncomfortable conversations. Most of all, we just need to love others. Henry Drummond once said, “Where Love is, God is.” Let us all work on making Newton County where God is.