The events of Charlottesville brought unexpected angst to an otherwise glorious Sabbath. It was my birthday weekend and I had spoken at two churches in one morning and was enjoying my family and my church. Social media brought to my attention the radical actions of hate. In the few days since I have seen several reactions to the hate.
1. Outrage with no follow-up.
Social media is part of the response but not all. Probably not even the most important. In an age of quotes, retweets and likes God is calling us to action. We have decided as a family to minister in different ways within minority communities especially dealing with issues of abuse and violence towards women.
This is not a word I coined but I like it because it describes perfectly another reaction. What about BLM? What about black on black crime? What about extreme left? Google false equivalency. What people of color (whom the hate was addressed by KKK, Alt-right and white nationalist groups) need is your support not a lecture.
This is populated by well-intentioned people who recognize there is a problem and believe the solution is to not talk about it. The problem is they tell you they aren’t talking about it while talking about it. I am not a confrontational person by nature so my first instinct is to help people look to other things. So when my instinct to divert attention and avoid pushback try to overwhelm me I remind myself of this:
Pointing out racism is not divisive. Racism is divisive.
Pointing out injustice is not divisive. Injustice is divisive.
Condemning hate is not divisive. Hate is divisive.
Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:22 to “reject every kind of evil.” I don’t want to live my life because of what other people may think of me, but I want to leave no doubt where I stand.
5. This is a small minority.
That is a true statement. Yet comes across to minorities as dismissive. Just because I have a small cancerous mole in my face that takes less than .5 percent of my body does not mean I should ignore it, diminish its importance or delay its eradication.
So…what can we do.
1. Listen up. Develop significant long lasting relationships with people of color. Ask questions. Feel their pain. Listen not to respond, but to listen.
2. Speak up. Use the influence and platform God has given you to speak up against hate. Be clear on where you stand.
3. Buckle up. Expect pushback. Also expect a change to happen. The first question is not is this popular, but is it worth it? One day you will look back and either regret or remember how you stood up to hate. You decide.