Some Americans worship at the altar of firearms - acolytes of Smith and Wesson and Remington. On the flip side, many choose to ignore the lessons of history while marginalizing the foundational documents of our country. Both are misguided and ill-focused.
The proper God-designed expression of our sexuality has been, for the most part, tossed to the wayside. We’ve drifted like a boat unmoored from the dock into a riptide of dangerous waters.
There’s a wound in the human heart that isn’t self-healing producing anxiety, broken relationships, and damaged lives
No, this is not about the Kardashians or Crossfit. This is about real life and it’s going to sting. Why? Because, after reading quite a bit over the past few days I’m convinced that unless I write a tome of the size of “War and Peace,” I’m going to leave something out, and someone, somewhere will be triggered, I just know it. So, bear with me for the next 800 or so words, this isn’t exhaustive. Feel free to chime in after. Part of the answer to this massive dilemma is collective unity, across the board.
The headlines were amazingly eye catching. “Protestors Carry Torches on Virginia Campus.” I clicked the bait. Squinting at the ridiculousness of it all, I laughed! I was expecting to see “Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman” torches and a few pitchforks. But Tiki torches? “Are they serious?” I thought. Are they headed to a backyard barbecue? Horseshoes, anyone? And although I laughed, my smile quickly faded. They looked ludicrous and they were dead serious.
Let me be crystal clear; there was absolutely nothing humorous about what took place in Charlottesville, VA. Racism is wrong. White supremacy is wrong. It’s wrong, ungodly, evil and atrocious! And when we speak of racism, Naziism or anything else lessening the worth of a human being, we have to stay on point. What I mean is this: A lot of articles compared Tiki totting, white evil in Charlottesville to the Black Lives Matter groups shooting cops and burning businesses. They seemed to express that one justified the other. You can't compare, and I’ll tell you why - just hold your socks for a moment longer.
There can be no “buts” in addressing racism. One group’s actions do not condone other’s.
Racism is wrong!
“But, they’re racist…”
“But, look what they did…”
It. Is. Never. Justified.
Each incident must be critiqued independently. Comparison breeds numbness and indifference, with the lesser offense, even though heinous, looking acceptable in light of the more abhorrent. So, the parade of patio flames was nefarious and every other adjective applicable in describing the walking evil. Racism is wrong. And, the demolition of public property, the pulling down of statues is wrong, brainless and ineffectual. The former doesn’t justify the latter! Nor does the greater evil absolve the lesser. No buts about it!
They showed us their “buts…” and it wasn’t appropriate!
In Kindergarten we were supposed to have learned that two wrongs don’t make a right. How far we have fallen from, “Warm cookies and milk are good for you!” Some of the most prominent political pundits fell into the trap! They showed us their “buts…” and it wasn’t appropriate!
Lastly, what I find particularly reprehensible, even more so than the slowness of leaders and the President to renounce the Charlottesville Tiki toters is this: many marching, destroying, and hating identify as Christians!
So, what you’re telling me is this: you claim to follow a man who was 1) born in the middle east, 2) was Jewish, 3) was dark skinned, 4) was a stranger in this world, 5) spoke a different language than English - unless you believe Hollywood, 6) sacrificed himself so that others could be free, 7) allowed himself to be slapped on one cheek, insulted, and then offered the perpetrator the other, 8) kept his mouth shut when he was insulted, and yet you hate someone of another color, creed or religion? You're so easily offended! You declare, “Down with hate!” while wishing the opposition dead or burned alive? Wow! We need Jesus more than ever!
Some Christians need to get saved!
Every single person will one day give an account for their actions. No one gets absolved by being compared to Adolf Hitler, Chairman Mao Zedong or Pol Pot! You are judged in the light of a perfect, holy God, not in the light of evil.
In the mean time, the only thing for evil to persist is for good people to do nothing. So…if you’re wrestling with what to do before you meet the Big Guy, here are some excellent suggestions.
- Speak up. If you haven’t already, find a voice against racism, bigotry, and injustice. It doesn’t have to be a big voice, but it has to be a voice.
- Listen up. Be intentional about listening to others who are different than you, and then, keep listening. Ignorance is not bliss; it’s unloving. Hint: It doesn't mean you have to agree!
- Seek and destroy. Not others, rather, the bits and pieces of racism, bigotry, hatred and injustice existing in your own heart. And if you don’t think you have any, you haven’t searched hard enough.
- Get leveled. Start looking at life through the correct lens. It may be “right for you” but is it right? Apparently, some believe racism is right! The only way to know truth is to seek Truth. Jesus said, “I am the way, the Truth and the life, no one gets to the Father except through me.” Forget opinions and feelings, go for Truth! Then you'll have a proper gauge for right and wrong.
- Keep your buts to yourself. Judge and act on each situation independently. When you start comparing, you’ll give evil a foothold, and that’s all it needs to root, grow and fruit - in the most subtle of ways.
When they kept on questioning (Jesus), he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:8
Racism is always wrong. No buts about it!
Check out my other blogs on this issue: Eating the Elephant and America Gone Wild.
But just because you’re not gifted, or it doesn't come naturally, doesn’t mean you can’t be encouraging. Encouragement can make or break your plans. Don't make excuses, get good at encouraging!
Our culture is losing its grip on the value of real, human, interaction and community, even casually. Focused more on self - even in the name of justice - we've reduced people to simple objects.
We cannot turn a blind eye to the needs of the refugee, just as a firefighter won’t ignore the dispatch tones. But we must do it with wisdom, so we can live to rescue another day.
Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.
Do we leave positive imprints on others that will live on after us? For thoughtful contemplation. Are we serving as powerful examples? Or, do we just use up resources for our pleasure?
For many of us, we never know the heart-satisfying reason why things happen, especially debilitating events. The answer to, "Why did this happen?" escapes us. Yet, in the midst of the elusiveness of "why?" we're called to a noble task.