I am white. I didn’t choose it, I was simply born that way. So while I feel like there is not much I can contribute to the current events that have overtaken our newsfeeds, our news programs, and our media in general, I have been told that silence is part of the problem and it doesn’t take much more than that for me to share my heart.
When #Ferguson placed itself on the map of my life, I was a little appalled. I simply could not believe that so many people would think it was okay to try and hang any person (white or black) in the court of public opinon. I probably started off with the thoughts and opinions of most white people… “Are we still making everything about race?”
See, I thought I wasn’t looking at Ferguson as a white person, but as a human being. I thought that it was probably obvious to everyone that not even one fact had a chance to come out before everyone was SURE that Mike Brown had been shot because Darren Wilson hated him for his skin color. When I took to social media to express my outrage that the same people crying for justice were ignoring it totally in this case, my eyes were opened to what African Americans are really trying to tell us here.
See, Ferguson has ceased being about Darren Wilson and Mike Brown…that’s not what everyone is up in arms about anymore. Some of them think that this is still the point…most of the media, in fact…but it’s far bigger than a small town in the middle of Missouri.
Sometimes my husband and I have a conversation and we are on totally different pages. My husband thinks that I am upset and angry about the issue at hand that has been the last straw…so he sticks to that issue…he debates it…and sometimes he is vindicated in that issue. But I wasn’t necessarily upset about that issue. As a matter of fact, I had a whole list of wrongs that had piled up and this one was just the trigger after the gun had already been loaded.
The fact is the black community sees Mike Brown laying on the ground dead and unarmed and they remember every time that they have experienced hurt because of their color. They see a man who now represents years of oppression and hate endured by relatives that they heard first hand stories from. This shooting to them represents the slavery that they feel like they still endure every day when some stupid white person acts superior because of a color that he did not choose or when they fear that their children will be mistaken for criminals as they peacefully walk the streets.
And the fact is the white community sees Darren Wilson standing over the body, shaking his head in disbelief…and then they hear cries of “We want justice” before the investigation has even started…and then facts start coming out that may dispute the claim that race was a factor…and then looting starts taking place and riots start happening…and they see a black community that is living up to all the stereotypes that they already believed.
That is what I feel is happening here. That is why no one is really communicating at this point, even though many people are yelling. White people think that black people need to change and black people think that white people need to change. This is going to lead to us nowhere. Eventually we will go back to being silent because it is definitely more comfortable.
Before that happens, I am trying to listen… I really am… but as I am listening, I am hearing neither side contribute to lasting positive change. We can’t continue to yell into each other’s faces that it is the other person’s fault and expect to leave the meeting with a better relationship.
Slavery was WRONG…horrendously and seriously wrong…and something I will never understand. And I want to apologize on behalf of my race because it is NO DOUBT a dark period in American history and many, many, many of us wish we could go back and correct it. So even though, these are the sins of our fathers that we are still paying for…they are sins nonetheless.
But we are back to the same argument that we have every couple of years. I could lay it out for you…the black argument and then the white argument…point for point about why there is still suffering in the black community, but you have already heard that in every other article, post, comment section (most of us still have a problem thinking before we type), and interview out there. Both sides have very differing opinions on what the problem actually is…and it doesn’t seem that many people are changing their minds.
And you might be able to change some behavior with laws and marches (minus the rioting and looting that is nothing but destructive) and angry cries for “Justice”, but can you change hearts that way? I think the answer is “No”. And racism is a heart issue.
It’s why Jesus had to come. God set forth the just way to live before Him and people couldn’t measure up to it. So you know what He sent to earth? He sent Mercy. He sent forgiveness.
Until we can bring mercy and forgiveness into the conversation, nothing will change. NOTHING.
If every time a seemingly race triggered event occurs, you have a whole list of wrongs that come up in your heart and give way to anger and rage, you have not forgiven.
If every time a seemingly race triggered event occurs, you write it off as a culture problem of the African American community, you have not shown mercy.
If you are still blaming your lot in life on white people, you have not extended forgiveness.
If you are still assuming that the lot in life of every black people is their own fault, you have not extended mercy.
If you walk around with a chip on your shoulder that causes you to believe that everything around you is race driven, you have not offered forgiveness.
If you believe that nothing around you or in you is race driven therefore you ignore the hurting cries of those around you, you have not offered mercy.
We ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We ALL have a responsibility before God to use any privilege that we have been given to further advance the Kingdom. To whom much is given, much is required. We, as Christians, have a race to run and the prize is not fairness…it is Mercy. We don’t want justice… and definitely not our earthly kind.
Life isn’t fair. It’s not. We are dealt a hand of which we are not always in control. I met a woman today who told me that she was born with cerebal palsy. From elementary school, teachers told her how she would never amount to anything…over and over they told her that she was nothing. Today she is married with 3 children. She works, she drives, she goes to church, she does so many things that people assured her she could not do. She holds no bitterness in her heart towards her attempted captivity. “Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.” She has overcome.
We don’t get to choose our color, but rest assured God chose your color on purpose. He has a plan for it, if you will let it be used for His glory. God doesn’t do assembly lines when He creates life…each living, breathing thing that he creates is unique and irreplaceable. There will never be another one of you!
So whatever that means in your situation and circumstance KNOW He didn’t make a mistake. He didn’t short change you. He didn’t give you too much. He made you exactly perfectly for the part you need to play in the Kingdom. And it is out of that context that He asks you to show mercy to those around you.
“For judgment is without mercy to the one who hasn’t shown mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” James 2:13