I confess: I have been naive most of my life to what other races go through. I did not understand the reality that a movement called Black Lives Matter actually needs to be taken seriously. I’ve let myself live in disbelief and distraction… you name it, but I just didn’t get it.
I have always valued mankind and believed that we are all created in the image of Christ, but the problem is that I didn’t see life through the eyes of anyone who may have different skin tones than myself. I also confess that I didn’t see how the life I had, gave me such an advantage or head start to the path of success. It didn’t make sense in my brain that pigmentation should mean anything different but just because I thought that, doesn’t mean others live with that same mindset. I didn’t see how being in the majority meant I didn’t need to look behind my back or wonder if others thought bad about me just by my appearance the way I now know others do. It’s time to open our eyes.
I love America: Land of the free, home of the brave. As we recently reflected on this past Monday, our freedom was not free. It has come by the sacrifice of those with all different backgrounds and races. Many who, as men of color, had to work even harder just to get the chance to lay down their life for their country. Why would someone do that? Do you think those same men and women who fought for freedom would be willing to do it again, knowing how we treat each other in 2020? We are not honoring their sacrifice by the way we live. We must do better.
I saw this video maybe a year ago as part of a sermon series at my church and oh how I wish I would have seen it when I was a teenager. What matters is, now that I have seen it, how am I going to change?
Yesterday I saw another video that will again, forever change me. One that has brought me to tears, broken my heart and made me sick to my stomach ever since I watched it. Hearing a man plead “I can’t breathe” with Oxygen he did not have any to spare of, and being treated with such disrespect, incivility, indignity and all other things too unimaginable for words. And worse, by someone who is given a responsibility to serve and protect, someone that should be trustworthy – this has forever changed me. My heart breaks for those who knew George Floyd, only miles away from my home. My heart breaks for my friends, my patients, my co-workers, my fellow church members, my old classmates, and my neighbors who have never known or felt the same freedom and security that living in America has meant to me and should mean for them too. My heart breaks for men and women in the police force that do show love and respect to all mankind but may somehow be linked to these heinous acts of fellow law enforcement. My heart breaks for how I have been blind to this for so long.
I wonder what can I do differently to create more change in America. One thing that I know will happen: when my children are at an appropriate age, they will know the fact that they have both parents who love each other and love them may not be the same for their classmates and friends. Getting tucked in bed and told, “I love you” is not what happens to all kids in their school or on their sports teams. They will understand that the cards they have been dealt in this life puts them at an advantage and it is not by their actions; just like those who are less fortunate are not in that place because of anything they have done. And most importantly, that God loves everyone the same and we are to treat all others with love, gentleness, respect, and dignity – the way Christ did over and over again – to the Samaritans, the Gentiles, and anyone who condemned him. How did He do this? Through conversations, acceptance and love.
And this is one thing that will also change in my life – having more intentional conversations. Conversations can spark change. Hearing stories (like this one) from what it’s like to not be white in America, letting others know that they are seen and heard, this is what I can change and what can lead to change.
I personally am not at a place where I can ask God to bless America. I can give Him no reason to. We don’t deserve blessing, just like we don’t deserve His love at all. The prayer I will be praying is, “God send revival to America; God lead America to repentance; and God CHANGE America.”
You may have seen 1 John 3:17-18 at the end of the video from above (and if you didn’t watch it yet and you are still reading… please watch it). Here are the surrounding verses also worth reading.
11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.
Have Courage, Be Kind, & Let Your Light Shine,
~ Lindsey Alaine