As Christians we are called to live out the gospel of Jesus by loving as he loved. This love manifests not only in the gentler admonitions to peace, patience, and gentleness but also in the model of righteous indignation that Jesus demonstrated in his anger over exploitation in the temple courts.
The complexity of this issue can be paralyzing for many Christians, especially white Christians who may not know what to say or how to react, but in the face of injustice silence is often interpreted as acceptance, and acceptance of injustice is wrong. That is why it is imperative that we teach our children how to become the change our nation desperately needs.
Examining the life of Jesus offers the chance to apply his wisdom to our current circumstances.
We need to listen well
Throughout the gospels, Jesus demonstrates a model of listening to the marginalized. The leper, the woman at the well, and the blind beggar all testify that Jesus took the time to see people for who they were and not for how they were labeled by society. I had the privilege of spending time with some incredible Christian school colleagues this past week from the African-American and Asian-American communities as they shared personal stories and insights, and I was shaken by their personal stories of being spit on, belittled, and targeted because of their race. Despite these injustices, they were thankful for the Holy Spirit in their lives and expressed their hope that Christian educators will learn to listen, respond, and enact change. It is a deep-seeded human need to be heard, to be seen, and to be understood. Let us learn how to listen intently to the experience of others and approach these conversations with a humble spirit of respect and honor.
We need to hurt for those who hurt
Jesus taught us to hurt for those who are hurting. When Jesus wept with Mary and Martha, he demonstrated his sorrow for a hurting world. He demonstrated this empathy because he felt the sorrow himself. When we survey the scene and observe the pain of our fellow Americans, how can we not feel this pain ourselves and take the time to acknowledge the agony of their experience? Let us feel the pain of our fellow human beings and express compassion for a community that has endured tremendous suffering.
We need to teach our children
Jesus spent his ministry years teaching, and when you survey the gospels, the message of every story he told and every action he took supported what he said in Matthew 22:37-39, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind, this is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is just like it: love your neighbor as yourself.” As African-American NFL player Benjamin Watson said, “this issue is not about skin, it’s about sin.” Our human imperfection manifests in countless ways, and racism and discrimination are iterations of sin that fail to uphold the first and second greatest commandments to love as Jesus loved. Let us talk to our children about all manners of injustice (and at this moment, especially racial injustice) within the context of our faith so we create a future generation of leaders that will change sinful patterns by their own Christ-like actions and civic engagement.
My prayer is that as members of the CVCS family, we will Be the Difference by following the model of our King, by loving people well and creating a society in which all people are honored as equal children of our Creator.