The first time I wrote this I started with, "I don't know where to start" but then I wrote like 2 pages of stuff that the internet deleted. So now I kind of know where to start and finish, but I'm frustrated that I have to write it again because my feelings are more developed and less raw now. However, I'm going to try and write it all over again because it's something I believe needs to be written.
Maybe you aren't aware of what has been going down in Charlottesville, VA lately, so I'll start with a quick summary. I think it was back in February, the city voted to take down a General Lee statue in "Lee Park" and rename it "Emancipation Park". This decision spurred the anger of many white-nationalists, in turn making Charlottesville one of the most racially tense places in America.
This weekend people (members of the KKK, alt-right, white-nationalists etc) came in from all over the country to protest the removal of the Lee statue, for a rally called "Unite the Right". Counter-protesters have come together in much larger groups any time these racist groups have assembled to let them know that their racism and hate is not welcome in this country. As the crowds packed the streets, someone in a gray Dodge Challenger sped through the crowd, hitting several counter-protesters before slamming into two other cars. As far as I know a 32 year old woman lost her life, and over 20 others were seriously injured by the impulsive attack.
I don't post political things on the internet because I'd rather not give someone reason to dislike me before they get to know me personally. However, I will stand up for what is right and against what is wrong. Somehow, the line between politics and the treatment of humanity has become blurred, so let me clear it up a bit in this case.
Hatred and violence against humanity is always wrong. Plain and simple.
Yesterday morning I sat in church and listened to a great sermon. Typically, great sermons talk about God's love for humanity, and how that love will change the way we love each other. I love those sermons! But honestly, I don't remember much about the sermon, because when I got home my thoughts were much more consumed by what happened in Virginia than what I had learned in church. The more I thought about it, the more I felt like I had spent my morning learning about Jesus while these counter-protesters in Charlottesville were actually being Jesus. Let me explain:
Being a Christian means simply to be a follower of Christ. It means to walk in His footsteps. To treat others the way He would treat them. To love the unloved and defend the defenseless. It means we are to stand up for love in direct opposition to hate. As children of a God whose law is unwavering and whose love is infinitely unconditional, we are to be extensions of those virtues to a world in desperate need of them.
So as I was literally sitting down in a pew, learning about this God of love and justice, there was a multitude of people literally standing up for it in a street as if they were bowling pins as a hate-fueled sports car came barreling through their protest.
I'm definitely not saying we should all quit going to church and replace it with any protest or social justice rally we can find. However, when there are people so blatantly mistreated in our communities and we don't stand up for them while call ourselves Christians, we are taking God's name in vain AND lying!
Here's the deal; I fully recognize that we live in a world full of gray area, and it's difficult to know what to boldly stand against and what not to. However, what happened yesterday is easy! There are groups and organizations today who still ostracize, demonize, and marginalize other human beings based on the color of their skin. This is wrong and as Christians we shouldn't be quiet in calling it for what it is.
I don't care if their reasons are justifiable or not, if someone simply FEELS mistreated, hurt, rejected, less-than, persecuted, or simply lonely, then as Christians we should be the FIRST to treat them with kindness, to give them healing, acceptance, value, safety and companionship.
While I believe this post applies to everyone in the world, regardless of their faith, I'm looking at myself and my fellow Christians first. We don't have time to sit around and wait for it to affect us directly. If evil, hatred, and violence is in our country, it is in our community. We must overcome evil with good. We must stand up for love in the face of hate.
Jesus set the perfect example of liberating the oppressed. We have to stop pretending like there is no opportunity to follow it.