Social media sites are abuzz with varying opinions on the recent death of George Floyd. I’ve read everything from outrage over his senseless murder and the looting and destruction that has followed to outrage over the outrage because it’s not enough to simply be outraged. I’ve read justifications for the violence and rioting that has ensued. I’ve seen countless blame statements pitting one set of beliefs against another. I’ve read people calling for action to end racism in post after post…yet no action is following. I’ve seen hashtags and links to organizations where you can simply cut a check and throw money at this problem as if that is the best we as a society can do. I could go on and on…I’ve done a lot of reading over the past few days. Today, I’d like to offer a different perspective…
If someone were to hand you the perfect solution to this problem in a box with a big red bow on top, what would you be willing to do in order to open that box? What would you be willing to do to bring all of this to an end once and for all? Would you be willing to do what it takes, no questions asked?
To me, the solution to this problem is two-fold; simple but messy.
Let’s take the emotion out of the conversation for just a moment…all of the anger, hatred, disappointment, frustration…all of it. Now we’re left with just the facts.
The fact is that some 2,000 years ago there was a Man who walked the earth who showed us through not only His words but through His example how we were to live if we wanted to be in communion with His Father…at peace in a beautiful peaceful world where there was no hatred and racism and burning of buildings, you get the point. He didn’t judge, He loved everyone unconditionally.
He loved the ones who disagreed with Him the most. He invited them in and prayed with them. He set the example.
He loved the ones who were different from Him the most. He even called on several of them to become His disciples. He set the example.
Through grace, He loved even the worst of sinners and through truth, He helped those same sinners see the error of their ways and make amends. He set the example.
He loved the Jew and the Gentile. He loved the rich and the poor. He comforted the disheartened and celebrated with those who were joyful. He set the example.
So friends, the way I see it, the answer to this problem doesn’t lie in outrage or donations or countless memes on social media. The answer to this problem lies inside each and every one of us and doesn’t cost us a penny. Change has got to begin in our hearts. There is a darkness that is lurking in our society and it gets its power from constant divisiveness and discord. We are feeding this beast and we don’t even realize it.
I challenge everyone who is reading this post to take a moment and look within themselves. Let’s take a look at how we are living our lives every single day. Are we practicing what we were taught by one Jewish Carpenter 2,000 years ago or are we giving into our pride and ego…feeding the beast with our constant need to “score the like and share”…to be validated by the masses? Are we judging others and pointing fingers or are we inviting those we disagree with in for coffee and a friendly discussion? Are we posting angry, hate-filled things for friends and family to read or are we encouraging folks to take positive action in their communities…and then signing up for the same opportunities on our own?
How is this going to help? What’s my point? My point is that in order to end this horrible, disgusting, vile behavior that has us up in arms we have GOT to begin with ourselves. One friend mentioned her frustration in the fact that when she had written a piece for a news outlet some three years ago concerning race issues and Collin Kapernick kneeling for the National Anthem that her statements then could still apply today. That’s because absolutely nothing has changed. We are still the same people we were back then. There has been no growth; no evolution. We’ve remained complacent and stagnant and we are reaping the consequences of our choices.
There are a lot of aspects to all of this that we cannot control much less change, but the one thing we can control is our behavior, our thoughts, our actions, our choices. Imagine if every single person in our country took a few moments each day to think before they spoke, to serve others before themselves, to see the face of Christ in every person that they met…imagine the change that could take place if we simply began by changing ourselves. Here’s where it gets messy.
People don’t like change. People don’t like being told that they are part of the problem because then they are required to do something about it. Change is messy. Change is hard. Change can be super ugly. Change is necessary.
Are you willing to love those whom you disagree with most? Are you willing to stop judging and love unconditionally? Are you willing to see the face of Christ in EVERYONE you meet? Are you willing to change? Are you willing to set aside pride and take up humility? Are you willing to do the work to better yourself even when it gets messy? Are you willing to set the example?
If your answer is yes, then you are ready to open the box. Tear off that big red bow and show the world how this is done. One by one we can bring hatred and violence, racism and discord to a screeching halt. It begins at home, in our hearts. We have got to stop accepting the status quo and believing that we are powerless to bring about change. Positive change begins with one person and spreads like wildfire throughout communities. It’s as contagious as any virus and even more powerful. We must demand this change from ourselves and settle for nothing less.
So the question is simple. How badly do you want to see things change? Enough to step out of your comfort zone and into the light?
I challenge you: Open the box. Set the example. Be the change. Let’s bring an end to all of this once and for all.
It starts with you.
It starts with me.
It ends with us.