This country saw grace yesterday. They saw forgiveness, faith and the community coming together...but most of all we witnessed that God, and only God can create something so beautiful out of something so ugly.
My heart aches. Not just for Wed evenings events but for the pain and suffering that so many African Americans face...yet it's their faith and love we saw yesterday. The power of the almighty was clearer in a way on social media and the news than I have ever seen. We saw people not professing their faith...rather we saw them living it.
I grew up in a gang neighborhood in Chicago. Our neighborhood was 50% African American and would have been higher if not for our church and most of its members living in the neighborhood. I don't say this to qualify myself but to explain
In 1994 (ish) at the height of Promise Keepers, our church, mostly white, decided to bring in several African American Pastors to try and integrate our worship so that our neighbors would attend. This led pretty quickly to the church wanting to explore racial reconciliation. Well as it turned out, most of the white people didn't want to hear it and wouldn't acknowledge the pain as if their pain was "something that was ancient."
I learned a few things during this time and also developed a theory. That theory is that everyone carries prejudices, thats unavoidable, its when the power is taken away from a race that determines racism. IE...we all have prejudicial thoughts but its taking action on those that turns it into racism. Action can be passive or aggressive but I don't believe White People really understand
So...here are some myths that end up becoming racist
1) Reverse Discrimination. Oh please thats silly. To discriminate you need to be in power (White) and in control of setting societal norms (again white people) African Americans, outside of random moments, are not capable of reverse discrimination as they have no real power.
2) Black people are not willing to work hard and pull themselves up. Again silly. What hope does an inner city kid have? What dreams? Go raise your kids in their neighborhood before we make those judgement's.
3) Much of this poverty, drugs, etc...are the fault of minorities. People who feel this way may be unreachable...they may be so far gone that their beliefs will hopefully die out as generations pass.
While I may not have agreed unilaterally with all I learned during this time but a few things rang so true that 20 years later I still believe it
1) Vast majority of White people have never been shadowed in a Wal Mart...for being white but the reverse is normal
2) While we can share the pain and tears we can't truly empathize with African Americans as we don't walk in their shoes. If we did experience what they do daily...we wouldn't have racism. That's pretty messed up in and of its own.
So to the family and friends of Charleston, to the family and friends of those that face racism, being shot in their own neighborhood etc....your ability to forgive has been and will be blessed by God I have no doubt. I share your pain, I love each and everyone of you and think of you as my brothers and sisters in Christ.
Every day we wake up is the first day of the rest of our lives, make sure to tell those you love that you love them everyday as sometimes that day is the last of our life. I was especially touched by the family members talking about their family being built on love and that they will not allow hate to win and that's because Jesus conquered the grave