That fear of retaliation is at the core of the gun debate…it’s why hate groups have found a safe haven in those institutions initially created to hunt slaves and why the FBI has never referred to the KKK as a terrorist group but recently labeled those peacefully protesting the violence against black bodies “black identity extremists” and warned that police attacks on black Americans could spur “premeditated, retaliatory lethal violence” against the police.
It’s a fear that’s rooted in fantasy, not reality, and yet has resulted in real oppression, real harassment, and real deaths.
“What a world this will be when human possibilities are freed, when we discover each other, when the stranger is no longer the potential criminal and the certain inferior!” ~ W. E. B. Du Bois
You would think a career criminal turned crusading Christian might have some compassion for the children brought here illegally by parents seeking a better life…but you would be wrong. As I recently discovered, like many evangelicals, this former drug dealer is practicing the religion of white supremacy.
I wonder how he would feel if his children had to bear the consequences of HIS criminal activity…
“Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?” Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.” Matthew 22: 36-40
I saw a post from a fellow, former military member who was tired of seeing posts about race. What privilege it is to be tired of READING about race…to be exhausted from SEEING images of people harassed, arrested and murdered because of their skin color…to be weary of HEARING about race-based religious persecution.
Maybe instead of wishing the marginalized in America would accept their status and keep their persecution to themselves, those who aren’t having the same experiences could exercise a little empathy and effect some change.
“Don’t just stand by when your neighbor’s life is in danger…” Leviticus 19:16, MSG
Have you ever watched someone you’re close to make a stupid choice and wondered, “Why can’t she see this is NOT going to turn out well?”
I’ve done that…and then I remember the stupid thing I did when I didn’t pay attention to my accountability partners or my own inner knowing…my God voice whispering, then shouting… “Don’t. Do It!”
And I work on being a little more compassionate…
“It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt?” Matthew 7: 3-4 MSG
We often want behavior from others that we are unwilling to offer. We ask for respect for our beliefs about life, but judge contrary philosophies as bizarre. We expect forgiveness for our “accidental” harmful actions and words but never let others forget that they intentionally and deliberately hurt us. We demand love but aren’t loveable.
We can’t get what we don’t give…make withdrawals where we haven’t made deposits…reap what we haven’t sown…
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Mathew 7:12
Today I am grateful for the resurrection that gave hope to the hopeless. In this season of renewal in the midst of confusion and fear, I am praying for sufficient strength to be hopeful, effective faith to believe, and enough compassion to be loving…