“The world is a dangerous place. Not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”Albert Einstein
These past few weeks have shaken our world to the core. Every week has exposed another level of injustice opening many blind eyes to unseen pain. For those of us who are black, theres no eye opener, but the scab has been abruptly pulled off and the wound is once again raw and agitated. For the rest of us, brown, asian and white, our eyes are being opened and we are on a learning curve. As a brown person I have been beaten for the color of my skin. I have been followed in stores, called names, and even thrown out of the country because I am different. Yet, I do not carry 400 years of pain, abuse and sorrow. My people have suffered, but not the same. I don’t live in fear of my son being shot in the streets as has happened too many black parents. I haven’t seen thousands of men who look like me beaten, lynched, falsely accused and abused. I don’t carry the scars of a black person in America. I have gotten glimpses of a world of hurt and pain placed on blacks, from friends, from movies and a few experiences. But to my shame I have never dived in, protested, marched or even leaned in.
“Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.”
When they were going to pass a law that would keep most hispanics from college, I as a young radical organized marches. When they were trying to pass laws that kept immigrants from using hospitals, libraries or schools, my wife and I marched and protested. When they started separating immigrant children from their moms and put those children in cages, my kids and I marched and protested. I even went and visited the children to tell them God loved them. But what about African Americans ? Why didn’t I protest or march for them? The truth is that there is no good answer, except the shameful recognition that it wasn’t important enough to me personally. I kept an emotional distance and didn’t let it hurt me as it should have. I didn’t care enough to get out there and do something about it. I remained silent and did nothing. That is shameful and very hard for me to admit. It’s not who I think I am in this world, but I am guilty, shame on me.
“Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
I am deeply sorry for this behavior on my part. Remaining silent and doing nothing is disgusting and cowardly. It means I have been part of the problem all these years instead of being part of the solution. I have been the guy who said “keep warm and well fed” and did nothing to help! So I repent. Why do I repent ? Because God called me to be a voice for the poor and the oppressed. I failed to do that for my black brothers and sisters. I failed even though they are my friends and family. Shame on me. I will therefore repent and be a voice, I will speak up and plead, I will defend and I will be there. Your cause is my cause! Why?, because I love my family from all backgrounds and races. My love was not strong enough to defend and uphold, but that changes now. If one of us is hurting all of us are hurting, I am hurting. I will not tolerate racism, prejudice or favoritism of anyone anywhere anytime and especially in the church.
Matthew 12: 48-50
He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
Who is my mother, my brother and my sister? Jesus said whoever does the will of my father in heaven is my mother, brother and sister. What this change really means is loving my family of all colors, ethnicities, genders in a far deeper and greater way. It means showing no favoritism and loving everyone as a valuable human being made in the image of God loved by Jesus. It means if my brother is hurt then I am hurt. When Jesus saw Mary and Martha weeping he wept. Not for Lazarus, but for them. He shared their pain. I am committed to loving all my family with all of my heart. That may sound altruistic, but it is what Jesus did. He loved everybody completely and was committed to us all. He treated us all like family. He died for us all. That is how I choose to live.
To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
I realize even as I write this that some will criticize me for saying these things. Some people “Get it” and some people just don’t “get it” now, but will later. Some will never “get it”, because they don’t really want to. I don’t know how much “I get it,” but I get enough to want to change and want to see the world change. I choose to be the change I want to see in the world. I will not just talk justice, I will do justice. I am living up to my commitment to speak up, defend and do righteousness, I have much more to share much more to say and more to do.
June 19, 2020