Really, I have no words worth reading, on the subject of the hatred and murder that we’ve witnessed today, in Charlottesville, VA.
All eyes have turned to this state that I live in last night and today, as a “Unite the Right” rally was held by so-called “white nationalists” and other alt-right and far right groups.
And, I almost didn’t write any words, as I’ve read news story after news story, about the evil white supremacist (calling it what it is, folks) rally held last night and today, and the violence that has led to the death now of 3 individuals, and has left several others injured.
Instead I’ve cleaned house, walked/ran 5 miles, studied for a certification test, cleaned house some more, walked some more, ate too much—all while my heart and soul and stomach have churned, and I’ve tried not to write about this because, really, what difference does my words make on a day like today?
I’m white, living in a safe neighborhood. I have never experienced racism or hatred against me. I have never feared for my life, based on the color of my skin. I have dear, dear friends who have lived in this terror, but I personally have no idea what that feels like.
I’m not a police officer, or the family member of one. I have dear friends who are, but I have never experienced fear for my life, as I tried to protect protesters and counter protesters alike, on horrific days like today–and I’ve never had someone come to my door to tell me that my loved one died in the line of duty.
I’m not a politician, charged with the responsibility of leading a nation, state county or city.
I’m not a historian, armed with the knowledge of the sins of our past.
I’m not a journalist, with a first-hand view of the sins of our present.
I’m not a teacher, with the responsibility of teaching this nation’s children that all hatred is wrong.
I’m not a theologian, charged with the duty of teaching the scriptural doctrine of God’s love for all people, without qualifications.
I’m not a pastor, with the weighty responsibility of standing in a pulpit tomorrow morning, and declaring to their congregation scriptural truth, regarding the sanctity of all human life, and proclaiming that racism is evil.
I’m only a mom of four kids, living in a small house, with a dog named Biscuit. I have no words of worth to add to the rhetoric being poured out about the events in Charlottesville today.
And so I almost didn’t write about this–I tried not to write about this–yet here I am, writing about it.
Because writing is how I process life in this world.
And because I am a mom of four young adults.
And one of the most frightening things I saw today, in the picture of the alt-right/far right-wing groups gathered today for their “Unite the Right” so-called “rally”, was just how young they looked, standing there last night, with their ridiculous, mosquito-repellant back deck porch “torches”.
What scared me about their youthfulness is this: they have long lives ahead of them, to perpetuate this evil, unless we–all of us–all ethnic groups, police, politicians, historian, journalists, teachers, theologians, preachers–and moms–and dads–and grandparents–do not stand up to these privileged white “children”, and tell them, “No.”
No, we will not let you promote your evil agendas.
No, we will not sugar coat it.
No, we will not dismiss it as you “exercising your right to protest”.
We must call it for what it is–racism–and stand up to it. Peacefully, because violence only begets violence–but firmly. Unwaveringly. Steadfastly.
How does the act of reassuring fit into the mix of what our response should be, as evangelical Christians?
Because, we are called to share hope with the world–all of the world. And that hope is truly the only reassuring and healing salve to the gaping wounds that are being inflicted by evil.
That presentation of that hope is not a weak response, in the face of racism. Instead, that hope is found only in the love of Christ, who laid down His life as a sacrifice for our sins.
That is not weak.
That is strength that we can not even begin to understand.
And, that hope–the hope of this mighty Gospel–is not a hope for “all sides”, because in the shadow of the cross, there are no sides.
So while it may seem as if there is nothing I can do to help defeat this evil, I know that is not truth.
I can teach my young adults what love for all looks like–and encourage them to grow up to be the exact opposite of the young adults who stood in Charlottesville with their torches, chanting white supremacy slogans. And strongly admonish them, should they ever display anything except love and respect for all people.
I can pray real prayer–not only for those who suffer from the throes of racism, but also for those who embrace such hatred, because they suffer as well, from something dark and sinister that may ultimately lead to an eternal suffering for which there is no description.
I can stand with those who fight injustice and evil, in any way that I can.
I can stand against injustice and evil in any form. I can stand firmly and resolutely against all white supremacy behaviors, and any acts of racism, no matter the form it takes.
And I can deliberately share the hope of the Gospel, and offer the reassuring salve of healing that Jesus procured for us when He died upon the cross, and I can demonstrate this hope through obedience to the words Jesus spoke, found in John 13:34-35:
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Some folks that I respect greatly, have shared words today that far more accurately express the truth of the hope of the Gospel, in light of today’s events in Charlottesville. I’d like to share them here, for your consideration, because they have captured this hope, and our responsibility to share that hope, better than I ever could:
From Matt Chandler:
In all of this, for the black and the white (and every other color), our only hope is the gospel. Until there is an acknowledgement of privilege and repentance for discrimination, the kingdom and what God has purchased for us in Christ isn’t going to be displayed and lives are still going to be destroyed. It’s systemic, historic and horrific. Might we be men and women with calloused hands and knees as we seek the Lord for racial reconciliation. -Matt Chandler
From Al Mohler:
“Racial superiority in any form, and white superiority as the central issue of our concern, is a heresy. The separation of human beings into ranks of superiority and inferiority differentiated by skin color is a direct assault upon the doctrine of Creation and an insult to the imago Dei—the image of God in which every human being is made. Racial superiority is also directly subversive of the gospel of Christ, effectively reducing the power of his substitutionary atonement and undermining the faithful preaching of the gospel to all persons and to all nations.”
From John Piper:
The bloodline of Jesus is thicker, deeper, stronger than the bloodline of race, ethnicity and family.
For God so loved the world, that He gave his one and only son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)