I am heartbroken.
Right down to my bone. Soul-shaking, painfully heartbroken. So much violence all around.
Yes, we have lived in a country where it was easier to be white. Growing up, I did not always feel the privilege but I saw a lot of injustice and inequality on those that were my friends and neighbors who were not white.
A few times I was brave enough to stand up against it. It grieved me even though I did not fully comprehend the weight of it. My naivete found me out on numerous occasions. Like the time I worked in a small town and wanted to go to this certain place for lunch with my friends because it was on the town square one block from where we worked. My black friend informed me that he couldn't go. I thought he meant that he was too busy. There I stood for 15 minutes arguing that he was coming along no matter what he had to do before he gently made it clear that he could not go because he was not allowed in that establishment. I was shocked that in 1995 such atrocities still existed. When i decided to pitch a fit and come up with a plan to do something about it, he once again calmly told me that it would be better for him and me if I just forgot the whole thing and kept quiet.
Somewhere down the line before America became a country, we lost sight of something much more valuable.
I agree that we need to dialogue about the past, we need to know history and we need to repent as a nation but let us not forget that the hurts that drive us today are mostly the ones that have recently wounded us.
I grew up seeing children who had no father in their life and a mother that was too busy and stressed to have time for mothering. Domestic abuse was common in the projects I lived in and it did not matter what color you were when you called the police there. They always came too late and had too little to offer. As kids we fought and beat each other up fiercely because it was what we knew. It did not matter that you hurt someone. And, deeply rooted in us was the idea that it did not matter if someone hurt you.
IF my hope is in my country with liberty and justice for all, then, yes, I suppose we should be let down. It is a shamble of a hot mess. It is true that in 1776 America was declaring independence while a lot of people in America were not free. But is my hope in America??? Is my hope in my skin??? Is my hope in who wins the election or how many people protest????
Jesus is the only hope. He came to transcend barriers and boundaries and say that true freedom is possible even if we are in earthly captivity. He protested sin and death and won! He came to say that Grace and Mercy were far better to attain than anything we think we need to pursue.
And when you get right down to the nitty gritty, July 4th is not my personal independence day. It is the celebration of the country I live in but I was enslaved to sin until April 1997. This is of far greater impact because it opened the door for me to fully realize that life matters. All lives. Black, white, yellow, red. Big, small. In the womb or out. Criminal or law abiding. ALL LIVES. Jesus died for every life. Every life has value because the Creator innately puts it there.
A hurt and wounded world needs this understanding. We need patience and love. We need a time to cry and time to heal and a time to move forward in Truth.
Jesus laid down His life in love to restore us and unite us in Him so that we have one Father. That's family in my book.
I can't change the color of my skin God gave me but I can choose not to pick up the stick that the world keeps laying down and telling me to use to draw a division. We do not need to draw any more divisions and thicken the boundary lines between our differences. Goodness knows that we can trip over flat ground without putting obstacles in the way too.
I cannot change the hearts of those around me but I can speak Truth and love others without limitation. I can recognize when someone is hurting and possibly erase a boundary line in the way. I can offer help and even more than that I can tell how to attain true freedom because the suffering of this world is not the end of hope. Every broken heart can be mended in light of this Truth and even broken countries.
Pro-Lives - any color, any size; worthy of the greatest sacrifice.