What do you see in the picture of the little girl? She is 25% Hispanic. She is 50% African American. She is 25% unknown. I see my granddaughter. Her name is Beautiful. I certainly didn’t pick it, but perhaps it is fitting.
In this day, dealing with diversity is not an option it’s a necessity. The number one adjective being spoken today, at least nationally and on social media, is the word “racist”. The question, according to the world view, is not whether something or someone is racist, it is simply to what extent is it or them racist. Some would express, me included, that the rhetoric and expression around this has reached unthinkable levels of absurdity, as in banning Pepe’ Le Pew cartoons or Dr. Suess books. However, the reality is that racism in various ways exists, always has and unfortunately always will in the human condition.
Whatever we think or feel about the current state of racism, it’s affects, realities, political uses, etc. the fact is we must all address it. In our communities, our businesses, our workplaces and most importantly in our own hearts.
In a recent leadership meeting we were addressing our organizations efforts for inclusion and diversity. One of our coworkers spoke about the angst he felt in often being the only African American person in the room. Personally, I was shocked as were many others. Having worked with him for years I saw him as a friend, coworker and brother in Christ. I did not see him as a person of color. He spoke of the hardships and events in his life being black. Things I have never experienced. It left me uneasy with what I could do. Contemplating what is the right thing to do?
In James 1 it says that if any of you lack wisdom ask God in faith, without doubt and it will be given. In asking him this I was directed immediately back to Jesus’s great commandment in Matthew 22: 35-40; “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your soul and with all of your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself”. The right thing to do. Love your neighbor. Be proactive in loving those different than you. In this we need to make love a verb, an action. Reach out, embrace, share the unconditional love that God has shown us.
In Oswald Chambers’ writings I was struck by something that I believe is applicably in our efforts to express love to others. Chambers wrote, “The saint who satisfies the heart of Jesus will make other saints strong and mature for God. But the people used to strengthen are never those who sympathize with us; in fact, we are hindered by those who give us their sympathy, because sympathy only serves to weaken us”. The definition of sympathy is a feeling of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune. Do we help heal a person by pounding on the wound? No. We can help the healing process through love and empathy.
The definition of empathy is to understand and share the feelings of another. When we express empathy we can listen, then we can express love. Through empathy, love your neighbor. Listen to their story, listen to their pain. Let them know God loves them, and you love them. Stand beside them, take their hand as a brother or sister, and walk forward together.
Great mesage, Bert.
Love doesn’t see color or race or skinny people or fat people or tall people or short people or loud people or quiet people or rich people or poor people or educated people or uneducated people or religious people or unreligious people or nice people or mean people – it cuts through it all and sees God’s creation. Everything he made He said was good. He was pleased. We are called to love everybody because He first loved us. The greatest thing we can do is love like Jesus. Even when He was being falsey accused and persecuted for something He didn’t do, He said nothing. When He hung on the cross, HE forgave the thief even though he could do nothing for Jesus in that moment. Jesus’s last words demonstrated His love for the world when He prayed out-loud and asked the Father to forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.
If only we could love as sacrificially as Jesus.
We need to be the feet of Jesus’s love and take it to the world one person at a time.