Recent current events around the tragic death of George Floyd have caused a lot of literal and figurative fires. When the smoke eventually clears though, we’re left with two choices for combating racism: 1) love God and love each other and 2) hold each other accountable. If we’re being honest, there have only ever been two choices, but it’s an apt time we remind ourselves of what they are.
Love God and Love Each Other
Scripture is very clear that we should love God and love each other. In fact, this duty is so tantamount to our Christian identity that if we don’t love each other, then scripture says we couldn’t possibly love God.
1 John 4:20 – “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” (NIV)
That verse harkens back to the greatest commandments Jesus spoke about in Mark 12, which says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
If we say we love God so fully and boldly, then we must love each other fully and boldly too. In order to do that, we must genuinely listen to each other. We learn so much more about each other through listening than we do through always trying to talk.
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Likewise, as my pastor says often, we have to get out of the foyer of friendship and into the dining room. Our friendships become more mature and more loving through time and effort. We can’t fast-track this either. We really have to put in the work, particularly when it comes to having friends across racial lines.
Hold Each Other Accountable
We also have to hold each other accountable and be each other’s keeper—especially behind closed doors. This is where white brothers and sisters in Christ have to step up to combat racism. A white supremacists usually isn’t going to purposely share their hateful beliefs with a black person. But they might share their beliefs with other white people when no black people are around. There’s no guarantee a white supremacist will listen to wisdom, but it’s something he, or she needs to consider in their heart. Racism isn’t a skin issue.
Proverbs 19:20 – Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. (NIV)
However, I understand the intimidation. Often times, white supremacist beliefs might not be so blatant. And other times, these evil beliefs might be coming from an employer, a pastor, or trusted family member. In those situations, you may just feel too uncomfortable to speak up. However, I beg you, white friends, to please speak up about racism. Even if it costs you your reputation with that person of influence.