On Sunday and Monday my Facebook news feed blew up.
Of course, everyone had an opinion about the much publicized and politicized court case from Florida that had finally ended late Saturday night in a not guilty verdict for George Zimmerman. Few of the opinions were intelligent enough to warrant reflection on my part. Most just expressed pent up frustration and anger, pointed in blame or cried out for justice. It would not surprise you in the least to know the opinions from my group of friends were basically split along political and racial lines.
I was not alive in 1960s America when the years of racial tension finally exploded and produced the civil rights legislation that changed the face of America and gave an entire subset of American citizens a new reason to dream. I can’t relate to the level of violence that was present in that era. I only know what I see now in 2013 and from my vantage point, it doesn’t appear as though this country is progressing in a more unifying direction. And that’s a shame after 237 years of freedom.
I live in a diverse area and teach at an equally diverse private school. I see the differences acted out in the various racial groups every day. The white culture is different from the black culture, as both are different from Hispanic, Asian and so forth. The fact these differences exist are a fact of life and not debatable. Each day, they serve as a subtle and beautiful reminder to the creativity and diversity of the God who created us all.
Our failure rests in focusing on these differences rather than our similarities, our strengths and our needs. We observe each other and silently say, “They are not like me.” Then we proceed to take a huge mental leap and project an absurd thought, “Because they are not like me, they must not like me, and must have it in for me.” So we never connect, never learn, and never truly appreciate one another.
What’s the path to healing for our country? It won’t be the courts and it won’t be found in the political arena. It won’t be from ignoring one another. And it certainly won’t happen as we selfishly pursue our own needs and agendas.
Nothing short of a spiritual revival in the hearts of people can heal the racial divide that separates us. It will require the handiwork of an almighty God who, incidentally, is not a respecter of race or color. He is a loving God who cares for all his creation equally and, in the pages of the Bible, urges us to live as peaceably as possible with all men.
Our country’s heritage rests in the premise that all individuals are created equal and have value. When will we care enough to wake up and remember that?
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