A way forward

Dated: 06/03/2020

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Social media is aflame with shame and judgement. I've seen posts castigating white people for not doing more and black people for using violence to protest violence. Most of us have watched from the sidelines. We are horrified at the brutal killing of an innocent man in Minnesota; appalled at the violence and burning we watch on our televisions every night; and unwilling to offer a public opinion on any of it because we know whatever we say will be met with ugly and hateful comments. Most of all, we're heartbroken at the racial division in our country which seems to grow wider with every evening newscast. We thought we were doing better than this. 

I don't pretend to have the solution to our nation's problems, but in praying to God and talking with others from a wide diversity of perspectives, I've come to a place of peace about my response to all that's going on. In summary, here are my commitments: 

1. Don't judge others. Don't judge white people for not doing enough to promote social justice. I don't know what they've done or what they're doing. Not everyone shouts their good deeds from the roof tops. Some work quietly day in and day out building bridges of peace and understanding and equality and their names will never be spoken on the evening news. Don't judge them. Don't judge black people for feeling oppressed and disadvantaged. Our nation has a 400-year history of discrimination which includes a dark period of slavery and an even longer period of Jim Crow laws designed to smother the liberties and aspirations of black people. Even apart from official represssion black people are often subject to personal discriimination and insults that I can't possibly relate to. Don't judge them. 

2. Have compassion for everyone. The travails and challenges of black people are receiving fresh and much-needed publicity. Even when I can't relate to them by personal experience I know that their experiences, feelings, fears and frustrations are real. They need compassion and understanding. That also goes for Hispanics, Asian people, handicapped people, soldiers suffering from PTSD, the eight-year old girl being sexually abused by her uncle, nursing home attendants who change adult diapers all day, single moms struggling to support their kids, fathers working two jobs to send their kids to college, and even white, middle-class males who may be unloved, depressed, and on the verge of suicide. We can't judge anyone by outward appearance and circumstance. We don't know what they're going through or what they've overcome to get where they are. Everyone carries hurts. Everyone has a broken heart. Everyone needs compassion and understanding. 

No, I haven't offered structural solutions for police brutality on one side or looting, burning, and killing police officers on the other side. Those things are too great for me. But here's what I can do, what we all can do: seek humility, love people at every opportunity, and offer sincere prayers to God to change our hearts, forgive our sins, and heal our land. 

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