Leadership Thought: A Question We Must All Answer.
This is a powerful message on the racial divide written by a contributor to a daily devotional I receive from former player and major league manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates Clint Hurdle. I hope you will take the time to read it.
Yours in faith and friendship
See article below
A Question We MUST AnswerJune 17
This has been an emotional and difficult week for most Americans. I am old enough to remember a similar period of turmoil in the late ’60’s. It is truly heartbreaking that fifty years later we are still plowing the same fields of prejudice and racism.President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law, with Martin Luther King, Jr., looking on. Johnson had a quote that we hoped would be prophetic. “At times history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man’s unending search for freedom.”
Maybe there is still a chance for history and fate to join with the faith of millions of followers of Jesus to shape a turning point in our culture. Maybe the unnecessary deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd will galvanize our collective hearts in a way that can be transformative. Hear out pleas Lord that you will redeem these horrible deaths to bring you Glory and your people together.
In my lifetime I have never seen such such intense introspection among the white community about racism. It feels like God has shown us in this time of isolation, fear, and tragic news how desperately we need to unify in the power of the Spirit. I see more of my white brothers and sisters having substantive conversations without the customary push back and defensiveness. I believe we have a window where God can move in the hearts of millions of His children to make this a moment of change.
But you can rest assured the enemy will do everything in his power to thwart the moving of God’s Spirit. Satan will distract us with issues that keep us from healing. He will point out the bad behavior of a few so we won’t explore the pain of millions. It is time to move past rationalizations and excuses. It is time to hear the stories of black brothers and sisters without trying to offer our “take”. It is time to listen. It is time to try and feel the pain of rejection our black friends have experienced for no reason other than skin color. It is time to understand why the #black lives matter movement does not mean that only black lives matter. That was never the point. This explanation from Doug Williford puts a helpful context on the phrase.“If my spouse comes to me in obvious pain and asks “Do you love me?”, an answer of “I love everyone” would be truthful, but also hurtful and cruel in the moment. If a co-worker comes to me upset and says “My father just died,” a response of “Everyone’s parents die,” would be truthful, but hurtful and cruel in the moment. So when a friend speaks up in a time of obvious pain and hurt and says “Black lives matter,” a response of “All lives matter,” is truthful. But it’s hurtful and cruel in the moment.”
I have also had to wrestle with what white privilege means. As a child of Appalachia it was hard for me to comprehend what “privilege” I had. I was the first Burchett male to graduate from high school for heavens sake. But the phrase doesn’t mean that a white hillbilly like me won’t have challenges. It simply means I start out with an inherent advantage. It is not a statement of condemnation toward whites. It is just a societal fact.
So let’s affirm to our black brothers and sisters that black lives definitely matter. Let’s acknowledge there is a cultural advantage to being white. Let’s call racism what it is and by
it’s name. Sin. Let’s stop being silent out of fear that we might offend someone. Let’s stand boldly with our black brothers and sisters.
The Apostle John has a hard truth for followers of Jesus.
If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers. 1 John 4:20-21
I don’t see a single qualifier about what that believer looks like or acts like.
We are commanded by Jesus to love one another.
This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. John 15:12
Maybe it is time we understood that is not a helpful suggestion or really cool goal. That is a commandment. And yes, that command is impossible apart from focusing on Jesus. It means jumping headfirst into the fountain of grace. Grace that forgave me and you when we deserved anything but that free gift.
My fear is that the white community will determine to make a difference and then simply let that conviction slip away when life returns to some semblance of normalcy. I see it all the time. Someone dies and we determine to live more fully. That lasts a few days. Our black brothers and sisters need us to dig in for the long haul. We need to produce action and not hot air. Again John hits with a hard truth. Truth is revealed by our actions.
Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. 1 John 3:18-19
The question will not be were you challenged? The question will be were you changed? We are the hands and feet of Jesus and we have a cultural moment to make a difference. Paul has the game plan.
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21So how will you answer the question? Merely challenged or changed in the power of His grace?
Make a difference today,
2 Corinthians 4:17-18