If our neighbor is not okay we are not okay

I was reading a post from a family member of mine that talked about how much he need to 'unlearn' as it relates to the subject of racism in our country. As certain words do, that one stuck with me.

Unlearning. (Thanks for the reminder Chase Locke.) Undoing. Unraveling. Unpacking. Unbinding. Unbending. Unyielding.

Among the many ‘uns’ that need to be valued, engaged in, let go of, employed, or practiced as it relates the growing conversation on racism and the wounds that our nation carries, I was reminded yesterday of (through a conversation with Daniel Rorie, as well as texting with Tom Ward) these seeds that have been sown and watered for far too many years before by our predecessors, are truly being reaped today by our generation.

While some may feel they have no ownership of the wrongs previously perpetrated against our brothers and sisters - that kind of limited perspective reveals a sickness of soul at work in an individualistic ‘selfie-centered’ worldview - a view that is no worldview at all, as it stops at the border of oneself.

“The reality is, we are stewards of our collective story. We are gardeners that have much to tend to. And we have strolled through this garden far too long, ignoring the seeds that have become weeds that need to be uprooted.”

We are each culpable in our own generation of some level of ignorance or passivity. Even if some of us feel we have done nothing to perpetuate racism, doing nothing about evil is an even harder evil to fight. And it IS evil, to be sure. Passivity on this subject reveals a fear, lack of empathy, compassion, love and understanding of humanity.

Last night, my wife and I watched Just Mercy. And like other films before it on this matter, it broke me - actually, it broke us both. We could not hold back the tears. For every black man or woman who has been unjustly abused, I felt such a heaviness in responsibility.

I saw - in watching both Jamie and Michael getting forcibly face-planted and bent over their vehicles - the officer pressing down on George Floyd’s neck in my mind’s eye, and felt (I am certain only a fraction of) the anger, pain, humiliation and outrage of “white power” so many have felt - and in that, just fell apart. I fervently wanted to lash out from a heart of anger. And yet, there was no outlet for that anger I could find in that moment, which then, just turned to grief.

Some will say that what is going on is not really about racism, but about hate in general - or simply good and evil, law and order, abuse of power, media and manipulation, rioters and looters, humanity, freedom, bondage, prophetic events, political pandering or power-hungry agenda, etc.. And I would say, it is likely inclusive of all of that, but rest assured, racism is at work here. It IS within the epicenter if not THE epicenter, of the ground-shaking going on, and is far from having been rooted out.

I am grieved over my own lack of action in times prior. Of being more asleep at the wheel than I realized. But it is time. Time to get my hands dirty, and start pulling up some weeds.

As long as we are given to feeling superior to others due to our differences, we will be given over to division and devastation. If our brothers or sisters (our neighbors local or global) are not okay, WE are not okay.

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