These thoughts have been rolling around in my mind for weeks and I am just now feeling like it is forming into a post. And honestly, I'm scared to post this because I know I might get some hate mail. But please hear my heart... I love America and it is my deepest desire that we would continue to be that beautiful shining city on a hill...a country that is a beacon to the hurting around the world. Not a country that is hurting each other from within.
It's no secret that I'm not a fan of Obama. However, when he was elected, I experienced a brief feeling of joy that we, as a country, had risen from the depths of black slavery to electing a black President. I hoped upon hope that his election would prove to the African Americans of this country that the majority of Americans are not racist and that racial unity would improve dramatically.
Sadly, this has not been the case. Rather, the racial chasm seems to have only grown wider.
My heart has been heavy as I have watched it play out in the news. I see so many African-American leaders speaking with great anger at what has been done to their people in America over the past few hundred years. And they are correct that African Americans have endured horrible treatment at the hands of white Americans in the past. However...
I recently came across a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King and I was so struck by it. And I realized that his dream has not truly been fulfilled. He did not only dream that his people would be accepted, but that they would rise above what had been done to them. That they would go down in history as over-comers...a people to emulate because of their amazing ability to forgive and not retaliate...to live the best possible 'revenge' by being happy, healthy and productive DESPITE what had been done to them. A people to put on a pedestal. Here is his quote:
"Our actions must be guided by the deepest principles of our Christian faith. Love must be our regulating ideal. Once again we must hear the words of Jesus echoing across the centuries: 'Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, and pray for them that despitefully use you.'...If you will protest courageously, and yet with dignity and Christian love, when the history books are written in future generations, the historians will pause and say, 'There lived a great people--a black people--who injected new meaning and dignity into the veins of civilization.'"
--Dr. Martin Luther King
Yesterday, I saw Martin Luther King's neice, Alveda, interviewed. She is a gracious, lovely woman who radiates an inner peace. She was taught by her father (who was murdered) and her uncle Martin (who was murdered, as you know) to forgive her enemies. And she has done so with God's strength. She has chosen not to enslave herself to hatred, even though it would be understandable from the perspective of many. She loves God and she knows that our only hope is in Him. She is truly free! We need to pray for racial unity in our country and that God would give African-Americans the ability to overcome their history here by being able to forgive the atrocities that have been done to them. Then they will truly be set free...set free by the grace of God that enables all of us to be over-comers. We owe them our prayers. Because you know what?
We can never make it right.
We could never pay back the horrible debt. Even if we made each African-American a millionaire, it would not ease the pain at the core of their beings. No, it is a debt that can only be forgiven for THEM to be set free of the pain. White America could throw money at the problem and think it has been fixed, but the pain would remain. Pain does that. It stays unless dismissed. It stays and ferments. It gives birth to more pain, bitterness and misery. That is why Jesus asked us to forgive. It wasn't for the perpetrator to live in peace. It is for the VICTIM to live in peace. As long as we hold onto our pain, we give the perpetrator our lives.
And they are usually unaware of it.
Jesus asks us to do the hard thing (to forgive and have inner peace) rather than live the harder thing (to live in misery, anger and bitterness).
It's a pretty good trade, don't you think?
May each of us lead the way in our personal lives by forgiving everything done to us.
"So Christ has really set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don't get tied up again in slavery..." Galatians 5:1
"...if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." John 8:36