By Robert Williams, Lead Pastor, The Bridge Church, Charles City
Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, was a bad day for America. According to the Washington Post, “White nationalists were met by counter-protesters in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, leading Gov. Terry McAuliffe to declare a state emergency. A car plowed into crowds, killing one person and injuring 19 others.”
These protests were in light of the motion to take down the statue of Robert E. Lee, a former confederate military general. The acts of the alt-right were outright racist, truly deplorable and remiss. … But now what? What is your response? What is our response? Being a white male in this country, I find it difficult to respond. I will never have complete understanding of the situation because of how God created me. And because of that ignorance, I find it difficult to respond with a true empathy. It’s sticky. It’s uncomfortable. It’s … messy.
But here’s the deal: we must respond. Just because it makes us uncomfortable, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t respond.
I love what I heard one pastor say this last week: “We will not only be held accountable to the good we do, but also the good we do not do.”
Racism is not of God. The Bible speaks a number of times against racism, specifically between the Jews and Gentiles.
After Christ had come, the Jews still had this arrogance and pretentious attitude that they were God’s chosen people and therefore, better than everyone else.
But specifically, in his letter to the Galatians,
we see a man named Paul, call out Peter against his racist tendencies by choosing to sit and eat with his Jewish counterparts over gentiles. And in the following chapter we see him write, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)
I don’t imagine calling out Peter was a comfortable decision. I don’t imagine that Paul was eager to do it. I don’t imagine that there was anything but an awkward silence after his public rebuke of Peter.
But it had to happen. It had to be called out. Because as part of the church, we are responsible to stomp out the darkness in this world with the true, equal, unconditional love of Christ for all.
So, as we consider the terrible acts in Charlottesville and the horrible racist mind-sets of many even here in Iowa, may we not be silent. May we have the uncomfortable conversations.
And may we “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than (our)selves.” (Philippians 2:3)