In the face of the Charleston church massacre, Jon Stewart says that he is confident that by acknowledging the race wars, by staring into the face of it, “we still won’t do jack ****.”
But what can we do? How can we break down barriers of hate? How can we break down barriers of racial divide? How can we break down barriers of gender, money, ignorance, education, immigration status or any other barrier that keeps us too preoccupied to focus on what actually matters? How can we prevent another racially motivated attack like the Charleston church massacre?
Honestly, we probably can’t. Why? Because hearts can be evil. This is a war between good and evil, love and hate. Race wars are outward symptoms of evil and hate. The only way to end race wars is to change hearts. But how can we change hearts? Well, only Christ can. But we are His ambassadors here on earth, and so I challenge you to step up as His ambassadors. Let’s get to work.
There are, twelve things we can and should do right now in light of the Charleston events.
1.) Pray. Pray for the wisdom to Stop.
2.) Stop. Stop what you are doing. Stop what you naturally think. Stop looking at the news-feed in your social media, which only feeds your predisposed natural tendencies based on what you “like.” Stop reading the comments of hate on posts. Stop the lies. Stop the ignorance – on both sides of the aisle. Stop the race baiting. Stop the media from inciting hate. Stop responding to hate. Stop giving hate the ratings. It starts with you, just stop.
3.) Pray. Pray for God to open your heart to our brothers and sisters, of all races and then Go.
4.) Go. That means you have to be around other people of other backgrounds and races. Yes, you need to get out of your comfort zone and go talk to people different than you. Go somewhere. Go on mission – in your neighborhood. Go to Charleston. Maybe even go to the church where the Charleston massacre happened.
5.) Pray. Pray that God would give us eyes to See.
6.) See. Don’t turn a blind eye. Attempt to see one another’s perspective. If the Confederate flag or the Confederate Generals cause wounds in the hearts of our brothers and sisters, why would we not see their perspective? If we love others, wouldn’t we do what we could, within reason, to take away the “wallpaper” of their lives that might be hurting them?
7.) Pray. Pray for a mouth to speak truth and hope in our stories.
8.) Stories. They are what break down barriers. Our stories of God in our lives should drive us to understand Him more and each other more. Share your story with those God brings in your life. Share about His redeeming hope and purpose and love in your life. Share what you’ve screwed up and He has redeemed. Share what others have intended for evil and yet, He has worked it together for good. Like the impact this story sharing had on the Black Musician and the KKK Member.
9.) Pray. Pray that God would give us ears to listen.
10.) Listen. Whatever race you are, whatever background you have, we all have a story. Listen to each other’s stories. Let it open your heart with compassion for others. Let it focus you on what really matters. And guess what? Your political bent does not really matter. Your stance on any political issue has no long-term ramification or impact when facing eternity. Focus on what matters.
11.) Pray. Pray that God would give us a love for people that trumps the enemy’s hate.
12.) Love always wins. Love has already won. Love hung on the cross. Love made it possible for us to not live in fear or in hate. So, with love, we can live and love. But remember, love, the kind that hung on the cross, was about sacrificial action. Your love won’t impact the world until you do something.
And that’s my humble response to Jon Stewart’s challenge. That’s what we can do to stop things like the Charleston church massacre. You do these things, and you will start a ripple effect. It may not feel like you can impact the world, but one person at a time, you can. They can. We can.
Do you want a tool to help you accept this challenge? Consider a tool to help you share stories of truth and hope: Shattered Share Packs.
Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/nmdAGC