…in humility count others more significant than yourselves. ESV Philippians 2:3
With the challenging demonstrations, protests, tweets and so forth, it seems we grow further and further apart as a nation, especially when it comes to race relations. Paul urged the Philippians (who were also struggling to get along) to consider each other better than themselves. Rather than trying to find what unites us, I feel it’s better to understand where the other side is coming from.
Briefly consider two current topics. First the Blue Lives Matter/Black Lives Matter tension. From the African American side, we need to understand what it’s like to be “pulled over for driving black.” What does that do to your perspective on police? I’ve only been pulled over twice…and both times I was wrong (speeding and headlight out). On the flip side, I also can’t imagine what it’s like to go to work each day as a cop not knowing if it will be your last day on earth. Every time someone makes a sudden move, or reaches in their pocket, you have a split second to make a decision to save your life and/or possibly end theirs. Obviously hindsight is 20/20 (and now 25 cell phones captured your every move). What pressure must they act under in these situations? Secondly, consider the sad happenings in Charlottesville. Many whites are afraid their way of life is dying. Boys used to follow in their father’s footsteps into well-paying blue-collar jobs straight out of high school. Those jobs no longer exist. Life has changed drastically. They feel oppressed, controlled by the government. Heroes are people like Robert E. Lee who led a charge against a perceived oppressive government. On the flip side, consider our African American brothers. People like Robert E. Lee fought to keep them enslaved. Statues honoring him bring pain and remind them or horrible events. 150 years after the civil war, we still fly flags and build statues honoring a painful, sinful part of our past. I’ve personally grown in my perspective through these events.
We should seek to understand motives, and condemn sinful actions. Hatred and violence are always wrong. When we first seek to understand people before judging them, we sometimes see their hearts. Sadly, because we are sinners, our hearts often lead us to sinful actions–hence the violence and hatred. May the gospel of grace and forgiveness allow us to have compassion on one another and work together to show the world the love of Jesus.