My heart has been broken over the past few weeks of racial unrest in America. The truth is this … my heart actually stays in a continual state of brokenness over the world that we live in, over the choices that humanity has made, and over the angry hearts that seem to be leading the way.
I wonder how God is doing with it all.
A quote that I often ponder is this one:
“May my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.”
And then, I turn my attention to my good, good Father and ask Him,
“God … what breaks your heart?”
“God … what is it that causes you to weep?”
“God … how do You feel about this world that You have created?”
My heart has been broken over the racial divide that is bitterly alienating people in this great nation that I love. My heart grieves when bullets fly … and when fathers are killed … and when police are vilified … and when white vs. black or Hispanic vs. white becomes the source of bitter and enraged discourse.
I often watch the news with tears streaming down my cheeks as I wonder, “How did this happen? How did this happen in America?”
I know that there are many reasons why this outbreak of racial tension has occurred. The answers can be found in philosophical reasoning, in socioeconomic inequities, or in a history of unfair treatment that can explode in a moment’s time. All it takes is that one, tiny infamous straw that broke the camel’s back … all it really takes is one more thing to add gas to an already existing fire.
But what can I do about it? What can I, as an ordinary white, middle-class Christian woman do to alleviate the pain that my brothers and sisters are enduring?
What can I do?
I will probably never speak before congress or be interviewed on an evening news show. I will probably never have the opportunity to obtain an audience with the power brokers of this generation or to write a flaming and righteous editorial that will be published in newspapers across the country.
I will never be asked to pose a question at a Presidential debate.
But … what can I do?
As a follower of Jesus Christ, I remind myself daily that I am not powerless but I am powerful! Jesus has made me to be the carrier of His DNA to a world in pain. I am here at this very moment in history to right wrongs … to pray for peace … and to show human kindness in the face of division and cruelty.
Like Esther, I am here for such a time as this!
I happen to believe that the power of kindness is more dynamic than the power of Congress. I know that I know that I know that kindness holds more intrinsic value than does a popular TV host or a blistering editorial that millions might read.
I can be kind. I can be intentionally kind. I can be proactively kind. I can be enthusiastically kind. I can be perpetually kind.
I can be kind.
I can be kind to those who look different than I do … I can be kind to those who believe differently than I do … I can be kind to those who choose differently than I do … I can be kind.
I can be kind to policemen and to people of different races. I can be kind to a young man whose body is covered with tattoos and piercings. I can be kind to people who are voting for a different candidate than I am. I can be kind to people who choose to be unkind to people like me.
I can be kind.
I also happen to believe that one person can change the world. I believe that the power of love that is vibrantly expressed and dynamically spoken can change a generation.
I am that one person that is able to turn a wrong into a right … friction into peace … and rejection into acceptance.
I am that one person.
You are that one person! You can be kind!
I fervently believe that it is better to be kind than to be right.
And so, rather than just reading a sweet little blog this week and thinking about it for two days and then forgetting its substance, I have a challenge for you. I have a homework assignment for you … the one person who can change the world with the power of kindness.
Pay for the dinner of a person whose skin color is different than yours.
Make eye contact with a young person whose skin is tattooed and smile at them. Ask them a question with joy and with meaning. “How are you doing today? You know, call me crazy, but I love encouraging people and I just want to tell you that your life matters to God!”
Let the young mom with a cart filled with groceries and toddlers go in front of you in the grocery store. You could also hand her a $20 bill while you are at it and tell her to buy the children ice cream!
Make friends with someone whose heritage is different than yours. Peace starts with one relationship … one friendship … one loving word.
Buy flowers for a widow who lives on a fixed income.
Take pizza or apple cider to the local police station or fire station.
Write out a word of encouragement on a 3x5 card and keep it with you … then give it to someone who looks discouraged.
Have a Republican … or a Democrat … over for dinner and refuse to talk about politics! Talk about music … and travel … and a good book … and your children … and your childhoods. You will discover that you have much more in common than you do that divides you. Imagine that!
Invite a conservative … or a liberal … out for a cup of coffee and refuse to talk about divisive issues. Talk about your favorite sports team … or your holiday traditions … or what you are thankful for … or plans for a future vacation. You will discover that this person is quite likable after all! Imagine that!
God never makes unity out of similarity but He always makes unity out of diversity.
We are not cookie-cutter human beings … but everyone … black and white and Hispanic … Republican and Democrat … liberal and conservative … Harvard-educated and high school drop-outs … we each have a heart that loves deeply.
We all posses a vicious hope that peace really will win in the end … and we each embrace a quest for justice that is buried beneath our political leanings and our individual belief system.
You can change the world … you can change one person’s life … you can be kind to someone who is different than you are!
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke