Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
June 14, 2020
We are all in this together
A unifying phrase
emerged early during the COVID-19 pandemic. For two months now, we have seen
these words many times: “We are all in this together.” The word “we” includes
all human beings; for the entire world is in the grip of the deadly coronavirus.
The phrase implies that since we are all in the same boat, we had better learn
how to row together.
that caught my attention was this: “We are all on the same team.” In this fight
to overcome the virus, we need to think of ourselves as brothers and sisters,
not as whites or blacks or Hispanics or any other race or ethnicity.
The murder of George Floyd has given
new meaning to these phrases. The nationwide protests against racism involve us
all, for the sin of racism is a worldwide problem. If there was ever a time
when we all need to work together to eradicate racism, it is now. This is a time for us to be fellow Americans, regardless of
race or faith or political alliance. We are all in this together!
In recent days many statements have
been written and shared. While opinions can be helpful, rhetoric will not
remove racism. Repentance and forgiveness are needed. Hearts changed by the
grace of God are needed. Silence must be replaced with a demand for justice for
all. The “power brokers” in business, the government and the church must lead
the way for change – or get out of the way. Those who continue to stand in the
middle of the road are likely to get run over. Change is coming! It must come!
Without significant change, the future of our nation is in peril.
But what I am
writing is, after all, just more rhetoric. So, in my remaining space I want to
offer practical suggestions as to how ordinary citizens can facilitate the
eradication of racism. My list is not exhaustive; allow it to stimulate your
own list of things you can do to help remove racism from our society.
One, examine your
heart. Ask God to show you the truth about how you think and relate to persons
of another color. If there is any racism
in your heart, ask God to forgive you and change your heart so you can begin
loving people regardless of their skin color.
Two, resolve to judge
others on the basis of their character, not their skin color. Base your
opinions of others on their deeds, not their race.
Three, be done
with inflammatory language that demeans people of color. Show respect for the
value, dignity and worth of every person. Speak about others as you would have
them speak about you.
Four, love your
neighbors. Because of the coronavirus, we can show love for our neighbors by
wearing a mask. But go beyond that; find other simple ways to express love for
your neighbors. Initiate conversations with neighbors and friends about our
need to treat all people fairly and put an end to injustice and racial
discrimination. We have ignored the subject for generations, far too long.
Five, pray daily that God will heal
our land of the sin of racism. Pray that our leaders will move forward with
specific plans to eradicate racism from our society. Pray for our pastors to
provide the spiritual leadership needed for this crucial hour in America. Pray
for the men and women serving in law enforcement. Most of our police officers,
troopers, sheriffs and others are good people who deserve our support. Though
the “bad apples” must no longer be tolerated, we need to recognize and applaud
those who are fair to all people, regardless of their race.
Six, talk to your children (and
grandchildren) about racism. Listen to your children. Listen patiently to their
opinions; invite them to share their experiences. Every person, young and old,
has something to bring to the table. Pray with your family, asking God to
reveal ways each of us can make a difference.
Seven, resolve to
stop being silent about racist practices. When you see people being mistreated
because of their skin color, speak up. Write or call your representatives in
the state legislature and Congress and urge them to support changes in laws and
policies that will help eradicate racism in our society. Make your voice heard.
Eight, in your
daily routine look for simple ways to practice civility in every situation. Be
polite to people, even strangers. Since love can overcome hatred, practice acts
of kindness toward others, especially people of another race. Kindness has the
power to defeat incivility.
Nine, make an effort to build bridges of friendship with persons
of another race. This may give you the opportunity to listen to the heartbeat
of someone who endures daily the cruelty of discrimination. The “haves” can
help build a better world by truly listening to the “have nots.”
money, food or clothing to an agency that is helping the poor. For example, the
Mercy House at 2412 Council Street in Montgomery. The number is 334-676-3040. (Don’t ask them to come after your gift; go over there and become
friends with the good folks who run the place.) If you are able, make a
significant financial gift on a regular basis to a ministry like Mercy House.
a few hours of your time to serve in a local ministry by sweeping floors,
washing dishes or serving food. Go beyond words and smiles; do something that
makes you look like a caring human being. Some of us need to get out of our
gated communities and get our hands dirty helping the poor.
Jesus to others. He alone can change our hearts. Faith in Jesus cannot co-exist
with racism. I repeat – Faith in Jesus cannot
co-exist with racism! The
ground is level at the foot of the cross. Jesus shed His blood on that cross so
that our sins could be forgiven and so we could live in the Kingdom as brothers
Though Satan is
using racism to divide and destroy our nation, we need not yield to his demonic
forces that hold us in bondage. We can turn to God and find the strength to recognize
evil among us and neutralize it with justice, love and peace. Our survival is doubtful if we continue to
tolerate racism. It can be overcome, however, when enough of us decide to
eradicate systemic racism and build a system that provides justice and equality
for all people.
Since we are all in this together,
folks, let’s get to work building a just society! Doing so will honor God and
prepare a better world for our descendants. + + +