When I was a teen the KKK rallied on the steps of the Michigan capitol, only miles from my home and across the street from my church. The leaders of our youth group planned a whole evening for us to discuss race and how to combat prejudice. They handed out little ribbons (interestingly enough, they were rainbows) for us to wear to symbolize racial unity. We prayed against those who spread disunity and hate.
I remember thinking, “Don’t they know it’s the 1990s? How are they still holding onto the idea that white is better than any other color? Why do they hate so much?”
I wore that rainbow ribbon on my baggy jean jacket until it became frayed and fell apart.
Over the years I’ve heard people say that we live in “post-racial” times. That we’ve overcome racism. That everyone has equal opportunity regardless of their circumstances. I wanted to believe them. I did.
Now I don’t know.
That might not be a popular doubt among some of you. That’s all right, I guess. I’ve just seen too many who have been treated differently because of the color of their skin. And that is not right.
Seven prominent black churches have burned since an angry white supremacist killed nine African American Christians as they prayed. He declared a race war. The scary thing is that there are others who want that war every bit as much as he does.
Two female pastors at other African American churches have had their lives and the lives of their children threatened for their position in their churches.
Don’t they know it’s 2015? Why do they hate so much?
I have no answers right now. Only questions.
But I do know this, God made us all in His image. Regardless of color or place of birth or gender, we are all precious to Him. Until we can see each other in that light, this racial wound will never be healed.
With all my heart, I believe that the only way we can overcome this hate and bitterness is by loving. Loving the way He loved, by laying down our lives for others.