Above all else, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23
Over the past week, I have seen many justice and peace-loving black, brown, and white brothers and sisters shed tears of frustration as they try to raise awareness about systemic injustice in American society. Indeed, the movement against racism and discrimination that started after the death of George Floyd is providing a context for victims of racism and bigotry to voice the anger that has been building for over 400 years. In some instances, the expression of that anger hasn’t been peaceful. Yet it is necessary for mainstream America to be shocked and awed by images of angry protesters demanding justice for the victims of police brutality and systemic injustice.
The Christian community is also called to take a stand for justice and equity. We must speak prophetically and courageously against the marginalization of people of color. The Church cannot remain silent while black boys are more likely to go to prison than college. We have a responsibility to say no to the ghettoization of inner-city black neighborhoods. The Church in America should lead the effort for affordable housing and health care and criminal justice reform; and against discrimination in employment.
However, as we are engaged in these worthy efforts, we have to guard our hearts, so we do not internalize the very hatred we want to abolish. After all, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Reverse racism is never justified. Undoubtedly, America has to repent for the original sin of slavery and racism that continue to put their knees on the neck of Black America. That is not, however, a license to demonize and dehumanize any group of people.
Let us not forget that we fight not against flesh and blood, but powers and principalities from high places (Ephesians 6:12). Our goal is to create that beloved community where individuals are not judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. We have to guard our hearts against unconscious biases and race-based hatred.
We “are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that [we] may declare the praises of him who called [us] out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9). Therefore, we cannot respond to injustice unjustly. For, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly” (Martin Luther King Jr.).
My prayer is that God will sensitize our hearts to the pain and suffering of all victims of oppression. We have to guard our hearts against apathy to the marginalization of people who do not look like us. During this season of introspection and reflection about effective ways to redress centuries of racism and discrimination in America, we should pray as David did in Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
The Spirit of the Lord is moving upon the earth to circumcise the heart of God’s chosen people. Let us, therefore, guard our hearts so we can be transformed into the image of Christ. Then we will be able to advocate for justice justly and fight racism without exhibiting racist attitudes.
Prayer- Blessed Lord, “Create a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within us. Do not cast us from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from us. Restore to us the joy of our salvation and grant us a willing spirit, to sustain us.” Psalm 51:10-12