I hesitated to write about the social unrest that has been highlighted recently with the murder of George Floyd, among others. I didn’t want to be another voice in the cacophony of voices on this subject. But as I thought about it more, I began to think about what I want to say to my children as I try to explain to them the unexplainable.
How do I explain why people hate simply based on the color of a person’s skin? How do I make sense of the idea that not all lives are valued? What do I say to my son, who will one day be a black man, when yet another black man died senselessly?
The only thing I can do is call it by its name: sin. Whether it’s institutional or more personal and direct, racism is sin.
As much as it sickens me to watch the videos that have been circulating, at least the sin of racism is being uncovered. But as with all sin, unless there is a true heart change, it will not just go away. We can decry the injustice, and we should. We can say that things need to change, and they do. But until there is repentance, no real lasting change can happen.
I am reminded of what Isaiah 58:3-7 says: “‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’ Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers. Behold, you fast only to quarrel and fight and to hit with a wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high. Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a person to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a reed, and spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast and a day acceptable to the Lord? Is this not the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh?” (ESV)
God calls us to a higher standard than simple lip service. We need more than words or legislation from well-meaning politicians. We need true repentance, as a country and individuals. Only then will we heal and move forward.
My hope and prayer is that as more of the sin of racism is exposed, through social media and the news, we will not become indifferent to it. I pray it will begin to convict hearts so that real change can happen.