I’ve been a coward, although not in the traditional sense, I suppose.
Friends have spoken up, posting different quotes, opinions, and videos. Some of those have been helpful to me, but largely I’ve seen them as divisive.
Do I support one side or the other? Black or blue? What if I love both? How can I effectively communicate that without both sides hearing I’m not specifically for them?
No one left to speak
Then there is the poster circulating social media with a quote from Pastor Martin Niemoller. He was talking about the cowardice of German intellectuals during the Nazis’ rise to power. One version of his poem says,
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
While I understand that I need to speak out, my problem has been that I don’t really know what to say. And I know that I don’t understand the complexities of the problem, which is a huge problem.
- I’m not black and don’t understand much of their mindset.
- Even when money was tight, I’ve never lived below the federal poverty level.
- Police officers have always been friends and helpers to me, even though I know a few in every career field are bound to be bad apples.
- I tend to wait for the bigger story to come out rather than react in the moment to the explosive story coming out through the media. But this can communicate a lack of concern or caring.
So what should a Christian do? How can I love without being divisive?
The last several weeks, I’ve been listening to the podcast by North Point Community Church, in Alpharetta, Georgia. This past Sunday, Pastor Andy Stanley dumped his planned message and invited two Christian ministry leaders — both black men — to come and talk with him openly and honestly.
And Pastor Stanley provided a historical perspective that can help all Christians unite under Christ’s banner and move forward together. The modern church really isn’t facing anything that different from what the church faced in the days of the apostles.
I encourage you to listen and to help move the dialogue going on around you onto a more positive ground. Stand up, without being divisive. Follow Christ toward loving all people, no matter the color of their skin, the place they grew up, or the job they faithfully do. Because, like it or not, we’re all in this together.
North Point Community Church: July 10, 2016
Andy Stanley With Sam Collier & Joseph Sojourner