It only takes a spark to get a fire going…. This past week, that spark was the video of a white police officer ending the life of a black man as he pinned the black man to the ground with his knee. That spark ignited a fire that erupted in Minneapolis and then across the country as people protested this tragic death. Those protests turned into violent riots with the mass destruction of property, multiple injuries, and the death of at leasts three additional individuals.
The greater spark is the continuing plague of racism in our country. The fallacy that a man or woman is either good or bad based primarily upon the color of their skin or their ethnic origin. Those who have never experienced profiling, hateful sneers, rejection from a job, or injustice in the courts – because of skin color – cannot comprehend the fear, the hurt, and the anger. While I have never personally felt the same pain experienced by those who daily have this experience, my heart hurts for those who have.
Every Christian, including each of us as Seventh-day Adventists in Wisconsin, should stand united against racism. And friends, racism is not limited to just white and black communities. Racism happens anywhere a person looks at a man or woman who doesn’t look like or talk like them, and chooses not to embrace them as a brother or sister because they are different.
As fellow Christians we are called to fan the flames of a different spark. This greatest spark is called love. God’s love, exhibited by those who love Him, can cool the flames of intolerance, hatred, and prejudice. That love can build bridges where there are now walls. That love can turn an enemy into a brother or sister. We need to be reminded that the greatest power in this world is not hate but love. We are called to seek those who are different from us, listen and learn from their experience, and be enriched. Make them your friend. Jesus said that all will know that we are His disciples, by our love.
However, this will not happen by accident. It will only happen as we come to the painful recognition that racism may reside in our own hearts. It will only happen as we take deliberate action to right the wrongs, not by destructive behavior, but by Christ-like behavior. I would urge you to fan the flames of that spark, and spread the love of Jesus today.
Mike Edge, Wisconsin Conference President
*Lake Union panel discussion regarding racism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?