In light of everything that’s happened this week, my post looks a little different today.
I spent yesterday absolutely devastated at the news. Fresh rounds of tears every time I remembered that my black friends are afraid because of the reality that, no matter where or how they live, things could go very wrong for them if caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Then I grieved for my police officer friends, GOOD, fierce, fair men I know would never use force against another human being unless their lives or others were legitimately in danger. Men who put their lives on the line and see terrible things to keep us safe, often with no recognition or overtime pay. And, yet, there’s a common thread. People just like them with families and futures have been murdered by strangers just for wearing a badge.
The police are trained to use their instincts, gut reactions from their hearts. The problem is, a select few who make the news — not all — have sick hearts or plain old bad judgment. And then the cycle of hatred continues with retaliation, maybe not on that street corner, but same story, different place.
This has to change. There has to be more reverence and accountability for the sacred miracle of each human life.
I don’t identify as a liberal or progressive at all. But I don’t think the language of justice should be associated with any demographic or sociopolitical belief.
At its very root, it’s an issue of seeing others as God sees them and loving as He loves, with no “but” or “except” or “despite” in our language. With no room for overcompensation or withholding.
Here in my South Tulsa home, I acknowledge my privilege. I’m white, college-educated, married to a man, and we never have to wonder where our children’s next meal is going to come from or how we’re going to keep the lights on this month.
I have often remained silent in situations like this, wondering what I can possibly say or do that won’t come across as empty and reactionary and purely driven by the emotions of the moment. I know many of you may feel the same way, sometimes hopeless in our inability to empathize. But after hearing the hearts of the kind, intelligent, brave, hard-working individuals who have directly felt the pain of recent events, here’s what we can do:
We can pray. When we have no words, we can bring it to the Lord and do battle that way. We can remember that our hope is in the Lord and how much all of this is a reflection of people who are hurt and sick and longing for eternity — even if they don’t know that’s what they’re missing.
We can NOT waste our energy on unproductive guilt. Guilt will do nothing but perpetuate the gaps between people. Same with being numb or desensitized. We can lean in, instead.
We can acknowledge that racism and prejudice are ugly, broken, very REAL things, even if we think we’re far removed from them or haven’t experienced them firsthand. We can acknowledge that all the senseless deaths we have mourned in America are a drop in the bucket compared to what’s going on around the globe.
No matter what we believe, who we vote for, or what we look like, we can never let those who are different from us forget how loved and valuable and important they are.
No matter how big our sphere of influence may be, or how insignificant we believe our voices are, we can stand up for what we believe in our communities. Even a stay-at-home mom can make a huge difference by raising her children to be fiercely kind and discerning and brave.
We can acknowledge that darkness exists in this world and not turn our heads away from it, but focus on the beauty and perpetuate the love instead of the hate.