- True Christianity evolves out of empathy.
- We are more similar than we are different.
- Our black and brown brothers and sisters can not win on their own.
I can’t get the picture out of my mind…our President holding the Bible in front of a church for a photo op during this time of chaos. He didn’t pray. He didn’t provide any words of wisdom. He didn’t urge unity, hope, forgiveness, or justice. He didn’t comfort. He didn’t educate. He simply stood there…then brought up more white people for the photo op. To make matters worse—he escalated the tensions.
More people are being hurt. Officers are being shot in the streets. It’s all just so wrong. Who are the geniuses who even crafted all of this? They could have at least tried to make the escapade believable. True Christianity evolves out of empathy. This man has none. If he did, he wouldn’t have sent police on horseback through a peaceful protest knocking people over and firing tear-gas and rubber bullets.
Do you think this man has ever been in the home of a poor person, or even a middle class person? Do you think he has ever felt their pain? Do you think he has ever felt your pain? I have a lot of black friends, brown friends and everything in between. During the 30 plus years of my career, I have worked at a crisis center for youth, at Big Brothers Big Sisters in two different cities, and at a homeless shelter.
I have had the privilege of working with people of color, both as colleagues, supervisors, board members and clients. I have family of color. I have been in some of the poorest homes in some of the roughest neighborhoods…and have met some of the best human beings—of all races.
The majority were facing obstacles the average person would not understand, much less know how to navigate. Yet the majority of them were incredible human beings. They were real. They had pain, sorrow, regret, and challenges, the likes most of us would never know. But they developed empathy. They developed empathy through their pain. They were strong enough to overcome their struggles and to become really good human beings despite the deck being stacked against them.
They showed me more kindness than I have received in the rest of the world. They taught me lessons I would have otherwise never known. In short, they made me a better person. I was welcomed more in the projects than I was at socialite fundraisers. Empathy. Pain. Struggles. That is what makes people real. It doesn’t matter the color of our skin.
We are more similar than we are different. All of our hearts are red. As a white person, I will never truly know how it is to be black or brown. But how do we, as white people bridge this gap? We need to open ourselves to new experiences. We need to get out of our comfort zones and interact with people that look different than we do. We need to listen and to develop understanding and empathy. We need to allow for love. And when we see something we don’t like nor agree with, we need to forgive.
We need not to allow racist remarks in our presence. We need to speak out when we see injustices. We need to get involved on a local level. We need to develop relationships. We need to let true Christianity in our hearts. That is the only way to make things better.
Standing in front of a church holding a Bible is not the answer. Anybody can do that. It doesn’t mean anything. Nothing. We can’t listen to certain politicians. They do not care. In fact, divisiveness may actually serve their purposes. We have to take care of one another.
We are all connected on a spiritual level. So when we are kind, empathetic and act in love, not only do we help the other person, we help ourselves and our family. Our black and brown brothers and sisters can not win on their own. And the “win” is simply being treated equally and with humanity. It’s really not a big ask. And it is way past time to make this happen. But it takes everybody. We need to do better.