Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "O Canada"1 (Lyrics)
Galatians 5:14-15 – For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! (NKJV)
According to Wikipedia, "The pandemic … caused the largest and worst civil unrest in the United States history since King assassination riots in 1968." Protests in Canada have also been widespread. Besides activities that "bite and devour" our brothers and sisters, reactions to racial injustice include peaceful demonstrations of love towards our racially diverse neighbours, while others say, "Well, I would do something, but I don't know what to do", and there are those who deny that there is a problem.
As Christians, we need to ask ourselves some serious questions. Am I in the denial category, believing that race is a problem there, but not here? Do I say, "I am white, but I don't believe in white privilege"? Do I think, "Well, there may be unfortunate incidents, but this Black Lives Matter movement is just typical sensationalized media reporting"? Do I tune out when those whose skin colour is different than mine are reporting on their awful experiences with the police?
If we respond "Yes" to any of these questions, we need to follow the advice of James, "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." (James 1:22 NKJV)
Does God's standard of being doers of the word include listening to only parts of the story? Is treating racial discrimination as media manipulation how God would define loving our neighbour? Have I informed myself about black culture and history in my area? Have I researched credible statistics by race on differences in income, education, crimes, and incarceration? Have I cross-checked facts, statistics, and stories that all report the consistently unacceptable and sometimes inhumane treatment of people of different colour?
Have you ever read a Bible passage saying, "Love your neighbours as yourself, but only if they look, think, and vote like you"? How are we going to love our neighbours if we cannot even bring ourselves to listen to their stories? God has created us all in His image. Christ's gift of salvation is for all of God's children. God calls us to listen and to act. If we listen but do not act, that in itself is an action. Pray with me:
Prayer: Dear God, forgive me for those times when I closed my eyes to injustices around me. Help me to seek learning to appreciate the diversity of Your children. Where differences in Your children exist, help me to appreciate the richness, instead of allowing the differences to divide. God, call me to listen and to act as You would. Help me to remove any hesitation from my actions or inactions of love towards others. Holy Spirit, please intervene to change the hearts of those who deny that we are called to love all of Your children. Amen.