Be The Difference You Want To See

Be the difference you want to see. Be loving. Be kind. Be generous. Be forgiving. Be hopeful. Be encouraging. Be steadfast. Be truthful.

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 1 John 4:16(ESV)

As a Christian, I have specific convictions. They may not be convictions you share. As a middle-aged white guy I have habits, hurts, and hang ups that are my own. They are probably different then yours. Maybe they are; maybe they aren’t. We are all different. I believe God, our Creator, made us each to be the unique expression of himself that we are.

I believe we are made in His image and reflect Him in us, through us. You might believe that while we’re different, that’s simply due to genetics and luck of the draw. 

I’m married and straight. You could be single. You might be gay. I’m a fluffy White guy. You might be Asian, Hispanic or Black. You may be a Christian, Muslim, Jew or Buddhist or Hindu. You might be an atheist or all together non-religious. You may think science disproves God or you may know that through science, the work of God is revealed.

Regardless, I will try my best to love you, to treat you with kindness, to extend my hand in forgiveness, and strive to let my words and actions encourage and uplift you. Together, we can be the difference we would like so much to see. But it starts with each of us, individually.

My convictions are not your convictions. I accept you for who you are. Yes, I will pray for you because as a Christian that is what I do. I want you to know what I have come to know: there is a God who loves you so much so that He sent His Son from Heaven to Earth to rescue you and return you to a right standing with Him. But whether or not you accept that truth, know that I will continue to love you and cheer you on with a kind and forgiving heart.

May peace go with you. May God’s goodness shine through you and through me.Be loving. Be kind. Be forgiving. Be encouraging.

Where do we go from here?

Like many of you, my heart has felt heavy since the events of last Thursday night,  July 7,  that saw a lone gunman murder 4 Dallas Police officers and 1 DART officer. In the days and nights since, I have been filled with grief,  burned with frustration at the foolishness of a few, and overwhelmed at witnessing firsthand the LOVE of so, so many.

DPD Memorial 2016

By God’s grace, I was fortunate to be able to attend three of the officer’s funerals in person. This past week, I have had the privilege, joy, and honor of meeting, speaking, laughing, crying and praying with white, black, and brown people from all walks of life. I’ve witnessed firsthand the loving-kindness of a flood of people travelling to Dallas from all over our nation to pay their respects as they grappled to make sense of a senseless act that extinguished the flames of five of our society’s best. Make no mistake about it; the world has lost five exceptional, good men. They did not seek to be heroes. They simply sought to protect and serve.

Much has changed since I was a kid growing up in the 60s and 70s. We have made lots of progress since I was a young man in the 80s. I’ve seen progress continue throughout my life. But, we still have work to do.

The job is not finished.

Unfortunately, the scourge of racism is woven into the tapestry of our nation’s fabric. It is a hurt that has ached too long. While many have done much to eradicate this parasite, it’s stains are not easily washed out. The wounds of racism continue to be slow to heal. Scabs of this national hurt remain, albeit protruding less today than yesterday. With continued vigilance, it can be less tomorrow than today. United we stand. Divided we fall.

Love begins with forgiveness, so to my brothers and sisters of color, I ask, as difficult as it might be, that you forgive me and all of those who at any time made you feel less valued, less seen, less valuable, lesser in any way. You matter equally. You matter, period.

While celebrating our differences and uniqueness, we must strive to keep moving forward as one. Let us no longer be defined by the hateful voices or the destructive actions of a few.

They do not speak for us.

If we are truly going to all get along, we must reject the foolish rhetoric of divisiveness. Sameness is not the objective. That would fall far short of celebrating our Creator’s almighty magnificence. But we can be different and be united. These are not mutually exclusive ideals.

Togetherness, in the bright, shining light of our differences, proclaims what faith, hope, and love can do. Together, we can heal this wound. We must continue to put our minds to it and be willing to keep our hearts in it. Together, we can overcome the deep hurts and divisive pains racism has wrought. To do that, as one of the officers who spoke at this week’s funerals eloquently pointed out, we must begin to forgive.