We have heard the phrase "Believe what you see" a lot lately in the national news, and it reminded me of a recent Gospel story.
Soon after Jesus died, the disciples were locked in the upper room, out of fear of the Jews, and Jesus appeared to them saying, “Peace be with you." Thomas was not with them, and when the other disciples relayed this story, he said, “I will not believe until I see for myself.”
If you are one of the people who “believe what you see,” then I hope you are now believing in the reality of racism.
We have all seen the video, multiple times, of Derek Chauvin’s knee on George Floyd's neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds. We have seen the other assisting officers not raise a hand to assist Mr. Floyd. We have seen, and are challenged to believe, that racism is real.
I don’t want to believe it, because it reflects on me. I don’t want to believe it, because it challenges me to change. You can try to say this is not a faith issue, but it is. Jesus challenged us all to “love your neighbor as yourself.” He did not define "neighbor" as someone just like us, or only people we like. Another central Christian tradition is the Ten Commandments, especially “Do not kill.”
My church has a teaching that says, “We all have a dignity because we were all created in the image and likeness of God.” Everyone was born with a dignity. No exceptions!
We must stand up as Americans and say Black lives matter. I hope what we mean is that all lives matter, but right now, it is many of our Black neighbors who are experiencing the most disrespect. We are all children of God! We are all loved by God, and we must find ways to show that, or we risk becoming bitter, resentful or full of hate … and that is no way to live as a follower of Jesus.
"From the Pulpit" runs on the Saturday faith pages and features reflections from area religious leaders. To contribute, contact Life Editor Meredith Williams at 701-429-1749 or firstname.lastname@example.org.