As a church who loves Jesus and therefore should be committed to loving our city, our country and our world, it is important that we are involved in the conversations that our culture is involved in. We want to bring truth and love where there is hurt, lies and sin.
The death of George Floyd is a horrific, inexcusable tragedy. The hatred and ensuing violence in response is also awful. The good that is coming through this however are the conversations about racism, racial subjugation and social inequality.
These are challenging conversations in a country with such a dark history in regard to racism but ones we must have. We must ask questions today like “Why does racism still continue to happen and what can we as a nation do to stop this? I want to share just a few brief thoughts from our study in Exodus that address these very topics.
Two weeks ago May 24, as we studied Exodus chapter 1 we asked the questions; “What led Egypt to enslave the Hebrews?” and ”How do we face the same struggles today?” The next day George Floyd was killed fueling the conversations about racism and hate. I do not believe it is an accident that we were studying Exodus 1.
Racism and racial subjugation begin with pride. For Egypt, we saw that it began with pride toward the Hebrew herdsman. Genesis 46:34 “…for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians.” This prideful attitude led the Egyptians to separate themselves from the Hebrews. Later all relationships were lost when Joseph died and was no longer working with the Pharaoh. Once relationships were lost suspicion and fear began to take over. Fear led to suppression, suppression led to genocide.
The exact same sinful slope exists today from pride to loss of relationship to suspicion and fear, to persecution to genocide.
Pride is the original sin that leads any person to believe that they are superior to others and it was pride that started our country down a dark road 400 years ago. The question remains what can we do about this today? As we are painfully aware, this is a significant question with many different applications. I have been asking myself “What can I do about this?” I challenge you to ask the same question of yourself.
We can begin by reversing the slope. If pride breaks relationships and isolates which leads to suspicion and fear, we can do the opposite. Out of love, every human can build relationships with those who are different than themselves. We can all work to hear each other’s stories, empathize, grieve with each other, and lament with each other over our hurts pains and fears. We can work with each other to empower one another and help each other get the love, support and dignity all humanity deserves. Jesus said it best when he said to love me, is to love your neighbor. May we be a church who loves and lives like Jesus by knowing ALL our neighbors and loving them like Jesus would.
Pastor Josh Carstensen