Our entire #livefreeThursday conversation was about living shame-less, but I have to be honest.
I’ve wrestled with shame this past week.
When the video was shared of Oklahoma college students chanting a racist song, I wanted to hang my head. As a long-time Oklahoma girl, I’m ashamed that an entire, beautiful people created by a divine God was talked about in this way. I’m ashamed of the lyrics that make light of a phrase that once marked fear in the heart of men and women just because of the color of their skin.
But my shame goes deeper.
I am ashamed that there are still churches that are segregated and people who really love Jesus don’t understand why that’s not okay.
I am ashamed when we say that we know people who are of a different race and therefore we can’t be prejudiced, when the reality is that these same people do not sit around our table or occupy intentional space in our life.
I am ashamed that this is still a conversation in the United States in the year 2015.
I’m ashamed when we are confronted by the reality of generations of slavery and abuse, it’s often dismissed with, “Well, I didn’t do it so why should I care?”
There are really great churches that are diverse. Not everyone is racist or prejudiced.
I’m so grateful for that.
We all make mistakes. I understand that as well, but in the case of intentional or unapologetic racism, or choosing to stay ignorant about the fact that it exists. . . how do we respond?
That’s the question that drove me to my knees. This is what I finally grasped.
It’s not shame that is needed, but love.
While my heart is still heavy over this very public incident,
love allows hope to kindle for. . .
Love leads us to pray for racism to be exposed and addressed, especially within this beautiful thing called the church.
Love leads us to pray that, if racism exists within in our heart in any way, that sin be removed.
Love leads us to intentionally make a friend whose culture and race is different from our own.
Love leads us to listen. To hear how racism affects far too many in everyday life, to walk in another person’s shoes.
Love leads us to speak out. Say it with wisdom, but say it. It’s not okay. Your joke. That generalization.
Love leads us to put a face with our words. To think of a beautiful child. A strong woman. A leader. A family. A human being created, loved, and treasured by God.
And when we respond with love, when we hear a chant like the one sung loudly on the OU fraternity bus, we begin to be a part of change.
I’m setting aside shame, determined to love instead. Will you join me in the conversation? Will you join me in prayer?
Will you join me in loving others as He has loved us?