I’m white. Very. I call it major Caucasian. Can’t change it much. I burn in the sun pretty quick. I thought that I knew how white I am. I don’t.
Every time a new video or story of racially based brutality hits, it hits me. I feel awful. How can this still be? It hurts because I’m not a racist. At least not intentionally. Is that the problem?
As I look around my life, my community, my church, my neighborhood, my friends — there is not a lot of diversity. I really don’t think about segregation. I don’t choose to exclude people because they are different. None of this was intentional. Now I’m beginning to see that’s the problem.
My routine is comfortable. The places I go, the businesses I frequent — they are about as diverse as my personal friend list. I never really thought about it before, because it wasn’t intentional.
What if Jesus had that same mindset. What if He had just stayed to hang around with those like Him – The Father, The Holy Spirit and all His angel friends. No, Jesus intentionally left what was comfortable and convenient to reach all of humanity.
He intentionally became like those he chose to hang out with. It wasn’t some condescending charity mission. It was an intentional sharing of likeness, solidarity, and friendship without comparison or judgment.
I have often quoted Paul the Apostle from 1st Corinthians 9 in the context of reaching others for Jesus. Yet, I don’t think that these thoughts have ever seemed as connected as they are right now. The goal of verse 22 isn’t just a desire or a hope. Paul says “…I have become all things to all people, so that by all means I may save some.” Verse 26 Paul speaks of reaching the goal. “So I do not run uncertainly or box like one who hits only air.” Achieving any goal requires the discipline of being intentional with our actions.
I don’t want to be a racist in any form, even unintentionally. But if I’m just boxing at the air instead of taking tangible steps to increase the diversity of my every day life… then I am, an unintentional racist.
I can do better. We can do better. No, I’m not going to try and listen to different music or try to act non white. I still can’t jump or dance very well. But I can listen to my neighbor and try to intentionally widen the circle of who that neighbor is. I can be more intentional about who I encounter and why.
I can and will change unintentional into different actions with better intentions. What can you do to make a difference?