Becky Gillespie: A call to white Christians
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. John 15:12
My heart weeps. For too long white Christians have ignored the cries of those around us.
Our own shouts of personal salvation and patriotism drown out the voices of those around us — those whom we have pushed to the side, whom we have ignored, whom we have harmed.
We read our Bibles and pray to God, but we are complacent and complicit. We are complacent in our churches, keeping things comfortable for ourselves, separated from those outside our congregations.
We are complicit in keeping others as less than us, by supporting the idea of color blindness, which silences people of color, and by not speaking or acting out against racism that has continued to oppress others in our community and our society at large.
But no longer can we claim ignorance. No longer can we ignore what is all around us.
Although we all are sinners, being a sinner is not a justification for continuing on this same path of complacency and complicity. Having Jesus as our savior does not give us license to sin freely, nor does it allow us to just say “sorry” and move on.
As followers of Christ, we are called to repent from our sins. Christian repentance includes sorrow and regret, but it is much more than this. It is a complete turning away from the sinful action and a turning back toward God.
My fellow white Christians, we are being called today to repent from the sin of racism. The cries of Black, indigenous, Latinx and other people of color reach our ears.
It is time for us to reject the ideas and actions that cause us to view non-whites as inferior and that cause us to create and maintain systems of oppression. It is time for us to turn back to God and uphold Jesus’s command to love our neighbors as ourselves.
We can do this by becoming lifelong learners of the history of race in our society and churches and of the systemic patterns of injustice; by listening to others, building relationships and practicing radical empathy; by committing to acts that create a just society.
We know the good we ought to do, and if we do not do it, it is sin for us. Let us sin no more. Starting now, let us change our path away from complacency and complicity in sustaining racism.
Let us turn toward God and do the work to love our neighbors as ourselves. Let us love all our neighbors as Jesus loves us.
Becky Gillespie lives in Nevada City.
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