"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."
This just isn't true.
Many of us have used this phrase as a shield, attempting to slow the searing pain that words cause. It has been thrown back at those who have sought to hurt us with their words attempting to strip them of their power. It has been screamed through tears. Pushed out of lungs that surround a breaking heart. We may say this, but it is not true.
The things we say, and the things we hear, have the power to cut us more deeply than any physical injury.
This is why the demonstrations in Charlottesville are so dangerous. Those who would promote hate are attempting to hide behind tolerance. They make the argument that if society really were as tolerant as it claims, their views should be heard. Their views of hate. Their views of intolerance. Their views of superiority and desires for oppression.
I am not going to speak about this from a political or state perspective, but from a Christian one. From a Christian perspective we are called to love, honour, and cherish everyone. This does not mean that we are to allow anyone to have any kind of opinion, however.
It means we are called to stand against anyone who claims they are better than anyone else. It means we are to name this racist attitude as sin, and condemn it. It means we are called to stand with those who are being singled out as being the problem.
It also means we are to work to change the minds of those who have this attitude. I am not sure how to do this, but it is what we are called to do. We can't simply keep our heads down and hope this all blows over. Nor can we simply stand on a soap box and condemn.
As much as we would like to think this attitude is not present in our community, it is. I have been shocked at the offhand comments, and attitudes I have encountered in this community.
This needs to stop.
Racism has NO place in a community that calls Jesus Lord. Jesus commands us to be something else.
"You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."