On July 8, I posted this scripture passage on my Logan Leadership Facebook page: “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone” – Romans 12:18, NLT.
I had set the post up in advance… before I knew how violent the following few weeks would be. We are faced with racial violence beyond the scope of anything I’ve seen since the Civil Rights movement. Of course, it made me wonder—specifically as a white person—“What I can do? What will change things?”
There are a lot of different potential answers to that question. It might mean engaging in some hard conversations. It might mean being intentional about engaging in a wider cross-section of society. For everyone, it will almost certainly mean looking at each person as a human being made in the image of God and worthy of respect.
I recently released a new book on discipleship, and I found myself wondering how the world might look differently if everyone was living as disciples of Jesus. It would certainly not be perfect—as we are all still sinful and living in a fallen world. But what if each one of us was honestly doing our best to live and love like Jesus did? Serving others? Transforming personally? Bringing about positive change in our communities?
It would look a lot different than it does now.
Changing violence is about changing hearts. It’s about growing closer to the likeness of Jesus. How can we as followers of Jesus respond and engage in a way that is loving and compassionate vs. a knee jerk reaction? What can we do to lower the temperature and raise the level of discourse? What can we do out of response to a changed heart within us?
I reflect on the value I experienced working with Chuck Ridley, my co-author on the discipleship book and an African-American man. I have asked Chuck to be a guest blogger on this topic next week, and agreed I would post whatever he wrote unedited. There is innate value in hearing differences in perspective and background. As we listen and interact with people from different cultures, we can be enriched and grow.
That includes African-American culture. For most white Americans, we don’t have to go far. But we do have to go. And that will be uncomfortable.
“Why am I even bothering to do this?” Rob thought to himself as he stacked the chairs. The sky outside the window was darkening, and he could hear the last of the cars pulling out of the church parking lot.We invest a lot of time, thought and energy into our discipleship efforts. We teach classes, […]