What’s an Australian white man from Melbourne doing writing about riots in America for? Who does he think he is, and why does he think he can have a voice in the complex cocktail of chaos?
I asked myself the same questions as I thought of writing this blog.
My answer? Because I care, because this matters to me, and because, if you’re reading this, I believe it matters to you too and you need to know that there is a way through this.
You see I lived in Los Angeles for three years.
And I witnessed racism all around me nearly every single day.
From White to Black, Black to White, Asian to White, White to Asian, Hispanic to White, White to Hispanic… need I go on?
And I want it to stop. For America’s sake, for Australia’s sake and for my children’s sake.
You see, my sons and my daughter are mixed race kids growing up in a white neighborhood here in Australia where I’ve seen more racism than I dare to recall.
This issue is universal.
The riots in America are totally understandable. When I saw the footage of what happened to George Floyd I thought to myself, “If I was there I think i’d riot too.” It’s infuriating that this could happen in 2020, in broad daylight, with people all around and no one wearing a uniform stepping in or stepping up to save that precious man’s life.
I am angry. America is angry.
And so America is rioting, but let me be clear, while this is in huge part about a white cop killing a black man, it’s also about a much bigger and deeper problem.
It’s also about an ingrained disease in the soul of humanity.
A “me first” idolatry.
Me first, my family first, my rights first, my people first. Me, me, me.
And as long as this is about me, myself, and I, we will always discriminate and we will always hate.
The only cure to this cancer is selflessness, forgiveness, true freedom.
So what’s this got to do with religion?
Everything, when it comes to Christ and Christianity.
America wants and needs a revolution, and Jesus started the greatest revolution in history, when He came to earth and gave His life for you and me.
From the beginning of His ministry, Jesus showed us how to overcome this world and it’s systems and strategies of segregation and oppression, when He saved a Samaritan woman (the racial enemy of His Jewish people in His day).
He lived His life for others, regardless of their ethnicity or agenda, up until His dying breath.
Jesus said, as He was beaten by Roman officials (the police of his day) and left hung out for dead, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) In doing so, He not only demonstrated to us how to love our enemies, even those that would seek to kill us, but He showed us that love is stronger than hate, and that love can conquer any plan of the devil to destroy us and all those around us.
You see Jesus’ life wasn’t taken from Him, He laid it down for a greater purpose.
The Bible says that God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son [Jesus], so that whoever believes in Him will not perish (die for eternity) but will have eternal life. (John 3:16).
You see the penalty for your sin was death, but the gift of God for you was that He died that death for you, so that in Him your soul could live forever.
But you have to understand this, Jesus wasn’t sent as one who had no choice in this rescue mission for humanity’s salvation, He chose to lay down His life, for you.
He wanted you to be free, so much so that He gave up His life for you, with no question of your race, your religion, or your politics. He simply wanted you back in relationship with Him, and not even death could stop Him in His pursuit of you.
Jesus said in John 10:18, “No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again…”
Jesus died, and He rose again, conquering death, conquering all sin including racism, selfishness and shame.
And so I ask myself this question now, what if we chose to follow His example in this time, and instead of making this all about me, myself and I, we made this about something greater, we made this about the other.
What if instead of burning cars we burned candles for all the officers killed in the line of duty protecting their communities?
What if instead of looting, we gave sacrificially from what we have, to the family of George Floyd, and all those that have lost their sons and brothers to police brutality, gang violence, bigotted vigilante’s and just straight up selfish racist humanity.
What if we layed down our lives instead of seeking to take anothers.
What if we looked at those on the “other side of the fence” and said, “Father forgive them.” What if, as Jesus did to Judas before he betrayed him, we washed their feet.
What President Trump washed George Floyd’s family’s feet? What if police would wash the feet of the protestors? What if the protestors would wash the feet of the police?
What if we could love and honour the other. Seeing them as more valuable than ourselves, no matter their intentions, their past, their politics, or their colour.
We’d start to get free.
We’d start to heal.
We’d start to create the kind of world I want my children to grow up in.
A world that says, “Devil, not today, not tomorrow, not ever. You will not divide us, you will not defeat us. You are the defeated one, and I will follow the example of The One who defeated you. Like Jesus, I will choose to love. I will choose my brother over me, even my brother that is seeking to betray and to kill me, and I will rise again. I will rise with healing, with peace, and with victory for all eternity.”
America, I’m praying for you tonight. Australia I’m praying for you too. Indeed I pray for this whole planet, that we would embrace Jesus, His life, His love, His example.
There is no other name under which we can be saved but the name of Jesus. And I believe there is also no other example that can revive America right now than the example of Jesus.
You before me. Your people before my people. Your life before my life.
I love you.