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Today’s post was written by and used with permission from Rusty Wright.

Anti-racism has become a global obsession, and rightfully so.  Racism and racial oppression are repulsive.  And, BTW, I don’t have a racist bone in my body.  Or so I thought.  (continued below)

A white person holding a protest sign that says, " I understand that I will never understand, but I stand with you. #BLM"
Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash.

Lots of people have dark sides.  Maybe everyone.

I do.

“Kramer” meltdown

Several years back, comedian Michael Richards – “Kramer” on TV’s Seinfeld – saw his racist tirade at African-American hecklers ignite a firestorm.   Richards apologized profusely.  Prominent African-American comic Paul Mooney said Richards told him privately he “didn’t know he had that ugliness in him.”

I could identify with Richards’ surprise at his darker inner impulses.  My own failing was private rather than public, differing in degree but not in kind.  It taught me valuable lessons.

Growing up in the US South, I learned from my parents and educators to be racially tolerant and accepting in a culture that often was not: segregated schools, neighborhoods, restrooms, drinking fountains, and more.  Racism still makes my blood boil.  For decades, I’ve sought to promote racial fairness.  But an important discovery early on fueled this mission.

Surprised and shocked by…myself

One summer during university, I joined several hundred students – most of us Caucasian – for a South Central Los Angeles outreach project in primarily African-American neighborhoods.  We spent a weekend living in local residents’ homes, attending their churches, and meeting people in the community. 

A friend and I enjoyed generous hospitality from a wonderful couple.  Sunday morning, their breakfast table displayed a mountain of delicious food.  Our gracious hostess wanted to make sure our appetites were completely satisfied.  It was then, eying that bountiful spread, that it hit me.

I realized that for the first time in my life, I was living in a Black family’s home, sitting at “their” table, eating “their” food, using “their” utensils.  Something inside me reacted negatively. 

The strange feeling was not anger or hatred, more like mild aversion.  Not powerful, not dramatic, certainly not expressed.  But neither was it rational or pleasant or honorable or at all appropriate.  It horrified and shamed me, especially since I had recently become a follower of Jesus.

Inner battles

The feeling only lasted a few moments.  But it taught me important lessons about prejudice.  Much as I might wish to deny it, I had repulsive inner emotions that, if expressed, could cause terrible pain.  I who prided myself on racial openness had to deal with inner bigotry.  How intense must such impulses be in those who are overtly less accepting?  Maybe similar inner battles – large or small – go on inside many people. 

Holocaust survivor Yehiel Dinur testified during the trial of Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi leader responsible for killing millions of Jews.  With Eichmann present in the courtroom, suddenly Dinur sobbed and collapsed to the floor.  Dinur later explained:  “I was afraid about myself.  I saw that I am capable to do this … Exactly like he. …Eichmann is in all of us.”

Heart Rx

Jeremiah, an ancient Jewish sage, wrote, “The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (Jeremiah 17:9)  A prescription from one of Jesus’ friends helped me overcome my inner struggles that morning in South Central:  “If we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth.  But if we confess our sins to [God], he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.” (1 John 1:8-9)

Lots of people have dark sides.  Maybe everyone.  Maybe you.

Could there be some of Michael Richards’ flaws – or mine or others’ – in all of us, inner compulsions that could benefit from divine help?

Where society’s racist laws, policies, and practices need changing, we should change them.  But it would be a mistake to neglect the need to change individual human hearts.

Rusty Wright is an author and lecturer who has spoken on six continents.  He holds Bachelor of Science (psychology) and Master of Theology degrees from Duke and Oxford universities, respectively.

Dear friends, my heart is heavy at the news of what has happened recently to George Floyd, and far too many times to other people of colour. We usually only hear about the devastating cases, but if you know any people of colour, they will tell you that this is not an isolated incident. More horrific than some perhaps, but all the insults, threats, and injustices directed toward people of colour based solely on the colour of their skin are wrong. 

For the last few months all of my posts have been about love. Jesus gave a new commandment to his disciples to love each other as he has loved us. (John 13:34) He said that the greatest commandment is to love God, and the second is like it—to love each other. (Matthew 22:37-39) Love does no wrong to a neighbour. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:10) We are to follow the example God gave us, and love as he would. (Ephesians 5:1-2) 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 gives us plenty of concrete ways to show that love. 

Before I started the series on love, I did a series on who we are in Christ. God sees us, all of us, as Christ's brothers and sisters; we are joint heirs with Christ. (Romans 8:16-17) We are all valued by God. But God doesn’t admire the same things we do. He does not look at the outward appearance, but at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7) He does not look at height, or appearance, and he certainly doesn’t look at skin colour. He looks at our hearts. Did you notice how much importance God puts on love? Dear friends, let us love one another as God has loved us. 

My post today will have some specific Canadian content. I know that many of my readers live in the United States and other parts of the world. This post will still be relevant to you, because the issue crosses all borders, and because the lessons we can learn from the Word of God apply to all of us. So, please keep reading.
I don’t usually get involved in political discussions. Most issues in politics don’t have a right or wrong answer. They just have my opinion and your opinion answers. This issue is, in Canada right now, a political matter, but it is above all a matter of justice. The issue is human trafficking, and specifically human trafficking for the purposes of prostitution.

This week, Bill C-36 was adopted by the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. It still has a couple of steps to go through before it will be passed; these will take place after Parliament resumes in September.

This Bill is only the beginning of dealing with the issue of sex trafficking in Canada, but it puts us steps ahead of most places in the world. As citizens who believe in justice, you really need to take time to be informed about it. Many have said that prostitution should be legalized, and that people should be able to make their own choices about what they do to earn a living. The problem is that more than 90% of the people who are offering sexual services for money are being forced to do it either because they are in debt to someone, or because they are being threatened by someone. And there are others who do it, yes by choice, but only because they are desperate for money to feed their family or pay their bills. Is a last resort really a choice? If prostitution is legalized, the legal authorities no longer have the same degree of power to protect those who are being exploited. Research some of the places that have tried it—The Netherlands, Germany—and you will see that it didn’t really work out as well as they had hoped. Criminal activity increased rather than decreased.

In Proverbs 31:1-9, King Lemuel’s mother is giving him some advice on how to be a good and effective ruler. In Proverbs 31:8-9, her advice is to speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves. Literally this means to speak for those who don’t have the physical capacity to speak, but it is a figure of speech known as hypocatastasis. It implies a comparison. In other words, if we are to promote justice as we are required to do according to Micah 6:8, then the ruler, the judge, needs to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves whatever the reason may be. In our democratic society today, we are actually the rulers; it is our votes that choose our representatives. We need to speak up for those who are being oppressed, who are being silenced by threats, who don’t have any power to stand up and speak for themselves. We need to let our voices be heard by those who hold the political power, and who make the laws that govern our land. What kind of society do you want for your children?
Please, get informed about this issue, and then let your Member of Parliament (or other political representative) know how you feel.

In Canada, you can find contact information for your Member of Parliament, by entering your postal code here.

To help get you started on finding out more, here are some links that might be helpful:

Hope For The Sold

MP Joy Smith’s website and specifically a list of news reports regarding human trafficking

Facebook Page: Support Bill C-36

When you are ready to get involved to make a difference, check out Marilyn Luinstra's blog.