One day, Jesus told a story of a Jewish man who was robbed and left to die. A priest walked by and saw him yet continued on his way. Then a Levite came by and he also ignored the dying man. Later, a person of Samaritan ethnicity traveled by. He had compassion on the wounded victim, treated his wounds, and rescued him. The Samaritan exhibited love for his neighbor, but the priest and religious leader did nothing. They didn’t beat the man, nor did they rob him. Their sin wasn’t in what they did, but in what they didn’t do. Sometimes inaction is complicity. Sometimes silence is a sin.
Racism, in a multitude of forms, has inflicted immeasurable suffering. As such, the church of Jesus should not simply walk by and do nothing. Teesha Hadra and John Hambrick have written an excellent book on how Christians can actively resist racism in our society. Black and White – Disrupting Racism One Friendship at a Time (Abingdon Press) provides a path forward for those who feel helpless and ill-equipped in confronting both personal and systemic racism. The divisions and disparity created by racism are far-reaching and overwhelming. What can we do in the face of such a deeply embedded evil? We can listen and learn from one another. We can lift our voices and show up in the public square. We can confess and repent and make amends for the sins of the past. We can push back with acts of kindness and compassion, building relationships and creating a community of respect and inclusion. Hadra and Hambrick share, “It is time for Christians to roll up their sleeves and decide that enough is enough. It is time to do the work that the gospel requires of us.”
The evils of bigotry and institutional racism have been embedded in our nation since its inception. Sadly, the church has often, though not always, been on the wrong end of the issue. While it’s true we no longer enslave our neighbors while quoting scriptures in defense of our cruelty, it is also true that we often walk by and do nothing when we encounter injustice and oppression. Our sin is one of silence. Our inaction renders us complicit. We say it isn’t our problem and walk on, leaving our black and brown brothers and sisters wounded and impoverished by our indifference. Will we be the church that loves our neighbor? Will we do the work of God’s kingdom? Will we walk by in silence? The choice is before us.
-Darrel Holcombe, Owner
Sanctuary Christian Books and Gifts
Colonial Promenade, Alabaster