Charlottesville: Here’s how you get even!
Written by Miles McPherson
The tension must’ve been suffocating in Charlottesville, VA, as white nationalists gathered to attend a “Unite the Right” rally on Saturday, August 12th and a group of counter-protesters also gathered confronted them. The encounter quickly turned violent and tragically culminated when nazi-sympathizer James Alex Fields Jr. drove a gray Dodge Challenger into the crowd of counter-protesters.
In the attack, 19 people were injured and 32-year old Heather D. Heyer, a Charlottesville paralegal was killed. Members of the crowd captured the scene in a chilling, detailed video. Fields has since been charged with 2nd degree murder, but the nation appears far from resolving this conflict.
“…if this season in American history breaks your heart, you’re in excellent company…”
We should all be clear that there are not two reasonable sides to this issue. Racism, white nationalism, and nazi-ism are demonic ideologies conceived in the pit of hell. They’re anti-Christian, and anti-human. John 10:10 says that “the thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy,” and any time you’re carrying out any of those actions—stealing, killing, or destroying life—you’re working for the thief, Satan himself.
These are difficult days, and it can be easy to get discouraged by what seems like the almost daily barrage of tragic and divisive events and news stories. But if this season in American history breaks your heart, you’re in excellent company—I believe it breaks God’s heart too.
After all, God’s goal is unity in love—all people and things working together. But love grows on the bedrock of relationships. Where there is no relationship, there cannot be love. Racism, on the other hand, is a tool wielded by the devil to create division. Where division exists, relationships cannot exist and, therefore, love cannot grow.
Biblically speaking, Christians have a responsibility to be the “light of the world” [Matthew 3:14]. God commands us: “Let your light so shine before men, that they see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” [v. 16]. Unfortunately, “11 o’clock on Sunday morning is one of the most segregated hours, if not the most segregated hour in Christian America,” as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said. What a weak commentary on the love of God! What a dim light we shine on the world!
I believe that many people may not understand what it means to be a “light,” so I want to explain that a little bit. 1 John 1:5 says that, “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.” So, if God is light, to let our light shine means to let God shine—to show Him to the world. It means to make God visible, like a city on a hill. And how do we show God to the world? By loving, “for God is love” [1 John 4:8]. If we can do that, and show that we “have love for one another,” the world will know that we are His disciples [John 13:35]. Now that is a powerful and accurate commentary on God’s love.
So, for those who are looking at our nation and, like God, are heartsick over the current state, for those who are wracking their brains trying to figure out what can be done in such a time as this, I have a simple yet powerful answer. In order to get even, you have to love somebody different—a person who doesn’t look like you, talk like you, or think like you. A person who makes you feel uncomfortable to be around because of how different you are—that’s who you need to find, develop a relationship with, and ultimately grow to love and need.
This past Sunday, I challenged my church to reach out to someone who doesn’t look like them and do just that. I also asked them to share that experience with their sphere of influence, sharing it on social media with the hashtag #LoveSomebodyDifferent. I’d like to invite and encourage you to check it out and contribute to the hashtag as well. Imagine how powerful it will be when the world sees the church breaking down the barriers, and displaying love on a national scale.
My challenge to us all is, if we really want things to get better, we have to “put some skin in the game.” Not only does this movement have the power to heal our hurting nation, but it could also be one of the most palpable evidences of God’s love that the world has seen. So be an instrument of God’s love today, and #LoveSomebodyDifferent.