My son never stops moving.
One Saturday after finishing his morning chores, he went to the skate park, then the pool. After dinner, he went back to the pool again. In and out of the house he went all day long.
Until he got a splinter. Then everything stopped.
So there’s my strapping teenage son suddenly sitting in a chair in my bedroom focusing on a tiny brown splinter under the skin of his left big toe.
I was summoned.
We turned on a light, grabbed needles and tweezers and honed in on this tiny intrusion that was making every footstep hurt. I wish I had a picture of us tackling this splinter problem intently.
We got the splinter out.
And I went to bed thinking about the realities of sin. When I sin, I send an unwelcome intrusion into the body of Christ and cause the entire motion of the body of Christ to be interrupted unnecessarily…every step. I cause others to stop everything and focus on me. I take up people’s time and energy dealing with my sin: conversation, counseling, prayer and pain.
Sin is like a splinter that stops everything.
Right now our brothers and sisters in America are hurting over the realities of the sin of racism. James 2:9 says, But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. We are members of the human race, each created in the image of God.
And we need to stop and get this splinter out.
I remember the first time I realized there was a splinter called systemic racism. It’s been years ago now, but a student shared that he was the only Black boy at a birthday party attended by white boys. On the way out, the mother of the white birthday boy said, “You were a very well behaved little boy!”
When the student finished, I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t get how what the mother said was racist, so I asked him to explain.
He replied, “She didn’t say that to any of the other little boys, just me.”
It was as if a lightning bolt zinged right through me and pinned me to the floor on which I was standing. I got it. My mind, heart and eyes instantly acquired a new level of understanding and I have noticed such subtleties ever since, in addition to more obvious instances.
We have some choices about how we use our time in this uprising. We can use our time analyzing the Black community’s response of looting and rioting. We can analyze video clips and hold up a man’s criminal record, or we can look through what we are seeing and make an effort to understand where all this anger is coming from. What have Black people been trying to tell us for hundreds of years?
We need to listen to the answer.
“We” is the operative word. This has been a collective sin and will require collective confession and repentance within the church. “Not knowing” is no longer an excuse.
“If any of the common people sin by violating one of the LORD’s commands, but they don’t realize it, they are still guilty. (Leviticus 4:27)
Here are two of the most helpful video messages I have viewed recently. Because of THIS video with a message from Andy Stanley, I am re-committed to being anti-racist, not just racist. Because of THIS video, I am going to beg the Black community to be patient with me as I make inevitable mistakes in my effort to establish authentic relationships across racial lines. Two gentlemen from my church demonstrate what it takes from both sides to make this happen.
Picture Explanation: The world has so much ugly in it right now. I keep looking around asking, “Where is the love?” I am grateful these blooms are happy to share their glory. The last photo was taken on campus this spring. This little bird knew right where to rest for awhile.
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