(from an April 2015 post)
Once, a man named Zacchaeus had a position of influence and power in his society. His life benefited from his position at the expense of his neighbors. When he finally encountered the path to Freedom, his first impulse was to make things right with those he had hurt.
If you are white, (And yes, it’s okay to say this. Just a few decades ago, our grandparents accepted this label gladly and without question as it gave them advantages in their lives. It wouldn’t hurt to use the label a little longer to help make things right.) you likely didn’t create the idea of owning black people, or hanging them from trees, or labeling things in your town “whites only,” or making policies and laws that kept black people from voting or in the prison system, BUT, all of these things (and worse) did happen, some of them are still happening, and a big part of the reason these statistics are true…
…is the residual and unaddressed effects of the way white folks have treated black folks over the years (and no, it’s not better now than it used to be… ask a black friend).
So when Baltimore, or Ferguson, or other outbursts of frustration and anger happen, the fastest and truest way to healing is following this simple guide:
Black brothers and sisters,
We were wrong. We are sorry. We love you.
(and listen to the response)
Try it. And don’t worry, you don’t have as much to lose as your ego might tell you. If you don’t know what we’re sorry for, ask a black friend. If you don’t have one, try to make one. How? Try the #BaltimoreChallenge.
And ESPECIALLY if you consider yourself a follower of Jesus, pay close attention. Read this again, meditate openly on it, and don’t assume you’re NOT Zacchaeus. The Church had a chance to lead out in love before and we missed it because we thought too highly of ourselves… we’re getting another chance. Don’t miss it. It’s not about them this time, it’s about us. “8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house…”