I can’t get away from events that have happened this week, culminating in the awful riots that are taking place in Minneapolis, and other places across the country.

I really believe that racism in any form is never okay and should never be tolerated!

My heart aches for our brothers and sisters who have not been heard, or listened to, about their struggles. I normally do not get involved in politically charged topics or events, but I just felt like I needed to say something, and not be silent.

First of all, I’m reminded of these words from Elsie Wiesel, the Auschwitz survivor and Nobel Laureate, famously stated; “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”

For too long, many faith leaders have not known how to correctly create a Gospel community for all people. Not just creating a safe place for all people, but living the concept of loving beyond ourselves, beyond our neighborhood to deliberately reach across the street and bring in those who look and act different than our typical circle of relationships.

Reconciliation and Restoration is a Discipleship issue.

Race and reconciliation is a conversation that can be polarizing and even hostile. Emotions of fear, frustration, fatigue and indifference—or even anger rise up in the hearers. But we are the Church, and as people who have submitted to being conformed into the image of Christ, we are called to be peacemakers and ministers of reconciliation. We should want to see God’s image bearers redeemed and God’s family united.

What if I lived in fear for my safety and that of my family? What if, through it all, I didn’t think my voice was being heard? What if incorrect assumptions were made about my character or intentions? What would I do?

I do not know.

Grace and peace to those who are living with this reality. God forgive me for any arrogance that would keep me from loving someone who is struggling in ways I cannot understand. God help me to listen, to care.

I am not one who likes to speak publicly about divisive issues. I like to see both sides and respect my friends who have differing opinions.

People—human beings, created by God, loved by God—should NOT have to fear for their lives because of the color of their skin. Parents should not have to teach their black children how to appear non-threatening to law enforcement and white passersby. Our black brothers and sisters should not be stripped of their humanity, their individuality and their rights because they are being reduced to one defining characteristic— the color of their skin.

Those of us who have been born with the privilege of lighter skin need to remember that we have DONE NOTHING to deserve this privilege and we need to be willing to use this privilege to protect and advocate for those who are being discriminated against.

I’m sorry that I haven’t been a better advocate. I’m sorry for the times I’ve been silent or ignored subtly racist statements and laughed off racist jokes because I was uncomfortable or wanted to maintain the peace. My black brothers and sisters deserve better than that. I need to do better.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer!