We can begin to see anew. Our love-lacking actions and words do not define us, but they do inform us. We can integrate the perspective of those we hurt into our own eyes and thereby work toward redemption and justice. We can believe that we are loved and work toward loving those around us. It’s a journey of more than a few steps and no one we can make it alone, but it is possible and even joyful.
I want to live as if simple, mustard-seed-sized acts of loving God by loving others can change the whole system. I want to look into the face of those around me and see the image of God in them especially the ones I have a hard time loving or the ones the world views as insignificant or unworthy of attention.
I am sorry for my own prejudice. And I’m sorry for dismissing racism as history ignoring that the past bleeds into the present.
I have often said that throughout my life I want to say honestly that those who are closest to me would feel the most loved. In other words, I want to be like Arthur Schultz.
So for those of you who feel this far more personally than I do, who have witnessed the system working against themselves and their communities, I’m sorry that I was too afraid to stand with you even in this very small way. That was cowardly.
There’s this stubborn uncomfortable thing about grace though. Yes it’s free in that it is a gift to the one who receives it, but it is costly to the one who gives it. As the recipient of grace, I see its cost, and I can’t help but be changed by it.
In the last two years, I have learned that I must talk about ideas and doctrine and beliefs, but I must talk about them in the context of my own story. For a person to want the Gospel, he must see how it’s relevant. When it comes down to it, if I am to be on mission I must be willing to be vulnerable.
There’s a story about G. K. Chesterton, a Christian Englishman and writer from the 19th Century. In response to an article in the newspaper which finished with the question, “What’s wrong with the world?”, Chesterton wrote a letter to the editor which said simply, “I am.” I identify with that. I am more often than I care to admit part of the problem. I’m frequently one of the ones in the way of Dr. King’s dream becoming a reality.
Despite the fact that life got harder, that my cares were mounting, I hadn’t lost the respect of others around me. No, I had the respect of all those who mattered in my life. But . . . I wasn’t satisfied. It wasn’t enough. I came to find out I needed love more than respect. I had to risk losing respect to take a step closer to intimacy.
Now, I believe that such longing for our final home, the fully realized Kingdom of God, is a good thing. However, I know I can be guilty of forgetting that God is in the business of redemption even now.