It's a painful reality that many of us face: What happens when those who God sent to love you, serve you, and liberate you actually hate you, subjugate you and oppress you? When this happens, you not only put up defenses against those who committed the injustices, you also (both consciously and subconsciously) put up defenses against the one who sent them. This can be a complex and confusing experience, especially when the ones who are supposed to represent God on earth act in ways that are contrary to the love and justice that we associate with God.
In the United States, there have been significant strides made toward racial reconciliation, but there is still much work to be done. The Church, in particular, has a responsibility to repent for its complicity in systemic racism and to actively work toward reconciliation. This is not just a matter of addressing past wrongs, but of actively working towards a future where all people are valued and treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve.
Jesus did not die so that we would simply tolerate one another. He died so that we could see God in the other, and see ourselves in the other. By doing so, we can understand that we are all part of the same family and that our differences should be celebrated rather than feared or exploited. This is not always an easy thing to do, but it is essential if we are to build a society that truly reflects God's Kingdom.
One of the key elements of racial reconciliation is recognizing the humanity of those who have been oppressed. This means acknowledging the harm that has been done, listening to the stories of those who have been impacted by racism, and actively working to repair the damage that has been done. It also means recognizing that the work of reconciliation is ongoing and that it requires a commitment to justice and equity at all levels of society.
At the same time, it's important to recognize that reconciliation is not just about addressing the past. It's also about building a future where all people are treated with respect and dignity, and where everyone has the opportunity to thrive, regardless of the color of their skin. This means actively working to dismantle systems of oppression, and creating new systems that promote justice and equality.
Ultimately, the work of racial reconciliation is not just a matter of justice, but of love. It's about recognizing that we are all part of the same family and that our differences should be celebrated rather than feared. It's about creating a society where everyone is valued, and where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. When we can do this, we will truly be building God's Kingdom on earth, and the world will be a more peaceful and loving place for all.
Marc Romyr Antoine
Director of Diaspora Engagement