Surprised by Prejudice

“Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs.” Proverbs 10:12

In response to the horrific tragedies in Dallas just a few miles from my home for four years and the wave of hatred sweeping across our country causing men to kill their brothers, we want to find someone to blame to easy our pain, but that is never enough. The blame band-aid only covers the wound but cannot heal a deep wound that requires surgery. The problem does not lie with a political party, the media, a religious group, or the NRA though they have contributed.

As Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said, “The thin line between good and evil does not run through states or ideologies, but through the heart of every man and woman.” Our nations’ troubles are directly linked to state of every citizen’s heart. It is much easier to blame someone else than to take responsibility for our role in the problem. We have failed to remember that everyone is made in the image of God; therefore, no one should be marginalized or treated differently because of the color of their skin. Christianity has no skin color.

Just over a year ago, I understood in a new light the subtlety of racism, occurring every day in public gathering places. When my friend and I were leaving a film screening, a man approached us and said that my friend’s drink spilled on him while she was walking back to our seats before the film started. I was shocked and gave him an angry look. I wanted to say, “now, would you have walked over to me and said the same thing?”

I was so angry that I could feel my blood pressure rise, then my heart dropped in sadness seeing the pain on her face while that man was accusing her. “Why would he dislike someone that he does not even know and who happens to be of a different skin color?” And then, it dawned on me, fear. When we live in fear, we are distrustful of others and afraid that something we have will be taken away from us. But, if we believe that God created all people uniquely different, and He is a God of abundance and not scarcity, then we would live more in unity with our neighbors.

We have failed to take God’s principles of love and equity seriously. Our black brothers and sisters face inequities in the workplace, home, and education. We have failed as the church to take steps to unite in our efforts to bring change. We have plenty of Christians that talk about love and stay in the walls of the church with others who look and talk like them, but what we need is more Christians who build friendships with people of a different skin color and who are involved in helping eliminate the inequities. We have no choice but to unite or as Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “we will perish together as fools.”

If every person commits to taking action to solve racial equities, then we will see real change in our culture. I do not mean just giving to organizations, while that is needed. Heart change happens in relationships and not through your checkbook. My parent’s involvement in The Family Foundation Fund for over 15 years that mentors young boys into manhood through education, leadership, and spiritual development is a model to me of active involvement to reducing the rate of 85% of fatherless youth age boys in prison. Only love dispels hate and prejudice. How are you loving your black brothers and sisters by building strong friendships and networks to support them through seasons of life? We are image-bearers of God and family, so it is time to start living like that is true.

-Mary Carmen Englert


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