Compassion Kills Racism Luke 23:27-28
Praying over the City at Roots Roasting.
January 18, 2019 – Saint Paul, MN
This morning I woke at 5:30 a.m. to hit the gym. That’s not unusual. I do that nearly every day. Most days, I snooze. A few I snooze so much that I never really get to the gym. I figure that’s okay. The greater number of the days, motivation is with me and I start my day with a workout.
Before I go anywhere, I look at my phone. Unsure if that’s what you do, but I can’t seem to help myself. Normally, nothing much has happened in the half dozen hours since I last looked at my phone, yet I just need to check in before I launch my day. Facebook is part of that process and this morning, in the 5 minutes I allowed myself for this indulgence, I saw two racist comments.
I almost used the word “disparaging” instead of racist, but I do not want to minimize this problem or say anything that might reduce the sickening power of these comments, and ultimately, the underlying evils of these thoughts. This is a cancer into our society that must be stopped. PERIOD.
I am debating about sharing these comments, so you’d know exactly what I was talking about. Honestly, I do not want to give these hurtful considerations anymore space, but I do not believe that one can really understand the damaging thrust of these words without knowing what they are. When I consider both, I realize how much we all need to really consider how we relate to each other with a compassionate heart.
One of the comments was as old school as “Indian Giver”. WHAT?!?! I simply could not believe that in 2019 someone would even think of that, let alone type it out. We seriously need to be better than this, and if you are thinking, “What’s so harmful about that?” Let me tell you the origins of this racist comments.
The early settlers would strike a bargain with our Native brothers and sisters, sometimes by force and always without fairness. At times, the Indigenous people would not fully understand the dynamics of the “trade”. There was a language barrier after all. Sometimes the settlers would change the agreed upon terms to their favor, and when a great people rightly stood up for themselves against this unfair treatment, they were called “Indian Giver” or worse. When someone chooses to use such hurtful words, it stirs all this injustice and more.
To the next comment, someone posted a meme that said, paraphrased, “The wall that should have been built was by the Indigenous people to keep the white settlers out.” To which, someone posted something to the effect of, “How could they do that when they are drunk or high all the time.” I hate sharing that. It hurts my heart so much. I can’t believe someone even shared something like that.
If part of your head thinks these same things, I want you to consider that the native people all over the world have been subjected to torture and inhumane treatment at the hand of European colonialists. The after effects of this are long lasting. This inhumane treatment to native people also includes every land white people went into to rape and pillage for our own selfish desires. White people still benefit by this, and we have done little to help people heal. In fact, instead, we continue with racist agendas that elevate white people while depressing others races and cultures.
This is called Historical Trauma**, and just like untreated PTSD, it has lasting emotional effects. Our communities of color have not been allowed to truly heal and be empowered. Things like alcoholism, drug abuse, and a whole host of other chronic problems are simply an outcry of the abuse our friends have suffered and are suffering. What we really should be doing is finding ways to help empower others and to help them heal. What we need now is compassionate hearts.
In Luke 23:27-28, while Jesus is walking down the road about to be crucified, he stops to comfort the mourning women, “Many people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children.”
Here’s Jesus, beat and tortured, all night long. Shamed, humiliated, on his way to his death and he stops to comfort the women who are grieving. This is the sort love we need. The kind that sets our own perspective and our own pain aside and truly considers another. This is the compassion that kills racism. This is the sort of self-sacrificing love that elevates others, considers their pain, and shines a light that heals.
Dear Jesus, we need more of the love and grace you so masterfully modeled. We love because you first loved us. Love only exists because of you. Please help us take self out of the equation so we can see others through your lens of compassion. May I always have a heart for you and for my brothers and sisters. Help me love like you love. In Your Mighty and Holy name…
Please bring your prayer requests forward. You are loved.
**First used by social worker and mental health expert Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart in the 1980s, scholarship surrounding historical trauma has expanded to fields outside of the Lakota communities Yellow Horse Brave Heart studied. For more information, please see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_trauma as a starting point.