Changing one mind at a time

Published 10:12 pm Friday, July 26, 2013

We’ve gone over the deep end. We are a society out of control in every possible way.

A young black man is shot to death on a street in Florida, and it becomes a race debate in the media and in parlors and coffee shops all across America. The shooter is found not guilty in a court of law, and reactions range from threats on the man’s life and family to thousands of social media comments saying the victim got what he deserved.

We have lost our minds. It is largely because we live in a world of false suppositions. In our minds, we have so many cemented false assumptions that we have become un-teachable. Consequently we are unreachable.

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Within days of Martin’s death, I was hearing from white people that Martin was a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Civil rights leaders were already calling George Zimmerman a long-time cop-wannabe racist with a penchant for violence.

I hadn’t heard any hard facts presented at that point. The mainstream conversation was based upon assumptions — suspicions already present and concrete in our minds. The victim was a young black man? He must have been up to no good. The aggressor was white? Of course it was self-defense.

We like to pat ourselves on the back as though we’ve come so far as a people from Jim Crow laws, but we haven’t.

It seems like a lot of us blacks and whites have just traded in our hatred for one another for a quiet distrust and occasional outright disgust.

I’ve followed the trial, but I don’t claim to know all of the details of it. I don’t need to know all of the details of this or any other trial to know that though I don’t want it, I live a life of relative racial isolation.

Why aren’t there more black people in white churches? Why aren’t there more white people in black churches? Why are there black churches and white churches?

What would it take to chisel away at the concrete of false assumptions in the minds of people in Suffolk? I don’t know, but I’d like to try.

Just like any broken relationship, racial reconciliation won’t happen by accident. We’ve got to intentionally “do life” together if we want life to resonate in our communities.

Trayvon Martin didn’t deserve to die, and neither is he honored by propping up his memory as yet another race-divide.

Racism in every form is a sin. Fellow Christians, fellow church leaders, what would it take to bring us together for the Gospel and the elevation of the minds of our people? I don’t know, but I’d love to try.

“Then if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14 NLT)

I can’t change the world, but I can change the world inside of me. And we can change our community one mind at a time.

Chris Surber is pastor of Cypress Chapel Christian Church in Suffolk. Visit his website at www.chrissurber.com.