Theology Politics Current Events Christian Living Relationships/Family Identity

Comforting Those in Need

Jeremy Williams

Recently I wrote an article that got a lot of attention for its content, but I believe some missed the heart behind it. There is a racially charged problem in our society. These events have taken place on the streets of some of our most prominent cites, and most recently, our universities.

These events have led to the Black Lives Matter movement and immigration issues. Unless you have been under a rock for the past two years, you have seen the escalating problems between the United States police force and the African American community, as well as the rhetoric that has led to a mass generalization of our Hispanic brothers and sisters.

Police and the African-American Community

For a long time, I always knew there was a strange tension between the police and the people in my community. When I was a child, I never understood why I was told not to trust the law enforcement, but to always respect them. To say Yes sir and No sir, not to make quick movements, all in the hopes of surviving my encounter with police.

These instructions were strange to me until at nine years of age, I found myself with two guns pointed at me because I was thought to have participated in a shooting that happened a block away. I was thrown on the hood of a squad car, and questioned for running across the street. It was assumed I had to be running from the scene of a crime.

There plenty of other reasons why I shouldn’t trust police, but I understand these were the action of a few bad fruit, and not the whole tree. The problem is these types of discrimination happen so often in the African-American community that it leads to a distrust of those who actually try to help.

To make things worse, some officers have been found innocent of any wrong doing when killing unarmed black men and women. History, statistics, and events portray there has often been a problem with police and the African-American community.

United States and Immigration 

My in-laws are Haitian immigrants. My wife and her family moved to the States in 2001. I’m not an expert, or even a novice in the topic of Immigration. What I do know is this there has been sweeping generalizations made about Hispanics, due in part to a certain Republican candidate.

Whatever the media depicts about a group of people, we tend to believe it, whether it’s true or not. This particular lie is the worst of people come from Mexico. No matter the country they come from, all of our Hispanic brothers and sisters are not murders, rapists, or thugs. They are also more valuable than just for “jobs we don’t want to work”.

Hispanics have made huge contribution to this country. This does not condone anyone in this country illegally, but we need to find a venue that does not dehumanize the Hispanic community and come to a solution that doesn’t rob them of their dignity.

Answering the So-What Question?

These Social Justice issues matter because, yes, all lives matter. I know this phrase is used by some as a way to ignore or distance themselves from the social issues in this country, but it’s true. All Lives Matter should not be a rebuttal to the Black Lives Matter movement, or when considering immigration.

Those who misuse this phrase need to truly press into others’ pain to empower and help bring dignity to all people groups. Most use this phrase as an off-handed way of saying black lives or immigration doesn’t matter. But as Christians, we should see the wrong in an unarmed black person being shot dead, or a Hispanic being labeled in an undignified way. The most important part is some being harassed by police, and falsely characterized by the media are our brothers and sisters in Christ.

This is essential because of Ephesians 2:14-22 and 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. The former lets us know it doesn’t matter what ethnicity we were born into; if you are Christian, we are a family united in love through the blood of Jesus Christ. The latter lets us know we should comfort those in affliction, because God comforts us in our own afflictions.

In short, when one family member hurts, we should all hurt. Sadly, I do not see that compassion in the majority of the Christian community. It shouldn’t, and doesn’t matter what you think about the Black Lives Matter movement, or immigration matters movement.

What really matters is there are two groups of people in suffering, whether by racism, discrimination, or the government itself. Some of those are of the household of faith. Instead of siding with our favorite news outlets, or political candidate, we need to offer comfort to those who are afflicted because God offers us the same comfort in our affliction. Before we are Black, White, Hispanic, or any other ethnicity, we are Christian first.  Meaning we do what Jesus would have done, no matter your zip code, political party, or skin color. 

Where to Go From Here 

Obviously there is a multitude of problems in this country. There are people all over this nation in different communities who need comfort. But none are as front and center as the racial divide and immigration debate in this country.

I pray God shows you the hurt and pain that exists in the African-American and Hispanic community, because of these issues, even if you don’t see the need for or understand the Social Justice movements.
I pray you show the same comfort to others in their affliction as God did for you in yours.
I pray you see your Christian family, which includes hundreds of ethnicities, thousands of languages, comes before your zip code, political party, yes even your denominational affiliation. Let’s press into each other’s pain like real families do, and spend more time comforting each other.

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