I never thought there would be a day that I would read an Arnold Schwarzenegger quote and think that he was right on the money, but his comments about what the president of the United States has an obligation to say in response to hatred on display got me thinking about more of what I’d like to see. An author friend of mine started a post on her Facebook wall asking for a respectful discussion pro or against removing statues of confederate leaders, and viewing the many responses of “good” Christian men and women my heart is left longing.
My analytical mind wants to educate. I search for the words that will help someone who is proud of the history associated with the confederacy understand how contradictory it is to expect us as a nation to remember and praise certain parts of our history, while simultaneously saying that we should just get over other parts. I want people to understand that in some cases the dozens of public and privately funded monuments were designed with the intention of keeping “Colored” folks in line by reminding them of the past they were fighting to move beyond. In my mind, it should be easy to remember and respect the past and our ancestors while simultaneously seeing the error of their ways so we don’t repeat the same mistakes.
So I’m perplexed by Christians, intelligent, God-fearing, law-abiding Christians who are confused by what side of the line our faith should place us on.
Yes, I’ve heard time and time again how love is the only answer and I agree. I see many people online stating that only God can change hearts, and I agree with that as well. But I wonder, what exactly do we think Jesus would do?
A few years ago, the acronym “WWJD” was plastered on t-shirts and wristbands and for at least a while people were asking themselves how Jesus would respond rather than only thinking about ourselves. So when I think about what my Savior, who laid down His life for all, might do, the answer seems so obvious to me.
I find it hard to believe that when confronted with the pain of another, Jesus would spout rhetoric about history since He was quick to correct leaders when they thought the law was more important than the people. So I will focus on the person in front of me rather than a collective and subjective past.
I don’t believe my God would choose allowing injustice for fear of opening the Pandora’s box of our country’s oppressive history, because He has never turned from anyone’s pain. So I will confront wrong when I see it.
When I consider what Jesus might be tweeting, I doubt that he would have been condemning “both sides” for their roles rather than clearly proclaiming that He sees no difference in people and anyone who is spouting hate and superiority is wholeheartedly wrong. So I will not stand by and justify the wrong of one in order to excuse the wrong of another.
When you listen to some, it could be easy to get confused, but God has given us specific instructions on how to handle these types of situations. He’s given directions to the oppressed and the oppressor. We just have to obey.
You see, Isaiah 1:17 says that as a believer I should, “do good; seek justice [and] correct oppression.” There’s no mention about protecting our individual comfort by sacrificing the comfort of another. Just clear, do what is right, do away with what is wrong. Immortalizing the people and situations that supported wrong can’t possibly meet that command.
I looked at Romans 14 to see how sometimes good things can be misunderstood. I know that often times what’s good for one may not be seen that way by another, so God challenges us to be careful that our good things don’t get in the way of God things. Although I may see little wrong with a historical figure, as a Christian I have to ask myself, will supporting this piece of metal point people to the cross, or repel them?
I’ve been waiting to hear from Christian authors, leaders and yes, all those pastors who have previously encouraged us to vote with our faith. I want to hear about what other actions our faith should challenge us to take. I may not be a theologian, but as both a Christian and a person who aspires to be Christ-like (yes, there is a difference) a quick word of advice. If the Bible tells us rather than sin we should be willing to cut off our own arm, do you think Jesus would be protesting for the protection of this statue?
If not, then you know where you should stand.