Tara is a 37-year-old Caucasian mother of 14-year-old twin boys, who favor their Ugandan Dad. When they were babies, Tara received lots of sweet comments about how adorable her boys were, and while she’d like to believe that people would always assume their innocence, she lives in fear as they become young men. She has taught them not to walk with their hands in their pockets, or to wear the hood on their sweaters. She teaches them which words they cannot say, forbids certain music, and has a strict curfew. She is adamant on knowing who their friends are, and prefers all their gatherings are at her house so her boys don’t have to walk home at night.
Lia’s parents moved to Ontario, Canada from Hangzhou, China 44 years ago, just 3 months before she was born. Lia has been back to the country of her heritage twice in her lifetime, once when she was 12, and once when she was 23, on her honeymoon. Until the beginning of this year, Lia felt like she belonged in North America, a country of opportunity and freedom for all. Since January though, she has avoided going out in public as much as possible. People who would once return her now masked smile, look at her as though she carries a disease. She feels ostracized from society, even though she is just as much Canadian as her Scottish neighbor.
Hannah and Matt are newlyweds, both with blonde hair and blue eyes. They are actively involved in their church and community in Chicago, Illinois, and have recently begun a Foster-To-Adopt program together. Matt is a police officer, and Hannah struggles with the fear of losing her husband every time he pulls out of their driveway and heads off to work. “He walks around with a target on his back, simply because of the color of his skin.”
Jessica has four children. The two oldest are vaccinated, the youngest two aren’t. She had fully intended to vaccinate all of her children until she saw what happened to her niece. Born perfectly healthy, her niece exceeded all of her major milestones, including crawling, walking, and talking before the average age. Since receiving her DTaP, MMR, IVP, and Varicella vaccines at 4 years of age, her once lively and bright-eyed niece has not spoken a word. While Jessica’s sister has received a Vaccine Injury Compensation, no amount of money can ever replace the daughter she feels she has lost. Jessica does not want to take that risk with her youngest two children.
Nora is 26, and has attended every pro-choice rally within an hour’s radius over the last 10 years. Pregnant at 16 after a one-night stand, she felt the only way she could get ahead in life was to have an abortion. Not only was she still in school and could not support herself financially, let alone another human being, but she always felt that she too, was an unplanned interruption to her own Mom’s life and dreams. She didn’t want to be responsible for making someone else feel like that. She felt it was best for everyone if the pregnancy was terminated. Protesting with others helps her affirm her decision and quiet the sadness inside.
Joe has 3 kids, and lives in the suburbs on a well-kept, half-acre property. He spent the weekend installing and in-ground pool for his kids to enjoy this Summer. Tired, but feeling fulfilled, he makes a quick stop at the gas station at 9pm on Saturday night before their sunrise Easter Service the next morning. An older woman at the next pump appears nervous and agitated. She quickly tightens her gas cap, and Joe watches her pull off to the side of the road before making a call on her cellphone. Within minutes, he finds himself surrounded by four cruisers. Interrogated and humiliated, he soon discovers that the police had received a call from a woman who said he fit the description of a criminal she saw on TV: male, black. Although he was issued an apology, he grieves inside to know that racial profiling is still a reality in the land of the free.
Elizabeth is a 67 year old grandmother and a passionate vaccine advocate. She would like to see all vaccines mandated. She remembers when her healthy, able-bodied father was subjected to life in a wheelchair after he contracted polio and was left crippled. Once able to provide for his family as a machinist, Elizabeth and her siblings were required to find small jobs at young ages to contribute to the family income and ensure they had bread on the table. Elizabeth cannot comprehend why anyone would be opposed to vaccines that were developed to prevent what happened to her father, and maintains that stories like that of Jessica’s niece are extremely rare and not worth factoring into the equation.
James is 14 and actively participates in rioting and looting. He lives with his single mother after his Dad was charged and subsequently incarcerated for a murder James does not believe he is guilty of. He has sought to make his voice heard through peaceful protests, but feels as though no one pays attention. He has resorted to committing felonies because he doesn’t know what to do with his anger, and believes that this activity will at least give him a small amount of retribution.
What is common in all of these stories? (Names have been changed for protection)
- They all involve real human beings with real, valid emotions
- They all have stories that deserve to be heard
- They all require a remedy that’s bigger than ourselves
Discussions over which policies and behaviors should be changed are necessary and good, but how does that help James cope with his feelings of anger and dismissal for the rest of his life?
Nora knows that life begins at conception, but how does that help her deal with the guilt of ending her own child’s life?
Joe knows of and appreciates the work that is being done to eradicate white privilege, but how does that heal the many times he has been publicly emasculated?
To Elizabeth, voluntary vaccinations discredit the pain her father and family endured. She wants others to know that her experience matters.
Even if Lia could get her entire community to understand that she has lived here longer than most of them, how would that change things for everyone else with features just like hers?
How can Tara find inner peace in giving up control of her boys’ life, when all of her decisions are made out of genuine love and concern for their well-being?
Each time Jessica hears that vaccines should be mandatory for all, it’s the equivalent of saying her niece’s life is meaningless.
A quick scroll on through Facebook reveals there is much talking and little listening.
There is lots of logic, and little love.
There are many explanations and few conversations.
We are quick to speak, and slow to hear.
But most regrettable of all?
The answer to our cultural crisis is black and white, and few recognize His power to change our world.
Friend of sinners.
Savior of souls.
Afflicted in all the ways we are.
Jesus makes all things new (Rev 21:5).
He can give Tara and Hannah a peace that passes all understanding.
He can replace James’ feelings of anger and betrayal with forgiveness and healing. He can help James leave vengeance in the hands of Him who will repay (Romans 12: 19).
He can affirm Lia’s humanity and the sacredness of her life.
He can remove the blinders and bias from the woman who reported Joe, and birth an unlikely friendship.
He can use the experiences of Jessica’s niece and Elizabeth’s father for more good than they ever could have imagined.
He can take away Nora’s guilt and make her an effective voice for the pre-born.
If you think Jesus as the answer to our cultural crisis is too simplistic, too black and white, do you really know Him?
It is Jesus who turned water into wine (John 2: 1-11),
who raised the dead to life (Mark 5:21-43),
who turned the heart of a murder and bigot into the one of the most passionate preachers and author of almost half the New Testament (Acts 9:1-19),
who intentionally associated with the lonely, the judged, the societal outcasts (Mark 2: 13-17).
It is Jesus,
God’s only Son and equal in His divinity (John 3: 16),
who could provide a perfect, satisfactory atonement for all our sin by voluntarily giving up His life in the most shameful way possible (Romans 3: 25, Ephesians 1:7, Hebrews 1:3. Hebrews 2: 17),
so you and I; Tara, her boys, and husband; Lia, and her community; Hannah and Matt; Jessica, her kids, her sister, and her non-verbal niece; Nora; Joe, and the woman at the gas station; Elizabeth; James and his father, could be delivered from the 3-fold enemy:
- the world
- our own flesh
- the Devil (1 John 2: 15-17)
The Answer is universal.
The offer is free.
Repent and believe. (Romans 10:9, 2 Peter 3:9, 2 Corinthians 7: 10)
Black and white.
Simple enough for a child to understand, and yet it evades those who seek a more complex answer that requires greater effort on our part.
This wonderful, merciful Savior, precious Redeemer and Friend, has chosen to reveal Himself in the pages of Scripture.
He will meet you where you are.
He has promised that those who seek Him, will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13).
He loves you too much to leave you unchanged.
There is one race.
There is one Lord.
There is one hope.
His name is Jesus, and He is a life-changing Gift.
No one hates injustice more than Jesus does; He gave His own life so God’s just wrath would be satisfied.
Jesus in hearts.
Jesus in policies.
Jesus in behavior.
Jesus is the answer to our hurting world.
If you would like to get to know Him better and don’t have your own copy of the Bible, we can arrange to get you one. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.