Change of Heart
efore real change can happen, it’s important to acknowledge the past. For this reason, I need to say I am sorry. I’m sorry for the times I listened to jokes directed at people of color, specifically black people, and didn’t speak out against them. I’m sorry for the times I said something offensive myself. I’m sorry for the times that I ignored the inappropriate and offensive things my family members said and didn’t speak up. Please, let me be silent no more, by borrowing your glasses in conversations that elevate black voices in the search of perspective that can change the world.
Change of Heart
Transparently, September 11th established in me a prejudice that didn’t exist before. I didn’t recognize this until a few weeks ago. I’ve always been very patriotic and still am in many ways, but our country allowed the actions of a few people on that day to give us the excuse to be prejudice and racist in the name of patriotism and defending our country through our collective sentiment and legislation. It isn’t easy to admit my patriotism took precedence over my Christianity, but once I did, I began to properly prioritize things. I am a Christian before I am an American. With this knowledge, I correct prejudice and racism I am holding on to.
I refuse to pick a side. The thought of there being sides clearly indicates the division that exists. If my number one goal is to follow Jesus and try to live like He would, I must exist in the gap. In the gap I need to serve people, and if I want to serve people, then I first and foremost must be willing to listen. Even though the thought of taking that first step to listen is uncomfortable, it is what I am (and other white people are) called to do in this time. Today, we all need to choose to be SILENT NO MORE by way of elevating black people’s voices and actively speaking out against racism.
Laws are necessary and changing laws might be necessary. Policy is necessary and changing policy may be necessary. Budgets are necessary and changing budgets may be necessary. None of these things will change someone’s heart. Hearts will never be changed through legislation or policy implementation, so while those things may be good and worth celebrating, there is more work to be done within.
I spoke before about the period in my life where my patriotism took precedence over my Christianity. A change of heart requires recognition of your present condition; you will not be able to change until you first identify, acknowledge, and accept where you presently are. Second, heart change then requires an apology delivered to anyone who you have personally wronged. This apology acknowledges your previous actions or sentiment and the desire to change along with a sincere “I’m sorry”. Lastly, and this is THE MOST important part, take action. My wife says it best; “don’t trust their words, trust their actions.” It’s one thing to say what you want to do or make a plan. Proof of change is in delivery and execution. In most cases, it is in sustained delivery, not simply a flash in the pan.