Racial healing must navigate a similar dichotomy: there must be rectification of injustices (both past and present), as well as reconciliation in love and unity. For true racial redemption we must have both. But it can be tricky to find the balance and to maintain equal weight for each aspect.
The marginalized cry out passionately for justice, but may be understandably hesitant to trust reconciliatory relationships for fear of adding to their injuries. Unfortunately, this tendency deprives the body of Christ of the unity to which we are called. Conversely, those in the position of privilege are often quick to reconcile, to put aside past differences and to 'all just get along,' yet tend to shy away from recognizing the continued injustices that exist. Both perspectives are understandable, but without each other, they are also incomplete.
rub salt in it. Do we really expect a clean slate when we often refuse to acknowledge how dirty it is to begin with?
good intentions rather than failed attempts. God is love, and He continues to love through all of our sinfulness. Therefore so too must we commit to walking with each other in reconciliation.
Offering patience and forgiveness does not mean that we deny or excuse the injustices that exist. But by being Christ to your white sisters and brothers, you act as a witness to the power of the Gospel. To do otherwise, to respond with the animosity that would be so understandable, is counterproductive to His cause: both that of justice and reconciliation.
When we are able to strike the balance between justice and reconciliation, we present the image of a radically healed body of Christ to the world. We reflect how Jesus conducted himself with his disciples. He corrected and taught the tough lessons, but was patient and loving through it--all while ultimately going to the cross for the sake of justice.
Surly, He longed simply to forget the brokenness, to erase the great divide between we sinners and the Divine. Surly, He was tempted to lash out in anger when His disciples once again failed to understand His teachings. Yet Jesus does not flip out on the disciples in reaction to their ignorance. Nor does He condone their sin and ignorance. Jesus repeatedly chooses to instruct and reach out in love, while maintaining an unwavering commitment to justice. That He manages this balance with grace and power is evidence of His divinity. It is no small thing to emulate, yet it is our mandate as Christians to do so.
White folk are dependent on the grace of people of color, and must be grateful when they choose to respond in love rather than in frustration. Likewise, POCs must remember to be thankful when white folks choose to listen, to realize their privilege, and to begin to relinquish it. Though it may feel like this is what the other group should be doing anyway, without any special thanks (and it is!), we must appreciate and reinforce when our sisters and brothers act in accordance with Christ's will.
To respond to each other with anger and pride shuts down a conversation that has yet to begin, perpetuates the divides in the body of Christ, and permanently mars our witness for Christ to the world. With the model of Jesus before us, let us offer ourselves that the world may see the Good News of what He has for us: that even in our sinfulness, Christ loved us, and through His own sacrifice brought about absolute justice for the sake of the ultimate reconciliation with the Father.