We have all been horrified by the senseless, shameful deaths of our minority brothers and sisters.
The narrative is not new. At 67, I have been engaged in a positive manner as a leader for over 50 years. I have pastored a church with racial unity for 28 years. Whether I deserved it or not, I was given the Martin Luther King award in our city one year.
Here are five simple attitudes written in 1 Pet. 3: 8 that have guided my life in every deep conflict I have had to navigate over the years: “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.”
1. “Unity of mind”
We don’t all agree. We see problems from different perspectives intellectually.
The question is, “Can we come to an agreement about controversial issues?” Can we disagree without becoming disagreeable?
I NEED your perspective. You need mine. I’m not threatened by a totally different opinion and perspective than I have. When my perspective meets your perspective we create progress.
Start here: “I can see your side of this problem.”
This word means “feeling together.” The issue has to go beyond just intellectually sharing our ideas. A bigger question is, “Can I enter into the FEELINGS you are experiencing?”
Paul said, “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” What does it feel like to be a minority person in our society today? What fears, rejection and abuse do they feel in their heart on a daily basis?
When you can truly feel the negative emotions others are feeling, you will not rest until you help them find total relief.
3. “Brotherly love”
A third attitude is this: “We are all actually one race.” We are all human beings, made in the image of God. He created us all for His pleasure, so He must absolutely love the beautiful colors and diversity He created in His family!
I see beyond the color of your skin to your heart: you are my brother and my sister. Paul said, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3: 28).
4. “A tender heart”
A stubborn, hard heart will not adapt. It will not change. It is harsh, aggressive, attacking, and mean. It holds grudges, bitterness, and deep, seething anger against certain groups and persons. It ends in a murderous act like we all witnessed on video last week.
Paul said, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:32).
Check your heart. Is it tender? Is it forgiving? Can it overlook offenses, prejudices, stereotypes, and inherited attitudes? A kind, tender, soft heart can blend and flow with others, even those who may have a seriously hard heart.
5. “A humble mind”
There is one final, serious attitude that has to bow down before Christ: “superiority.”
A humble mind actually sees others as better than themselves. It’s called the “mind of Christ”:
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Phil. 2:3).
A high-minded, proud, arrogant attitude is Satanic. His pride led to his fall. Our self-flattery and superiority must be broken at the cross where our Saviour hung broken and bloodied before all the world.
“In my mind, I see you as better than me.”
RUN AN “INNER DIAGNOSTIC” TEST FOR THESE 5 ATTITUDES.
THEY AREN’T THE SOLUTION TO ALL OUR PROBLEMS. INSTEAD, THEY FORM THE FOUNDATION FOR US TO BEGIN TO SOLVE OUR PROBLEMS.