Great question! And while I do not consider myself the expert or have an exhaustive list, I do have a few thoughts. So here we go:
Change the question from “What can we do?” to “What can I do?”. Make it personal. I know that can seem overwhelming when looking at massive, systematic, national, or global issues. Yet the power of one (1) can never be overlooked. One person doing their part exactly where they are is essential. One missing piece in a puzzle can be devastating! Make it personal, make it tangible. You are needed; your perspective, your gift, your talent, your voice, your shoulder!
Pray! I have heard individuals say “I do not want to hear people say ‘pray”. Sorry… sorry you do not understand how vital, powerful, and essential prayer is to every situation. Prayer is not the only thing I can do but it is the first thing I must do. Prayer changes things, prayer changes people, starting with the one praying. Prayer changes hearts, starting with mine. Remember, prayer is not just giving God our list of demands, needs and wants. Prayer is listening to God and hearing His voice and direction. Through his voice we gain perspective, character, creativity, strength and strategy to accomplish His purposes! So, pray!
Start where you are. The desire to change everything can be daunting and overwhelming, which can lead us to a place of attempting nothing. What can you do where you are? What can you do with what you have (Exodus 4:2 “…what is in your hand?”) Who do you know that you can impact now? “There is never a wrong time to do a right thing!”
Practical Ways We Can Make a Change:
-Call or text someone to let them know you care, are for them and with them. It is not about the response, it is about the initiative. Love initiates!
-Have a conversation. Be willing to listen to hard things, speak hard things, ask questions and struggle with hard issues… together.
-Get informed. Do not assume you know or see it all… you don’t, neither do I.
-Join in where you can. Look for opportunities to participate in righteous, peaceful, prayerful gatherings. Attend a community informational meeting.
-Vote, call and write governmental officials at all levels, run for office.
-Seek the opportunities to serve. Serve one another in love. Do not overlook the opportunities placed before you to serve. Find a need and meet it!
-Reach out. Take a cake. Give a gift. Buy someone’s coffee or meal. Fill up someone’s tank. Build someone a house (ask me about it). Pick up some trash in your neighborhood and then the next (so tempted to add in clean your own room first but I won’t). Help someone, and then together go help more. Write a song, or poem and share it. Draw or paint something beautiful. The point is everyone can do something… everyone needs to do something!
Like I said, this is not an exhaustive list just scratching the surface; so please add to it! I realize that I did not preface this note with the vitally important, prominent issue of racism. This is not to demean the issue, it is to provide practical, peaceful, powerful and loving steps to defeat it. From my context, it is first of all a heart issue and all heart issues are spiritual. So, no, I cannot (or will not) divorce the spiritual dimension from this and/or any other issue. Additionally, I hope that the application of the above thoughts will not be limited to just bridging the gap of racial issues. I believe actions can go a long way toward bridging the gap between racial issues far beyond black/white issues.
In the midst of pandemics, epidemics, isolation, schisms and every other“ism”; opportunity continues to exist. All around the world, there are cultural, ethnic, socio-economic, religious, and other issues that seek to divide. These issues seek to produce isolation, fear, misunderstanding and keep us from experiencing the divinely planned strength and beauty of unified diversity. Many have prayed, oceans of tears have been shed and, it seems to me, God has heard. His answer… you… me… us! For such a time as this!