Race draws conclusions about people and experiences right from the beginning. The social coloring of skin determines behavior and whether it will be right or wrong. It does not matter our age, our temperament or even our socioeconomic status. Race can never be wrong about you. Its conclusions are as settled as the imaginary color line.
It predicts conversations and can even tell us what we mean to say before we say it. Race has us all figured out. Unlike God, race has revealed all that there is to know about us. It wastes no time telling us who is guilty and who is innocent. Because race makes decisions based on appearance, based on the fluctuating value of interest in particular external realities: thin versus full lips, petite versus full figures but most often the social coloring of skin: black versus white.
In Ferguson and all around the city, people are drawing conclusions. We have the case all figured out. It’s a open and shut case for persons on either side. If Officer Darren Wilson is charged with murder in the death of Mr. Brown, then it was to be expected. And if not, then you knew it would happen. Race is right every time and no matter what.
In some respects, race makes us feel as if we are omniscient, that we know all that there is to know about a person… based on media reports and social media feeds. As soon as we hear of who is involved, we believe that we know what happened. We don’t need anymore information. Say no more! We can draw a conclusion about the person’s character, intention and the outcome of their meeting.
But, it is foolish to draw conclusions when we don’t know the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46.10). We live as if our will is what allows the world to exist. Thankfully, it is not our words or our counsel, not yours or mine or even a combination of two, that keeps the world going– because we don’t know it all about any one thing or person, not even ourselves.
It is foolish to draw conclusions when God is still speaking. How presumptuous are we to speak to the end of someone’s life when we do not know the end of our own. Our judgments, our evaluations when spoken don’t leave the room. They only have the power to control what we think about someone. We do not own the words that control the destiny of another human being.
It is foolish to draw conclusions when it’s never over, not even when we die. As believers, race makes us believe that we are excused from speaking words that are grace-full. In times like these, we are deceived into thinking that we have a license to return to our old stereotypes and prejudices. Race traps us in time past and present. We get stuck in the moment and lose the momentum of a people being transformed, forgetting that we live not just for the moment but for eternity.
So, let us conclude that forgiveness, grace and mercy are always needed. At the end of every matter, let us conclude that it is always time to reconcile our differences and to reconcile with one another.