“From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
~ Second Corinthians 5.16-21, NRSV
Reconciliation is the goal of my writings and frankly, with God: “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross” (Colossians 1.19-20). All of what God has done through Jesus Christ was to unite us, to bring us together, to make us one. So, if it does not bring us together in the end, then what is the point?
I have received a series of comments from an avid reader of my blog that seem to suggest that the ministry of reconciliation somehow misses the point of justice, that they may not even be directly related, that one has to be fully satisfied (according to our standards) before we can talk about the other. But, Christ suffered on a cross so that I could be brought close to God and God’s people. Justice and reconciliation go together. And they go together now.
I am well- versed in the historical hatreds of those who socially identify as black and white. Check. I have experienced racism and been stereotyped. Check. But, I refuse to let someone else’s image of me change the way that I see and perceive myself. I have had opportunities to hate after being called a n——. Check. But, I refuse to allow someone else’s hatred make me hateful. I don’t have to accept it; it is not a gift.
I write with the knowledge of these experiences but from the hope of the end of it all. We will be reconciled to each other. We will all sit down at “the table of brotherhood.” Now, I don’t have a timeline. Don’t pull out your calendar. Still, I want to be ready.
This begs the question: Are we even ready for reconciliation? And if not, when we will be? What is the point of making demands if we do so believing that they will not be met, that our social status will not change, that we have no power? We must begin to ask ourselves better questions: We want justice to what end? After this problem is solved, then what? On to the next?
My writings attempt to prepare us for the goal, the end of all this striving as it relates to the social construct of race. I don’t want to be so focused on what happened in the past or even presently that I put no energy or investment in the future. I’ve been there and done that already. I believed in white supremacy. I was wrong. I believed in black power. I was wrong. No, only God is supreme.
Yes, be angry but don’t stop there. Yes, protest in the streets but don’t stop there. Yes, change the laws but don’t stop there. What’s next? Forgive. Hope. Believe. Be reconciled.
Or begin with the end in mind, be reconciled. Believe. Hope. Forgive. Then, change the ways in which we relate to each other, whether we legalize it or not.