On this day, June 6, seventy-six years ago, the Allies cheered as soldiers charged Hitler’s army on the coast of Normandy. The United States watched, breathless, hoping D-Day would succeed. They hoped that Hitler, known for slaughtering Jews and anyone without blue eyes and blond hair, was going down.
Well, eventually, he did go down. Has the world turned into a paradise? I doubt many people miss Hitler. But while he is gone and that war is over, sin, suffering, and unrest continue to rage on.
This week, I walked over to our neighbor Mary’s house, past what sounded like a hundred barking dogs. I wanted to get her words on the recent news events to add to the podcast episode about her childhood in Mississippi. Her comments were so good that I want to share a few of those thoughts with you.
“It’s going to be racism until Jesus Christ comes back for us!” Mary told me emphatically.
“You think so?” I asked her.
“I know so!” she hollered at me. I love when Mary yells at me as if I’m an idiot.
“No quick fix?” I asked, stumbling around.
“It’s in here!” Mary said, tapping her heart, meaning the bad feelings are deep inside. White or black. “People got it all mixed up. They let hatred define them. They let hatred DEFINE them! Just because someone across the street hate you, that don’t mean I need to hate you! See they got that stuff all screwed and whacked out of shape.”
Mary has experienced unspeakable racism.
Mary knows the depth of the furrows of anger and bitterness in people’s hearts. So the words she speaks are not the words of a person sitting at their dinner tables discussing the politics of things they’ve never experienced.
Mary believes that only God can bring people to peace, and that’s why she doesn’t expect true lasting peace until the day Jesus Christ comes back for His own. No national leader will achieve this. No ousting of a national leader will achieve this. Only Christ, on the throne of the heart.
“It’s in HERE.” Deep inside hearts.
But she does have some great suggestions for Christians (anyone, really) who want to make their own neighborhood a better place.
“A lot of people hurting because they can’t express themselves…. People got it all mixed up! They let hatred define them….They don’t know what they’re missing, Katrina, to hug black me, and say, ‘We going over to Mary’s house and have a good old meal, and have a nice conversation.'”
Here is a 17 second snippet just so you can hear Mary’s voice!
(I’m assuming if you read my blog you know about Voices of Survival. If anyone missed the announcement about this new podcast, you can learn more here. We are so grateful for all the people who have subscribed.)
Three Mary Suggestions
Even though Mary says racism will never go away, I heard her give three suggestions.
- Let people express themselves. In other words, listen.
- Go hug someone from a different race than your own or tell them you love them. Weird? For a Christian, not as weird as ignoring them or looking the other way. Besides, you can tell someone you love them in a thousand different ways, and one of those ways will feel natural to you.
- Go to the house of someone from a different race than you and eat a meal they cooked. (By the way, this suggestion is different from inviting someone to your own home. Both can be good. I would say this one is harder, but better.)
Depending where you live, these options might not even be available to you. That, also, is one reason we started the Voices podcast. There are people who want to listen and understand people who are different from them, but don’t know where to start.
Can listening really matter that much? Those suggestions would sound trite depending who they came from.
But from Mary, they make sense. She’s been dealing with racism, almost since D-Day.