I Want to Love But. . .

by Anna Hartge

Rev. Brenda Girton MitchellI Want to Love, But…

“Which commandment is the first of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The first is, “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30 you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12: 28b – 31

We have all heard this message of love more times than we can count. But what does “love” mean in the context of racial reconciliation? To be an ambassador of racial reconciliation requires leaving your comfort zone to engage with people from diverse backgrounds. Every person we meet has life experiences that serve as a basis for his or her values and attitudes toward life.

For me, as a Christian, loving my neighbor means being in healthy relationships with others. A healthy relationship does not require agreeing on everything – it does require striving to understand people from diverse backgrounds and experiences – and we cannot do that without serious, intentional communication.

The United States Attorney General Eric Holder said,

“Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards. Though race related issues continue to occupy a significant portion of our political discussion, and though there remain many unresolved racial issues in this nation, we, average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race.”

Are you willing to talk? I want to love you, but I do not know you. Grace and Race will provide safe spaces and opportunities for dialogue for “we, average Americans” who want to obey the commandment to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

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