Equality, Race Issues in the Church, social justice

Responding in Love to Charlottesville – What Does Love Look Like?

LOVE.

What is love?

Today I have seen a lot of people saying to “choose love, not hate” following the white supremacy event in Charlottesville. People saying that speaking about it and drawing attention to it just fuels it. People saying to choose love and not anger.

Perhaps, love looks like a lot of different things.

To some love looks like smiles, hugs, and acceptance.

While to others it looks like a scene out of Game of Thrones with death and violence.

To some, love looks like weeping and wailing in a closet for the lost.

To others it looks like taking down a white supremacist.

To many, love looks like advocating and speaking out for oppressed, the victimized, the abused, the hurting.

To others, it looks like calling out sin in another Christian’s life.

To some, love looks like making sure every person feels safe and welcome.

To others, love looks like a confrontational conversation to help someone fix a problem in their life.

To some of us, love often looks dark and heavy. It weighs in our hearts and minds. Love, for us, looks like fighting injustice. Love looks like calling out harmful people groups like the KKK, Doug Wilson’s church cult, etc. To many of us, love looks like digging in the trenches fighting a war – whether it is a war against racism, sexism, homophobia, or religion. To many of us love looks like sitting with person affected by racism and listening to how they feel and what has happened to them – not telling them about their own issues. To many of us, love looks like mourning when others mourn – not telling them to get over it or stop being so angry. To many of us, love looks like speaking out on behalf if marginalized people groups – not sitting around letting them deal with it themselves. To some of us, love looks like showing up to protest hateful and evil groups – like white supremacists. To some of us, love looks like raising awareness for women’s issues and condemning patriarchy – which is sin. To many of us, love looks like openly condemning people groups that are harming minorities. To some of us, love weighs heavy in our hearts and comes out like mercy and justice – not free hugs and smiles.

Sometimes love is messy, requires work, is hard, requires self sacrifice, and humility.

God showed love by allowing a part of Himself – His only Son – to be violently tortured, mutilated, and murdered to reconcile mankind to Himself. This wasn’t pretty and sparkly. It was gruesome and heartbreaking.

Jesus showed love by forgiving His friends who deserted him when He needed them, by touching lepers, by calling out the Pharisees and condemning their practices, by casting demons out of people, by calling out sexism and patriarchy. This is how Jesus showed love.

It is love to speak out and stand up against hate, racism, sexism, etc. It is love. It is not love to silence those speaking out. It is not love to tell people of color how they should or should not feel about this.

Love looks different to each of us. Let’s not condemn one another for how we choose to display Christ’s love when it looks differently than how we think it should look. God’s love comes in many forms and instead of shaming people for loving differently than you do – open conversation and learn about how Christ loves people through them and their gifts.

“Give strong drink to the one who is perishing,
and wine to those in bitter distress;[b]
let them drink and forget their poverty
and remember their misery no more.
Open your mouth for the mute,
for the rights of all who are destitute.[c]
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

Proverbs 31:7-9

 

Sierra White is the Founder/Creator of Ezer Rising. She is the Worship Director and on the Leadership Team at her home church. She is passionate about seeing women walk in their identity as daughters of God, calling out the Deborahs and Esthers, and working with victims of sexual abuse. Sierra is a self-proclaimed professional sassypants and coffee snob. She is proud of her mixed heritage (Latina, Indian, White) and proud to be one of the six adopted children of Jere and Julie White. When Sierra isn’t ranting on Twitter about women’s issues, she can normally be found pounding back coffee, introverting with great books, playing strategy games like Settlers of Catan and Zombiecide, or nerding out over Lord of the Rings. You can find her at sierrawhite.comor on Twitter.

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