Pulling Weeds

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Here we are in America facing another senseless tragedy at the hands of a deranged killer. I’ve spent the last day pondering, listening and observing. I’ve pondered how I should ‘weigh in;’ I’ve listened to news reports, people in the grocery store and Starbucks, and even my kids; and I’ve observed the social media reports and retorts.

It’s a beautiful Friday afternoon at summer’s onset. For some of my friends in the northern states, it’s as if summer is finally, really truly here after unfortunate weather robbed the first few weekends of June. We should be thinking of nothing more than enjoying time with family or friends and preparations for celebrating Dads all weekend. Instead, we mourn with brothers and sisters in South Carolina. We’re pulled and a little conflicted as to how to appropriately honor an entire community struggling to make sense of an unfathomable violent act. It doesn’t seem quite right to proceed as planned with parties and pools and barbecue get-togethers, but we’re also perplexed as to what we can do to make a difference.

So here’s my weigh-in, for what it’s worth. This isn’t only a race issue. This isn’t only a hate issue. And it isn’t even a gun issue. This is a heart issue. This is pure evil. And unfortunately we can’t be surprised by whatever form evil dresses itself up as. Child molestation, murder in any form, brutality, bombing, racism, and a myriad of other disguises reflect a Godless, evil heart. And to minimize one’s actions by keeping the issue at the racism level is the equivalent of going out in my yard and mowing my weeds. I don’t want my weeds cut down, I want them cut OUT. To do that, I’ve got to get to the root; I’ve got to be sure that I don’t just pick the top of the ugly thing, but get my hands dirty and dig down and yank the root.

If you’ll allow me, I would like to ask ask my African American brothers and sisters to take a step towards healing. Please don’t receive this as a finger-wagging lecture, but receive it with the love it’s wrapped in. Would you dare to take the race problem out of it? Would you be courageous enough to see this sick young white man NOT as a reflection of the greater white society, but a reflection of a young man with a vile, hate-filled heart. He’s certainly not the only white person with a hate-filled heart, I give you that. But would you stand up and be willing to emulate our brothers and sisters in South Carolina and respond as they are? They aren’t screaming for justice. They’re refusing to pay evil for evil. They’re refusing to cheapen the deaths of their friends and family members. Instead, they’re repaying evil with love. That response requires the most strength, the most courage and goodness. They’ve chosen to boldly forgive. I’m so proud of that community and it’s my belief that they’ll heal quicker and stronger because of it.

Can I ask my white brothers and sisters to be a little slower to disregard racism? Can I ask you not to minimize the reality of it in America? Because it’s really real. I don’t want it to be real, but it’s real. I’ve witnessed it too many times in my own family. I’ve seen the inequity in how my African American husband has been treated at times, until someone recognizes him. I wish it wasn’t true, but it is. Many, many times over. Sometimes when I feel completely helpless and frustrated by the injustice, I wish I could just overlook it. I want it to just go away. But it’s not going away. So I’m asking us as individuals to make the heart adjustments we can make. If a whole bunch of us decide together to respond differently, we can form a community, a community like Charleston. A whole bunch of Charlestons across America will make an entire nation better. If this nation got better, we could certainly impact the world.

May we all follow South Carolina’s lead and choose to be a light in a dark-and-getting-darker world. May we all go digging in the garden of our hearts and root out evil in any form, be it intolerance, judgement, injustice, or even be courageous enough to look for racism and hate at it’s inception. It takes courage to halt the course of evil. I choose to do my part.

 

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Comments

  1. Patti Carollo says:

    Thanks Kim for sharing this awesome word!

  2. Karen Murray says:

    Well stated, Kim. And your “pulling weeds” analogy reminds me of the Parable of the Weeds in Matthew 13:24-30 with its explanation in verses 36-43. The weeds will grow among the wheat until one glorious day when our God makes all things right. In the meantime we need people like you to encourage us to live by Kingdom principles. Amen!

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