In 2010, I started my “Refresh” project, inspired by an article in which the columnist challenged people, in the new year and the new decade, to look at a few things through fresh eyes. The writer listed 52 suggestions, one for every week of the year. I finished most of those but got derailed towards the end of the project. I have just a few more to go and want to see it through. So, this week’s topic is your enemies.
A few weeks ago the boys saw on TV part of the movie “A Time To Kill,” which, if you’ve seen you know, depicts racial tensions in a small Mississippi town. A young black girl is raped, and her father kills the two white boys accused of the crime. Images in the movie showed marching protests by hooded members of the Ku Klux Klan, several instances of arson, and members of the Ku Klux Klan kidnapping and beating those who came to the defense of the black father.
The boys had questions about what was going on and why people were treating each other this way. I explained what they had seen by of course referring to history, saying that there was a time when some white people didn’t like black people and treated them mean. But God loved and created all people, I told them, and it was wrong to treat anyone mean for any reason at all.
A week later, we were exiting a local restaurant and a black woman was headed inside. I held the door for her and said good afternoon. As we walked to our car Caden asked if I knew her, and I said no, that I was just being nice by holding the door and saying hello. He replied, “Oh yeah, that’s right, white people don’t like black people.”
I let out a big sigh.
“No, no, no, Caden that’s not what I was saying …” and I reexplained what we had gone over the week before, emphasizing the historical aspect and really emphasizing how it was wrong of whites to treat blacks the way they did. God loves everyone the same.
“What about bad guys?” he asked. “God loves them too,” I said, and proceeded to tell about the two thieves that hung on either side of Jesus. He loves the bad guys but of course doesn’t love the bad they do, just like he loves us but doesn’t love the bad we do.
We’re no better than any “bad guy,” there just may be a difference the kinds of bad we do.