Love Your Neighbor

“I can’t breathe”

These were the words that came from a man who moments later was murdered. A black man. Another black man. I’m heartbroken to continually see black men and women murdered and abused simply because of their skin. I’m heartbroken to see the lack of response to clear and conscious acts of racism in our country. It seems like we have more outrage of wearing a mask than protecting the lives of the people around us, who are clearly being oppressed.

This must stop.

When is enough, enough?

At what point will we see this as a systemic issue that needs to be addressed?

Stop ignoring and choosing not to hear these stories; speak out, stand up.

Be an ally for your neighbors. Jesus called us to this standard. Mark 12:30-31 says, “love the lord your God with all your heart and your soul, mind and all your strength. The second one is this, love your neighbor as you love yourself.” This is not political, this is not some agenda, this is an injustice that has continued for years. As a follower of Jesus, I refuse to let this continue, I refuse to let hate enter into my mind and allow Satan a foothold. I choose to love my neighbor, because I love my God.

Black lives matter.

I understand the mindset of “all lives matter,” but all lives are not the ones being murdered because of the way they look. All lives aren’t afraid to go jogging, play cops and robbers, go to the corner store, or walk home with some skittles and a sweet tea. All people of color matter because they are all made in the image of God. Heaven isn’t going to be a white blanket, it will be a tapestry of incredible color.

On my first week at work I was training with my friend (I’m choosing not to name him for exploitation), we were joking around and playing the role of twin brothers. My friend is a black man, and I love him dearly. His story is incredible.

A couple months later, when a guest didn’t have proper ID, he was refused to be served by my friend. My friend was then called the n-word.

I’m so thankful for the quick response of my team and leadership that immediately dealt with that guest, but I am heartbroken at the hate my friend has to deal with. People of color matter because they, as we all, are made in the image of God.

Love intentionally.

I want to make something clear, I don’t believe violence is ever the answer. I don’t think rioting should be the first step, but it hasn’t been the first step. People of color have been protesting, crying out, and kneeling to get this message across. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “riots are socially destructive and self-defeating…But, in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard.”

We are not listening to our brothers and sisters. I am a white man in this country. I will never know what it is like to experience prejudice first hand. What I do know is this. I love my God, therefore I am called to love his people. Angela Davis said, “In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist. We must be antiracist.” This means we need to love intentionally. Don’t allow racist speech of any kind around you. Choose to love all your neighbors by listening to their dreams and struggles. Love like Jesus.

Our world is filled with sin. We are separated by God. Thankfully God sent his son to die for you and me, so that we would turn from our old ways and pursue our relationship with Jesus. When we do that, the Holy Spirit lives in us, guiding us, helping us discern what to do and how we should act. I believe that we all need Jesus, we need revival in our world, but that revival starts with a renewal of our minds.

Love your neighbor. No matter what. If their skin is differently, if they are politically opposite of you, and even if they hate every part of who you are; love your neighbor.

-Joshua Thomas

To my black brothers and sisters, I’m with you, I love you, and I will stand with you in whatever battle you will face. You are beautiful and never deserve these horrible actions of murder and prejudice.

To my police officer brothers and sisters choosing to uphold the law justly and use their power for good and true justice; I am for you. Be wary to never let this power you have lead you to be a weapon of the enemy.

About the Author: Joshua Thomas is a writer by day and superhero by night. When he’s not writing and crimefighting, you can find him reading a good book, sipping warm tea, taking pictures, or dreaming. The young writer doesn’t fully know what he’s doing, but is enjoying the journey of it all. You can tweet memes at him on Twitter @joshua_thomas__ or follow his hipster photos and Jack Kerouac musings on Instagram @joshua_thomas__

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