Our entire nation needs a bath: A message for police and protesters

There are two things I am not, which I will not pretend to be: a police officer or a black American. I cannot, and will not, imply that I either understand all that is going through your hearts and minds these days, nor will I insult your intelligence by trying to suggest that the solutions to the deep issues that keep resulting in altercations and deaths are easy. They are not.

Charlotte, you’re not alone. In fact, you reflect the new, increasingly violent, divided America. Words fail to express my grief, anger and bewilderment over the death of Keith Lamont Scott, a black man who was killed a few days ago by a black police officer in your city.

It’s nearly the same thing in a different city in America. Just a few days ago, Terance Crutcher was shot and killed in Tulsa, Okla., by police. It is reported that Scott was carrying a gun, while Crutcher had a gun neither on his person nor in his vehicle. In either case, death is always tragic, and is to be mourned.

In this day where so many are so polarized, and the spread of violence leaves the Zika virus in the dust, the ingenious words of Albert Einstein should awaken us: “Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.” It’s time to try something different.

It’s time to deal with the root issues behind the altercations, violence and death. It’s time that both sides – and all of America – sit down and seek the real solution. Until we become humble and bold enough to pursue it, nothing will change.

Neither putting police officers on administrative leave, nor rioting in the streets, will remove the underlying mistrust, misgivings and misunderstandings that keep perpetuating the ghastly insanity that is the new normal in America.

It’s time to deal with the root issues behind the altercations, violence and death. It’s time that both sides – and all of America – sit down and seek the real solution. Until we become humble and bold enough to pursue it, nothing will change. In fact, I’m humbly confident that the insanity we’ve witnessed will only get worse and spread.

Here’s the truth we need to face: We’re all dirty. There are no exceptions. Our entire nation needs a bath. Not the kind where we draw up warm water and soak to remove surface grime, but the kind where we draw near to something greater and grander than ourselves and seek to truly remove the filth within. That’s the cure for violence; that’s the antidote to racism.

For some of us, Christians like myself, that will look like drawing closer to the God who recognizes all life as sacred, all people are worthy of respect, all hatred or fear rooted in skin color is a generational evil that must be eradicated.

This is why I, as a pastor, have put out the call for a National Week of Repentance, to be held Oct. 30 to Nov. 6 (Visit RevivalMatters.com to participate). It’s time we Christians really humble ourselves before Christ.

I understand this is not the path for all. But humility is something we can all pursue. For some this will look like stepping out of the comfort zones that surround you — visiting different communities, striking up meaningful conversations with different people, challenging yourself to think differently about what you have long considered “right” and “wrong.”

For others it will mean taking a serious inventory of what’s in your own heart before you point the finger. Maybe for some it will even look like spending less time plugged into social media that often perpetuates the divide so you can spend more time being social – and helpful – in person.

We’re unified in this: the insanity must stop.

We need to try some fundamentally different things. We have to get to the heart of the matter, and the heart of the matter is your heart and mine. A bit of humility at this vital time will go a long, long way.

Michael Anthony is founder and president of Godfactor.com; founder of the National Week of Repentance (RevivalMatters.com); and lead pastor of Grace Fellowship of York, Pa. (GraceYork.com). All views expressed are his own and not the official position of any organization. Follow him on Twitter @GodFactor.



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