“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." – Mark 12:30-31; NIV
Did you hear the news?
Facebook Live Video Shows Black Man Dying After Police Shoot. Trayvon Martin. Tamir Rice. Michael Brown. Sandra Bland. Alton Sterling. Philando Castile. Black lives matter versus All lives matter. 5 officers killed in Dallas. 512: number of people shot by police in 2016. The numbers keep growing.
If we are called to love our neighbours, what is happening here?
Truly, all lives matter. God has made us in his image and are we not all one in Jesus Christ?
Criminals, sinners, humans are made equal. Nobody is born lesser or greater. We are, all walking bags of blood with a little bit of soul sprinkled in, thanks be to God. We’re equal, right? Women are equal to men? Muslims and Christians? Right?
I want to say that equality is a reality. We all know, with a bitter laugh that we have been taught to think that one person is better than the other, based on the colour of their skin, their ethnicity, or nationality. The list is endless. I will speak on my behalf; I have been taught to hate and be prideful.
Yet, when I learned about the history of African Americans in this society, it made me angry, sad, and left me in disbelief. The 400 years of pain, enslavement of africans to the slave trade, the Civil Rights struggle (and its continual tug-o-war), black codes to Jim Crow laws, horrified me. I learned that black mothers were not consoled when their child was stolen from them. The destruction of family, culture, and the constant deriding by society opened my eyes to a painful reality of the U.S. As an Korean Canadian, it was new information and one that would not easily fade away in my mind.
I am part of a movement that strives for peace and change within the black community. I am part of this movement, Black Lives Matter as an ally- BUT I am not violent, I am not black, and I do not hate police officers, and my heart hurts for all of their families. These are my brothers and sister and frankly speaking, could possibly be my friends I met in my school.
But, one thing I know for certain is that I am a follower of Jesus and Jesus came to help and become the people who were marginalized. He was not there to satisfy the status quo but offer empathy to those who were ridiculed and judged for the social circumstance they were put in. Who are the marginalized today?
Why don’t we prioritize God's important, if not the second most, commandment, “love your neighbour as yourself?” How do we even define neighbour? I thought Jesus had taught us to embrace those who hate us or to embrace those who I hate, to embrace those who are next sitting next to me or the house on the corner, or a town over yonder. As Christ followers, we are taught to be radical, to display radical love and perform acts of peace rather than conform to the racist priorities of our nation.
Dona Park is a student at Goshen College, pursuing her studies in Art and History. She is currently interning with ReconciliAsian and at Mountain View Mennonite Church.