It is a two way street. That has been denied too long. If you acknowledge it is a two way street you will encounter strong reaction.

Unfortunately there is racism. It is always wrong and unfortunate. It is never right, but it is not systemic. Some blacks have experienced racism and have grown to think it is the norm. It is not. However, by saying it is children are being led to believe it is. There are a lot of good interracial relations. I enjoy many. I have friends of color whose color I consider beautiful. I am not preoccupied by our color difference. If mistreated by a person of a different race, don’t consider it the norm, and interpret it as being.

Unfortunately there is bitterness and hostility. I have experienced it, but I know it is not systemic. I was repetitiously abused by a couple of black nurses while in the hospital for five weeks. But I was also blessed and well treated by others. One even sent us flowers after I was transferred to another part of the hospital. Whites are often treated arrogantly and rudely by some imposing blacks, but it is not systemic. Those incidents are not the norm.

In neither case should a distasteful incident be considered the norm. There is some bad and some good practiced by all races. It’s a two way street.

Parenthetically, there are more than two races. All races deserve respect. When my friend Branch Rickey, co-founder of FCA, was evaluating potential black players to be the one to integrate Major League Baseball, he interviewed a young man whose mother was known to be a godly woman so he asked the athlete this question, “Do you know what it means to turn the other cheek?” That young man, Jackie Robison did, and lamentably had to exercise it often, but in doing so he changed a culture. We all have to turn the other cheek at times, both races.

There is a classic example of how we should live together and find our way. Simon Peter became a transformed follower of Jesus Christ and developed a completely different ethic. He instantly became a minority in an alien environment, an object of derision and discrimination. He knew the toll of discrimination. In his writing of the book of I Peter he gives insight as to how we should interrelate. It is with brotherly kindness and love.

Love is challenged when dealing with people unlike us who don’t like us. Don’t expect everyone to live with brotherly kindness and love. If you resolve to do so, you can be assured you will encounter people who make little of it and belittle you. When it happens don’t be surprised, expect it. Predetermine how you will then react. How? With more brotherly kindness and love.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said it and it is applicable to all races, “Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.”

He further stated, “I have decided to stick to love...Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

Hate has its evangelist, those who advocate bitterness, espouse division, and foster anxiety.

Love has its missionaries who preach peace, love, kindness, and grace.

I am resolved to love because my King is known by mercy. My King is known by grace. He endured the ultimate of bitterness and hate and responded with brotherly kindness and love. I love my Ruler, therefore I must love like my Ruler.

The Rev. Dr. Nelson L. Price is pastor emeritus of Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta.


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