Last month, ESPN began its annual sports awards show, the ESPYs, with four NBA players taking a stand against violence and racism, and calling on people to come together.
Chris Paul said, “We stand here accepting our role in uniting communities to be the change we want to see. We stand before you as fathers, sons, brothers, husbands, uncles, and in my case, as an African-American man and the nephew of a police officer, one of the hundreds of thousands of great officers serving this country.”
LeBron James said, “We all feel frustrated and helpless by the violence, but that’s not enough. It’s time to look in the mirror and ask ourselves, ‘What are we doing to create change?’” He called on athletes to educate themselves on the issues, get involved, go back to their communities and help rebuild and change them.
Good for those athletes for taking a stand, but is it really possible for human beings to change just by willing ourselves to do better?
The Christian faith says “no.” We invariably deflect blame from ourselves. We say the problem is with “those people.” When we do that, the next step is to look down on them and demonize them.
Our only hope is a supernatural power outside of us.
Tim Keller once audaciously claimed that the presence of racism is actually proof that there is a God. If there’s no creator; if we’re just a random collection of atoms; then what right do we have to object when one group oppresses another? If we’re not all created equal by a loving God, then isn’t it “natural” for the strong to oppress the weak?
But we do object to racism. Many people, perhaps most, instinctively know it’s wrong. It’s because we know deep down we were made for something more.
The God who created us is also working in our hearts to redeem us. We have to let Him have his way with us.
That’s the stand we need to take.