Our nation and world have shifted economically and culturally.
The circumstances and conditions around us are very different from anything most of us are accustomed to.
Even further, the changes and uncertainty are challenging people’s commitment to what they stand for.
The stresses and pressures on daily lives are causing many to lose sight of what’s essential in life.
We’re losing our focus partly because we’re being seduced by images and distortions.
We’re allowing ourselves to fall for anything and everything.
In place of being distracted or influenced by other people’s choices, we must intentionally decide to stay our course – stay on the paths which are likely to produce stability and prosperity.
Instead of yielding to temptations and choosing easy and convenient paths in life, our task is to stay true to our unique assignments and callings in life.
And we must remind ourselves that we have the strength and resolve necessary to overcome peaks and valleys as well as risks and uncertainties, mainly because we’ve done it before.
America is still on a journey, one that has been marked by periods of darkness and hatred.
Even though our beloved country has a past that is absolutely shameful as it pertains to racial matters, we can be thankful that our present reflects a makeover and an ongoing transformation of the heart and soul of our nation. We’re not there yet, but we have certainly emerged from our darkest days and our racist past.
This is our national opportunity to confront the hard and entrenched elements of what deeply divides us. It’s time for us to stop blaming other people and labeling them racist because things don’t turn out the way we had hoped.
We are all fallible human beings. We can choose to work side by side, hand in hand, to correct our flawed attitudes, practices, and systems. Despite our racial distinctions and differences, we share a common bond that is uniquely American and we must rally around what unites us.
America’s dilemma is a spiritual one, not a social or economic quandary. We are wrestling with the realities of fear, insecurity, despair, and hopelessness which people are feeling every day. We will never agree about everything because we are a conglomerate of all kinds of personalities and philosophies.
As a nation, it’s time for us to grow up, be mature, and start communicating with each other as adults are supposed to, so that we can move closer to racial healing, reconciliation, and unity. We must all exercise faith, patience, and commitment – personally and corporately – if we ever expect to get to our national destination.
I dream of a racially renewed and reconciled America at the end of her journey.
I dream of a time where people discover places of commonality and likeness, as they move along paths toward reconciliation and unity.
My earnest prayer is that Americans will mature to the point where they can forgive one another for the errors and remnants of the past.
My hope is that Americans of all racial and ethnic backgrounds will find enough space in their hearts to accept and respect one another without regard to skin color.
My dream for America is that each of us accepts our shared responsibility for working to build bridges between and among people who represent different backgrounds, perspectives, and life experiences.
I pray that every single American can somehow do her or his part, by using what they have and who they are, to transform the hearts and minds of people who share the spaces where they live, work, and play.
Someday Americans will unite regardless of their distinctions and differences.
The time is coming where people will come together as they unite around shared interests and causes.
Friends and strangers will mature and be able to forgive and seize the moments and opportunities in front of them.
Because even though we are all shaped by the tendencies, traditions, habits, and practices around us, we can still become one nation.
The spirit of America is defined by a shared concern for the poor.
Each of us has a moral imperative to do something to enhance the life prospects of those who are less fortunate.
Every one of us has to govern our own capacity to give, the habits of our hearts, and our compassion for others — to reveal our common spirit and virtue.
We must do better in our advocacy for social and economic safety nets that can facilitate upward mobility for those who have been disenfranchised for too long.
The tie that binds all of us is our willingness to help our sisters and brothers use their God-given gifts and abilities to achieve their own success and prosperity.
The life of Jesus Christ is our blueprint for how to achieve greatness in discipleship.
It teaches us that a place of honor is not something you ask for; it’s not something that the world can give you. It’s something you actually work for.
Greatness is earned – it’s not given to us or handed to us on a platter. Greatness is an honor given by God, not by man.
This honor has been prepared by God for those who are willing and committed to lifetimes of service and sacrifice. We don’t get to choose who is great in God’s kingdom, he does that.
We are responsible for making sure our priorities are straight, by operating with a servant’s mentality, as opposed to a selfish mentality.
We shouldn’t spend time seeking praise and positions from the world around us. Instead, our focus ought to be squarely on serving and giving.
We have a role model in Jesus Christ, who has taught and shown us what it takes to achieve greatness in the kingdom of God. (Mark 10: 35-45)
American classrooms are filled with professionals who serve because they care.
These stewards of our children’s academic success operate the schools, walk the hallways, and manage the classrooms with an unselfish spirit and great dignity.
They go about their business as educators without giving a single thought to compromising or sacrificing the academic interests of the students they serve.
It’s important for us to remember that there are scores of honest educators who do earnestly uphold the highest standards, principles, and ethics when it comes to serving school-aged children and youth.
Despite the bad deeds of some, we must not lose sight of the fact that a majority of K12 educators are indeed very good at what they do and are committed to making sure every child has access to a high quality education.
We must always resist the temptation to lose focus of the very good and hard work that continues to be done routinely by the school administrators, classroom instructors, teaching assistants, and the various other professionals whose work make each school day possible and meaningful for American schoolchildren everywhere.
That Christians will show the world what the authentic love of God looks like, acts like, and feels like.
That the entire Christian community will be more tolerant of people who are not like them or do not share their beliefs.
That people of faith will be less judgmental concerning others’ faults and weaknesses – so that we can share God’s gift of salvation with people everywhere.
For unity across God’s universal church, so that people who do not look alike, act alike, or speak alike, will unite around their common faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
That we can all be slow to speak and condemn, but quick to listen and embrace.
Matters of the heart are beyond the jurisdiction of government legislation.
Not another speech, summit, or task force on race in America is needed. The racism that continues to haunt American life is truly a matter that can only be dealt with as individuals decide to overcome personal fears and ignorance about different groups of people.
Legislative mandates have undoubtedly been successful at rooting out institutional and systemic racism in many aspects of American life, but the true acts of racial healing and reconciliation can only occur as individuals choose to cleanse their hearts of racial hatred.
Individuals must choose to demonstrate the will, courage, and commitment necessary for dismantling racist practices and overcoming racist attitudes. Racial healing and reconciliation begin and end with every single American choosing to do their part to create a nation that is racially united and tolerant.
Spend the days ahead, placing Jesus Christ at the center of your life.
Work diligently as his disciple in your home, workplace, and community.
Ask God to give you wisdom to guide your soul and your spirit, so that your heart and mind are in tune with his will.
Seek a greater understanding of the ways in which God works, so that you may emulate his works in your dealings with people wherever you go.
Live well for God – make him proud of you, as you work with purpose, sharing the message and spirit of Jesus Christ, which is love, eternal life, and hope for all.
And as you continue on your journey toward the wisdom and purpose of God for your life, you will be strengthened on the inside, will experience God’s inner peace and joy, and will be able to persevere through life’s difficulties and challenges.