From Where I Stand: Letters

September 02, 2020 | Missions and Outreach | Jay Wintermeyer

Since assuming the role of editor a year ago, I have received many encouraging letters and notes. Your heartfelt words are much appreciated.

Recently, I've received several letters to the editor of an entirely different slant. Honestly, the emails stopped me in my tracks. The authors angrily spewed racist words and sentiments over the recent protests in support of black Americans. The hateful tone of the emails has been seared into my memory.

My first reaction was one of shock. How is it that, even in our church, members cut people down and subjugate with words of hatred and judgment?

One thing stands out from these disturbing missives. The Adventist Church in America is no different than the rest of the country when it comes to racial attitudes. We too struggle with prejudice, subjugation and indifference.

I want to be clear. These hateful attitudes are not universal. Many of our members are actively seeking ways to heal and bring reconcilliation within their sphere of influence. I am so grateful for those who truly understand our role as Christ-followers.

At the same time, I find myself asking, “How do we move forward when this cancer is so deeply ingrained in the hearts of many who call themselves Adventist Christians?”

It is past time for racism, like slavery before it, to be defeated. It is time for action. 

I am certain I don't have all the answers, but I do know where to begin. Change can only happen when I actively look for ways to make a difference in my sphere of influence. What are the ways I can contribute to racial healing? What are the words I can speak that will bring hope instead of fear, unity instead of division?

Racism is a plague centuries in the making. It won't be healed overnight, and yet we can make a difference today when we choose to act and speak on behalf of others without a voice.

As we act with love, I invite you to join me in praying for divine wisdom. Let’s pray for a new sensitivity to the plague of racism. Let’s pray for healing and compassion for the victims. Let’s pray for forgiveness for perpetrating bigotry. Let’s pray for repentance in our hearts over how we view equality. And yes, let us pray for hearts to be changed in our church and in our nation. Let us be the instruments of peace.

“He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you, But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).