Our Redeemer Comes
On July 18, 2015, South Carolina Department of Public Safety officer Leroy Smith assisted a man overcome by heat, helping him find shelter and water. What makes this act of kindness remarkable is the fact that Smith is black, and the man in need is a white supremacist who was attending a Ku Klux Klan (KKK) rally.1 The man received aid from a person of a race to whom he openly voices hatred.
Today’s lesson reminds us that it is “important to advocate on a smaller scale for those who are in need of help.”2 Officer Smith looked past the hatred being directed at him and helped a fellow human being in need. Smith’s act was small, but it certainly advocated for putting aside resentment in favor of helping someone else.
Our lesson also says, “We cannot choose to stop sinning unless we recognize our behavior as sinful.”3 One wonders if the man Officer Smith helped recognizes his behavior as sinful. While we may not always recognize racism, most of us realize that white supremacy encourages hatred and racism. White supremacists do not see their words as sinful. Instead, they see equality as counter to God’s design for creation. One wonders if the man Officer Smith helped might have a change of heart after being helped by a kind black man.
Finally, our lesson asks, “Why is the world still so filled with injustice?”4 Some of us are surprised that the KKK still exists. Thankfully, it is not as strong as it used to be, but the fact that it remains in existence reminds us that racism remains, too. No child knows racism. It must be taught. As we continue to teach our children a better way to love and accept others, we can hope for the day when racism will be defeated by love.
- Why do you think Officer Smith helped the KKK member? How might this incident have changed both men? How does this incident stand as a witness to this country?
- When you need help, what type of person do you assume is the least likely to assist you? What do your answers say about your assumptions of other people?
- What can you do to promote love over racism? What can your church do to support efforts to understand and overcome racism?
Reverend Katie Shockley is a licensed local pastor and serves as pastor of Community United Methodist Church in Copeville, Texas.
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