When God made man out of the dirt, He didn’t stop there. He breathed into us. He breathed into humanity spirit. Our minds, in that moment, became an image of Himself. Our creativity, our expression, our opportunity to grow and develop. In His mighty breath, we found emotion. Love, joy, peace, patience.
Humanity was borne out of breath.
Our need for air, our spirit, is what makes us the same.
If we deny our fellow human breath, we snuff out his essence.
We ignore the image of God in him. This is vile, disgusting, and cruel.
When we deny that we have a problem—that our society has a problem—that is vile, disgusting, and cruel.
A white product of American middle-class society, I have been conditioned. Subtly, I was conditioned to believe that sameness is safety. That differences are dangerous. That it was better to be friends with those like me than to explore friendships with ‘others’. Even my toys conditioned me. White children get white dolls, not brown. Not black.
It is so subtle but makes up a life, this acceptance of sameness.
The conditioning is subconscious and we need daily reconditioning.
I have not suffered, or been analyzed, or been misunderstood, or been feared because I am not the same.
I have not.
Yet, I cannot stand silent. My voice is small, but let me shout,
THIS IS NOT OKAY!
We like to think that the hard-fought story ended with ‘equality’, ‘shared water fountains’, ‘integrated’ schools and ‘equal opportunity’. But it is not in a single act, a single speech that changes lives, opportunities, or embraces diversity. It takes everyday decisions by everyday people to change society. So change it, because we need daily reconditioning.
Don’t be conditioned to believe lies any longer.
Do not accept sameness as Right and differences as unfounded fear.
That does not make up a life.
We were all given the right to breathe by the One who breathed us into being.
We need to make different choices today and every day.
I cry out for humanity and the breakdown in society that has allowed God’s image-bearing humans to be repeatedly treated in vile, disgusting, and cruel ways.
I cry for the nameless ones, the hidden ones, the ones who asked for breath and received none, the people who needed a different society and didn't live to see it.
Make a decision to cast aside what you have been conditioned to do, and make a decision to be different.
Not just today, but every day.