On the Sefrit family vacation this year we did a Civil Rights tour of the south that included the cities of Memphis, Birmingham, Selma, and Montgomery. Our tour ended with spending several days at Orange Beach, Alabama.
I will say that going to the church where four little African American girls were killed in Birmingham and standing on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s parsonage porch and seeing the hole left behind from a bomb that had been thrown there with his wife and 10-week-old daughter inside, has opened my eyes to the destructive, evil forces of racism.
However, walking across the Selma bridge were nonviolent protesters marched, and standing in the church were Martin Luther King preached a message of love and nonviolent resistance, has opened my eyes to how God can use ordinary people, with a vision, to transform the world. On this trip I have seen how love and grace can truly be a powerful force for good in our world.
Upon returning home, I ran across this term: GRACISM. Gracism is the mixture of two words:
Racism-to speak, act, or think negatively about someone solely based on color, class, or culture.
Grace-God’s unmerited favor on humankind; unearned, underserved and cannot be repaid.
Put the two together and you come up with GRACISM: to extend favor on others in spite of, and sometimes because of their color, class, or culture.
When you realize how much you’ve been GRACED by God, you can’t help but share that blessing on others and the result is a special, care-full, considerate treatment of those who need it the most. Even if they are underserving. Even if they are very different from you. Even if they have offended or hurt you. It’s difficult, but that’s how Jesus’ followers strive to live.
So, where is God calling YOU to be a GRACIST?
Where do you need to let some resentment go and extend some underserved kindness and love?
*To a person of a different color or economic background who lives near you?
*To that person whose lifestyle choices are different from you or even offensive to you?
*To that person at work who gets on your nerves?
*To that member of your family or church family who could use underserved, unmerited favor?
With God’s help, let’s all strive to be a bunch of GRACIST. It’s a wonderful thing that requires intentional work and prayer, but it has the power to transform us and the world around us.