Aftermath of Ferguson: Reflecting Christ’s Love In The Workplace
In a story that has put a new spotlight on the old problem of race relations, there are three names that the nation has come to know … Ferguson, Michael Brown, and Darren Wilson.
On August 9, 2014, Wilson, a white police officer, shot and killed an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, in the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. The disputed circumstances resulted in protests, civil unrest, and put a spotlight on the racial divide in America.
Those three names have come to represent this reality – the race schism continues to exist! My colleague, Dr. Luke Bobo says it this way, “We don’t live in a post-racial society.” For the Christian, this is a sobering truth, and one that puts us face-to-face with the problem – especially in our workplaces.
As we near the Grand Jury’s decision regarding Wilson’s indictment, it’s important to think of your Christian response (and responsibility). Following are some ideas to help you reflect Christ’s Love in the Workplace:
- Pray. Pray for Brown’s family. Pray for Wilson. Pray for Ferguson. Pray for truth and justice. Pray for your coworkers. And, pray for the Holy Spirit to lead you in a thoughtful response.
- Understand. To love another person is to understand their perceptions and beliefs (even if you don’t agree with them.) Realize that we each view life through our own lens – lenses colored by our own individual experiences and personal circumstances … and as such, the way we respond to events will vary wildly. As a Christian in the workplace, seek to understand.
- Don’t ignore it. For Christians, the Gospel of Jesus Christ requires us to cross uncomfortable boundaries (including racial boundaries) and asks us to lead the charge of modeling “supernaturally restored relationships.” Look around your office – are there people who don’t look like you? With the help of the Holy Spirit, reach out to them! Read the parable of The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), and remind yourself what it looks like to be a “good neighbor.” Engage in real, life-on-life relationships with a diverse array of people!
- Be helpful. Choose your comments, reactions and responses thoughtfully. Don’t add to the problem with thoughtless or unkind words. Instead, focus on maintaining peace and promoting unity.
- Be patient. What has happened in Ferguson will not be remedied overnight – it will take time to rebuild … the city and the relationships.
- Be thoughtful. Engage your mind, not just your heart. Consider the consequences of your decisions and be thoughtful of others.
- Be compassionate. When you see pain and brokenness, share the passion of the other, as Paul says in Romans 12:15 – “Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.”
- Use social media wisely. While this sounds like a “no-brainer,” people often forget the power of social media when they post their feelings online. Do not forget that your posts are as powerful as your words! You may unintentionally hurt someone you work with (and didn’t think about when you wrote your post!) Ask yourself before you hit “post” … are my words thoughtful, helpful, and compassionate? Am I promoting peace?
- Be informed. As a leader, you must not rely solely on the TV for information, rather, you must read reliable and reputable sources. In this way, you become a citizen who is fully engaged.
As you practice reflecting Christ’s love in the workplace, pray that the Holy Spirit would work in and through you. Ask Him to use you to bring 3 more names into the conversation about race relations … The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit.