As a Christian, American, human being and President of Pathways to Growth, I have struggled to find words to pen this communication. I have written many intros and drafts and rolled countless others over in my mind, never feeling that I was hitting the mark, concerned I would say something to offend someone, or from a selfish standpoint, concerned my words would be just a voice among so many without true purpose.
I then realized my words cannot fully communicate truth, fully inspire, change a person’s heart, mind and spirit, but I am intimately acquainted with The Author who can, the God of the Bible. As is said in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another - showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God's way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.” His words are far more powerful than mine.
As I decided to let go of my need to impress, explain my viewpoints, defend my innocence or promote our brand in relation to the senseless death of George Floyd and the ensuing turmoil in our country, I only knew to go to God’s Word for answers to share how we at Pathways to Growth will carry out our work and attempt to make sense of this tragedy in the days to come. I know there will be those who read this who are not Christians, but I hope and believe you will find the words I will share to come from a universal place of love and unity.
I believe the evil of racism has been a powerful force throughout our country’s history. Hebrews 12:15 tells us to “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.” Slavery and the treatment of African Americans in the U.S. certainly did not extend grace. In fact, it caused thousands of people to fail to obtain the grace of God. And as a result, a “root of bitterness” has sprung up to cause trouble and defile many. This is the tragic state we are in today. I present that we as a society , starting with Christians, and moving throughout the country, need to repent of racist behavior, including silence in the face of racism, remembering that repentance doesn’t just mean saying we are sorry, but requires us to turn away from and walk in a new righteous direction.
We must pursue behavior that shows grace, mercy, love and equality from all sides.
As we move forward in this direction to a better society for all, at Pathways to Growth we will...
Speak out against racial discrimination, injustice and inequality.
We will promote solutions that result in equality and justice. These principles are found in the following scriptures:
- Zechariah 8:16: “These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace.”
- Proverbs 11:1 “A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight.”
Hold to behavior found in Micah 6:8
“He has shown you, O mort
al, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” We don’t have all of the answers. There is much we don’t understand.
We will listen, learn and act with humility in order to bring forth unity and peace.
We will be approachable and welcoming as a part of this continued conversation. However, we are looking for more than conversation, we are seeking change.
Promote forgiveness and peaceful actions.
phesians 4:31-32 tells us:
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Also, as found in Proverbs 16:29:
"Violent people mislead their companions, leading them down a harmful path."
Repentance and commitment to change will accomplish little if forgiveness is not extended in response
Violence and destruction are not the answers.
Continue to serve, support and encourage our clients who are working diligently for racial equality, to improve education opportunities for minorities, to help build thriving communities, and much more.
We look forward to opportunities to work with other similar nonprofits. We will utilize our skills to help build strong nonprofits and attract needed grant funding for this critical work.
Work diligently to follow the words of Colossians 3:12
to, “Clothe ourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.”
I realize we did not get to where we are overnight and we will not solve our issues overnight, but we are committed to working daily to move forward with impactful change as quickly as possible.
Throughout my personal and professional life, I have been actively involved in racial reconciliation and relationship building. As a result, I have been tempted at times during this current crisis to feel hopeless and think that all that work was a waste of time. How could we be back here? But I am not choosing to believe that all has been lost. We are not without hope. Every day I meet and work with nonprofit leaders who are laying their lives and livelihood on the line to make a difference for African American communities. They are heroes in this work. I choose to lead the team at Pathways to Growth to work alongside them as we continue to create the new world prayed about by our esteemed brother Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. below.