Why We All Own Charlottesville

I’m trying to find words for the images on my newsfeed of the mob of hate-shackled bullies darkening the streets of Charlottesville, VA, this weekend.






Not because I’ve ever agreed with any of the poisonous, white supremacist garbage they stand for.

But because the root of their sin and mine is the same.


How many times have I elevated my humanity above someone else’s? How often do my actions show that I value myself over another person?

Racism, at its core, is unchecked, profound, toddler style self-centeredness. Me. My kind. Us first. It simmers and spreads, dressed up as politics, tradition, culture, even religion. Its stench runs deep and wide in American society, but it isn’t until it marches with torches and hoods that we call it out for the naked evil it is.

When evil unveils its face this boldly, we have a choice. We can get angry at those people, fume a bit, maybe write a tirade on Facebook, and then move on with life.

Or we can let the weight of it lower us to our knees, let the stark reality of its existence hold us still long enough for us to be broken by the truth.

We all carry the same rotten seed in us. We are all naturally bent towards selfishness. We have all been guilty of protecting our own comfort in ways that minimize and wound others.

This isn’t an isolated problem. All of us own this. Racism is only one of its faces. Sometimes it shows up as organized hatred and violence, and sometimes it looks like choosing not to see the eyes of the man holding a sign begging for work. The roots of pride and selfishness run deep, and we can’t make our own way out of their tangled mess.

In the unveiled face of evil, the only response that makes sense to me is repentance. The only way out I can see is to turn towards Jesus, to let Him open our pride-blind eyes so we can see the hidden places in our own hearts. We need to go beyond anger over the horror in Charlottesville to sorrow over the ways our own selfishness devalues other human beings. Unless we are broken by own our sin, we cannot understand God’s brokenness over evil or the fullness of His grace.

This isn’t an easy solution or a quick fix. Having sin exposed and pulled out of our depths is painful, hard work that may leave us flat on our faces.

Really, I hope it does. Because that’s exactly where we need to be.


  1. B
    Aug 14, 2017

    Yes, but repentance is not enough. There are real people suffering and Jesus doesn’t want me sitting in my church clothes trying to avoid getting dirty. There is work to be done.

    Faith without works is dead, after all.

    I’ll concede that faith and repentance IS sufficient for reunion with God in heaven, but while my feet walk this earth, I have to take action. Peace, patience, kindness, self-control, gentleness, joy: these demonstrate when the Spirit is alive in my life.

    • beth
      Aug 14, 2017

      Absolutely!!! I agree 100%! Repentance is the place where change starts, not where it ends.

  2. Rhonda
    Aug 14, 2017

    Well said, Beth.

  3. Chrissy Winslow
    Aug 14, 2017

    yes. thanks for sharing.

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