God does not coerce us

Perhaps the greatest challenge for effecting social change has less to do with the power of racist systems than it is about our refusal to significantly alter the priorities of our lives. To break from life rhythms dictated by careers, family obligations, and social circles that make heavy time and energy demands on us is a challenge. We are often captive to routines of association that were established earlier in life. We find it severely difficult to commit time and to establish new cross-racial relationships even if we intellectually appreciate the vision of community that can emerge from such relationships. We feel trapped by responsibilities and routines that seem to prevent opportunities to form new relationships. Therefore, working on behalf of Beloved Community becomes a dream deferred. 

Perhaps such a devotion to our habits, that also have a stranglehold on our spirits led Howard Thurman to assert that religion might be the only hope for a world torn apart by hate and violence. When family obligations, tribal identities, and career demands provide ample justification to not venture into the added demands of interracial relationships, the desire to submit to God’s dream for us may emable us to escape the captivity of the familiar and risk establishing relationships that expand our hearts. With God, we always have a choice. God does not coerce us. We can capitulate to our fears and familiar habits. Or we can choose to live into God’s dream of community. I pray that we choose wisely.

From “Living Into God’s Dream: Dismantling Racism in America” by Catherine Meeks – Morehouse Publishing