Is this Healing Balm for Me?
“Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of my poor people not been restored?” – Jeremiah 8:22
“All lives matter.”
“What about black on black crime?”
“Colored folk are not people. Pretty obvious.”
“I hope you die in a fiery car crash.”
“#WhitePride, if that offends you, you’re the racist.”
“#Exterminate the people who have a problem with whites.”
“Well. if I’m gonna be a racist anyway then all the n*ggers can go to hell…Besides, n*ggers have too much monkey in their system.”
These are some of the responses I received to “10 Ways to Actively Reject Your White Privilege,” a Facebook graphic based on a blog post I wrote.
There were emails. Voicemails. Facebook comments. People even went out of their way to harass me on an unrelated devotional I wrote about my then sick, and now deceased, grandmother.
White America’s love affair with racism runs deep.
Its love affair with the denial of that racism runs even deeper.
I was shocked at how many racist threats I received from people who simultaneously told me how racist they weren’t.
Perhaps, “racists in denial” could take a lesson from Jeremiah.
When I read about the prophet Jeremiah, I can’t help but wonder if Jeremiah’s lament for an all-powerful Physician includes a lamentation for himself.
Was Jeremiah arrogant enough to think he was exempt from needing a Divine transformation—that there were that many leaps between observing wickedness and becoming the one who perpetuates it?
I like to think when Jeremiah says “my people,” he is fleeing from deflection and accepting that his deliverance is intertwined with theirs.
When we denounce sin, we must not assume that what exists in others could never exist in us. There is a healing balm from Gilead, but part of the first step towards that healing is admitting you are sick.
Is this healing balm for me? Sweet Physician, show me the ways my heart is sick, and humble me enough to accept the right healing. Amen.
Marchaé Grair is the Director of Public Relations and Outreach for the Unitarian Universalist Association and a member of South Euclid United Church of Christ, South Euclid, Ohio.