Stand In The Other’s Shoes

“You must absolutely stand in the other person’s shoes.” Former (and first woman) US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright speaking on Tim Ferriss’s podcast responded thus to a question about being a woman diplomat in those days (1990s) and conducting high-level diplomacy.

There are many failures of political, religious, and moral leadership behind both this outbreak of the release of pent-up anger sweeping the country. This could also go to the heart of the poor (in some areas) response to the health crisis affecting the entire globe also today.

This reminds me of Jon Swanson’s current theme at 300 Words a Day—So I think that for me, the prayer of confession becomes this: “We your people have sinned, and my particular family / denomination / thread of theology has sinned and I have sinned.”

That is a little of what I tried to express yesterday. Yes, I understand that white policemen fear black men. I’ve never been in their shoes, but I can feel how threatened they must feel every time they put on the uniform. They have become targets. It doesn’t happen often, but way too much, that people pull out weapons and fire at them.

However, the US has had state-sanctioned violence against black men ever since the end of Reconstruction. It’s less overt today, but still raises its ugly head. A black man can’t even go jogging through the neighborhood without fear of confrontation and death—just for being black.

When you have two groups with a line drawn in the middle and no effort to reach out, there will be problems.

I admire the white people who try to become a human barrier between the sides at protests. And the police (see they are not all bad) who were marching with the protesters. And the police chief who told the president to shut up if he couldn’t be a solution instead of a problem.

I live far away from any of the demonstrations. But like Jon, I can pray for forgiveness and work where I am for peace and justice. For without justice, there will never be peace.

Justice will begin when we can stand in each other’s shoes and see the world from a new perspective.

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