By Madeline Mullenbach

To begin, I understand that I am white, that I am a female and that there is inequality in the world.

Romans 3:23 states, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Merriam Webster defines “all” as “the whole amount, quantity, or extent of.” Fully inclusive and fully involved, we have all sinned. Our ancestors, our countries and our families have all sinned. Every race has sinned.

Pride is one of the seven deadly sins. Proverbs 29:23 states, “One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.” Pride is the foundation for this faulty conversation that we continue to have: whether one’s skin color is more privileged or matters more. Frankly, we all matter just the same. History is history. It tells a story that we should learn from. Why are we basking in this and not moving on? Our efforts could be put toward something bigger and, honestly, better.

Now, I think our societal pride is beginning to let us accept a rather disrespectful way of protesting. We all know what it is. I am not saying that kneeling during the national anthem is not protected by our First Amendment rights. However, what baffles me is the fact that people are kneeling during the national anthem while our colors fly and words are sung about how “through the perilous fight” did they continue to fly, while there are millions overseas fighting for our right to do just that. Our country’s flag is a symbol of our need for unity and how that unity came at a price. Those who choose to go fight for our country, our rights and our freedom are by far some of the most admirable people. They risk their lives every morning to an unpromised night. I have never fought on the battlefield, nor do I ever think I could, but I will always have respect for those who do. They are doing what some of us could never do. Don’t kneel unless you’re on the battlefield. A basketball court, football field or a baseball diamond is not a battlefield. If you think these are, I fear for you.

I am not here to make any assumptions or to call anyone out; however, I am worried that we are having the wrong conversation. It has lately been about white or black, privileged or unprivileged, equality or inequality. I think the conversation that we should be having is one of our hearts. Who are we? Children of God. Imago Dei. Made in the ‘image of God.’ Our conversations need to stop revolving around us but rather revolve around the one who created us. We are so worried about OUR voice being heard rather than listening to THE voice of God telling us exactly who we are. His.

This is not a race issue, but rather a heart issue. As a church we are called to be different, and I don’t think God was referring to race. I believe that He meant by the acts of our hearts and obedient love for Him. Why are we letting the color of our skin, no matter what color we are, impact how we treat others?

Until we understand the real problem, some people are going to step up and show the love of Christ to those around them, while others continue to kill time, energy and relationships with invalid arguments fueled by pride rather than the love of Christ.