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5 reminders from seeing Selma

David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King (2nd from left) marches arm in arm across bridge in Selma, Alabama in a scene from the Paramount Pictures movie Selma (Credit: Paramount Pictures)

{source}<iframe style=”float: left; border: 1px solid #000000; background-color: #C0C0C0; padding: 2px; margin: 10px; -moz-border-radius: 3px; -khtml-border-radius: 3px; -webkit-border-radius: 3px; border-radius: 3px;” width=”400″ height=”225″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/x6t7vVTxaic?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>{/source}Selma is not an easy movie to watch.  However, it is worthy of your time and contemplation.  While a 2 hour film cannot perfectly encapsulate history, Selma remains fairly true to the recorded account.  Selma, Alabama’s past is one that conjures anger, sadness and hope.  The Civil Rights Movement, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., made its stand there in 1965 to secure the voting rights that had been promised to them 100 years prior by the 15th Amendment in 1865.  The movement was a political success, but it came at great cost.

Anger and sadness are still emotions that are felt even today. Headlines from Ferguson and New York City, popular hashtags #blacklivesmatter and #policelivesmatter show that our culture is still suffering from the plague of racism.  Seeing Selma will help you remember our country’s history with this sickness.  

As I was leaving the theater after seeing the film, the attendant who took my ticket asked me, “Didn’t it just make you mad!?”  I was deep in thought and taken aback by his question.  I think I was more heartbroken immediately following the credits.  After contemplating the images for a day, the anger has come.  Not only anger at the horrors committed by my countrymen against fellow countrymen, but also anger that the issue still seems so large, to the point that I cannot imagine what can be done about it.

I am a white male, and it’s frankly uncomfortable for me to think I have a seat at the table when it comes to conversations about fairness, inequality, gender and race.  As I wrestle with the issue though, I can confidently share these biblical truths:

First, I must be aware to never consider myself above another. “In humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”  (Philippians 2: 3-4).

Second, God shows no partiality and neither should we. “If you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors” (James 2:9).

Third, I have more in common with a woman from Africa or China who is a believer than my white American next-door neighbor who is agnostic.  In Christ “there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all” (Colossians 3:11).  We “are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

Fourth, heaven will be a colorful place. In Revelation, John saw in his vision “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands” (7:9).

Lastly, no matter how overwhelming the issues feel, we have hope.  “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away”  (Revelation 22:3-4).