By Nigel Abrahams

Of late, one topic that can be found in the headlines on any given day is race relations in the United States. While America has a less than stellar history in this area, things seemed to be improving until a string of high profile situations swept across the country. Suddenly, a pre-civil rights era tension began to build. There were more questions than answers floating around and, in one way or another, we are all impacted.

As a Christian and Black American, I sometimes find myself conflicted over the entire situation. I ask myself “What am I to do?” and the Christian answer is not always the same as the Black American answer. As a Black American, I have to remind myself that there are still those in this world who would choose to judge me by the color of my skin rather than by the content of my character. I must acknowledge that some of those sworn to secure my safety are indeed my greatest threats. I must be aware of the misconceptions by which I and others like me will be measured. And, as if all this weren’t enough, I know I will have to respond to many who will insist that all of this is nothing more than my own imagination running amok.

While these challenges are enough to make me want to retreat to a safe bubble, my Christian identity reminds me that the safe bubble is not an option. Though I may not always be judged by my character, it is still my duty to reflect Christ’s character. As a Christian, I must realize that I may be subjected to unfair treatment and turn the other cheek when it happens. I am called to live a life that challenges the world’s misconceptions of those who claim the name of Jesus. None of this can be done from within the confines of a safe bubble.

Fortunately, there is some common ground between my duelling identities. Both feel the pain of merciless mistreatment by others. Both are appalled that mankind could use something as insignificant as skin color as a reason to be less than neighborly. Both recognize the enemy is not the man in whom the hatred is manifest, and both know this struggle has existed in one form or another since the true enemy told his very first lie. It is through these commonalities that I can find the answer to my daily question.

I am not the first to ponder exactly what I am to do. When Israel faced a similar predicament, Micah answered it with another question. “And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8). Again my duelling identities find common ground. Both can support the idea of justice being fairly administered to all those who would exercise poor judgment in their choices. And both would be happy if mercy were a value on which our behavior toward one another was based.

We all must ask ourselves this daily question and deter- mine if we will retreat to our bubble or answer the call to represent the true nature of Christ to the world. Will we stand idly by or step up for justice? Will we excuse ourselves from the situation or let mercy influence our actions within it? Perhaps as we answer these questions and influence the world around us, we can start filling the headlines with news of love making a comeback.

–Nigel Abrahams is a member of LifeSource Adventist Fellowship. He works as an information technology analyst in the financial services industry and fills his free time with golf, bowling, and motorcycle rides.