I love you. My seven children are your age and I love them too.
I am proud of you. I understand why you are disappointed by the election results. It’s not because Mr. Trump wasn’t your candidate. You are simply standing up for all that your parents ever taught you about kindness, respect, and inclusiveness. No, you don’t expect any president to be perfect. Nor will you agree on all policies of any president ever. But you do expect your president to be honorable, a man that his party can endorse before the election.
I know many of you believe strongly in Republican values. You are pro-life. You are pro-guns. You are pro-traditional marriage. Some of you are on the fence on these issues and that’s okay. Keep grappling with faith and truth.
Meantime, thank you for being settled on this: you don’t want your president to single out people groups and promote offensive stereotypes that promote prejudice and hate.
You know that illegal immigrants are not rapists and murderers. All people are. Humans are evil and the Bible says so.
You know black neighborhoods are not any more hell than trailer parks or gated communities. You know that drug addiction and crime are not isolated to the inner city, but you feel compassion wherever poverty contributes to desperation.
You know Muslims should not be singled out as terrorists any more than white men should be. You know it’s inconsistent to presume evil upon the former, when the latter have carried out mass killings too.
Yet you’re not sure the president-elect really gets this. Since his election, harassment against these people groups has escalated. Many of these people are your wives and husbands. They are your adopted children, your neighbors, and co-workers. They are you. You worry about what MAGA means for your generation.
And you recognize your generation is not like others. You know that Martin Luther King Jr. addressed inequality and racial tensions of his day. You want to address today’s problems, the ones your grandparents, and maybe your parents, believe were long-since solved.
Millennials, I so appreciate your passion and understand your concerns. So I want to offer ideas for how to stand up for justice in a God-honoring way. I’m a mom after all. I can’t help but offer you advice.
1.Stop rioting. Rioting is wrong and you deserve to go to jail for harming people and property. If your friends engage in lawless behavior, denounce it without equivocation. Show them the high road.
2. Protest by meeting: This is America and marching the street is your right, but you need to meet personally with those who shape policy and culture. For example:
- Call the president’s office at your university and make an appointment for you and a small group of friends to discuss campus life. Sit at the conference table as an equal, not on the floor like it’s story time. Marches and sit-ins were effective during the Civil Rights Movement, but this is 2016, remember? There are new ways to engage in a professional manner with those in power. If you want to influence the big dogs, you have to run like they do in a boardroom, not on a street corner.
- Meet with your pastor and ask how the church will address the biblical mandate for justice and love. Ask for a sermon or a Bible study on race relations. Ask for a guest speaker, a seminar, a video series so the congregation can learn and grow. Ask what they will do to make the church more inclusive and by all means, invite your diverse array of friends to church.
3. Get involved locally: Circle up with friends to identify the needs in your community. Find out how local policies impact the poor and marginalized in your town. Help with anti-bullying programs at the elementary schools. Give up coffee for a month and donate those funds to a local non-profit. There are so many ways you can make a difference by touching actual lives.
4. Remember the Greatest Commandments:
- Love God. This begins with honoring Him – not the president – as the ultimate leader of your life. You may be right about bigotry and wrong about all kinds of other stuff that God clearly defines and denounces. In order to change minds, you can’t be a hypocrite. Forsake the sin.
- Love Neighbors: Don’t spew out hate-filled replies online (or in a riot, or at the water cooler) in the name of celebrating God’s diverse creation. I know it isn’t easy, I’m also figuring out how to engage in this conversation. But even those who oppose you want what’s best for our country, and you know what’s best is God’s love. So pray for them and pray for your president-elect.
I love you, Millennials. You have big, compassionate, and loving hearts. And hey, I need you to figure this out. You will be my president someday.