The Heart of the Problem

 

Before we left on our anniversary trip, many cities and towns were engaged in removing various Confederate statues and flags in wake of the senseless and shameful events that occurred in Charlottesville, VA.

I joked to Norma Jean that the “Six Flags Over Texas” would have to change its name to “Five Flags.” Upon returning, I’ve learned that while they haven’t changed the name, the theme park has decided to remove all the flags and replace them with six American flags.

Since it opened in 1961, the park has displayed flags for governments of Texas history: Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the U.S. and the Confederate States of America. Initially, the amusement park said it would continue to fly a version of the Confederate flag despite the recent push to wipe out such symbols. Park officials told TMZ it felt park patrons were “astute enough to know the difference” between the Confederate States of America flag and the Confederate Battle flag, which is commonly associated with white supremacy.

However, park officials quickly reversed their decision. “We always choose to focus on celebrating the things that unite us versus those that divide us. As such, we have changed the flag displays in our park to feature American flags,” said Sharon Parker, Manager of Communications for Six Flags Over Texas. One news source said they “had a change of heart.”

In an earlier post, we shared The Biblical Answer to Racism with six scriptural reasons why Racism is wrong. However, as Oswald J. Smith put it, “the heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart.”  Removing statues and flags won’t change hearts.

Jesus said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matt 15:19).

We wonder what motivates a man to drive his automobile into a crowd of people with the potential to maim and murder others?

What causes protesters to hurl rocks at police? To smash store windows? And set cars on fire?

Why do some people show disdain and display bigotry for people of other races and ethnic groups?

The answer is the same. It’s a problem of the heart.  And it’s more than emotional.  It’s the intellect.  The will. And the conscience.

On another occasion, Jesus proclaimed, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Lk 6:45).

While there  may be legitimate questions raised about certain symbols on government funded properties, political correctness attempts to whitewash history, even the sordid side of it, but will not solve the problems that divide us. In fact, in many cases, PC has gone overboard.

The sports network, ESPN, recently pulled a play-by-play announcer from the University of Virginia football games. Why? Was he a racist? Was he a member of a neo-Nazi group? Was he flying the Confederate flag in his front yard? No. His name is Robert Lee. And the Network said its pre-emptive decision was made so “as not to give offense.” Now, here’s the kicker.  Mr. Lee is not Caucasian. He’s Asian!

The heart is the issue. Not a person’s name. Skin color. Place of birth. Or political affiliation.

The wise man was right when he warned, “Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life” (Prov 4:23).

Treating problems superficially won’t work. Not in the home. Or the church. Or our communities. Or our country.

The recent response to the tragic flooding problems in Houston serve as a powerful reminder of what’s needed in our country. A heart to help. To serve. And to save others. Strangers are rendering aid to complete strangers regardless of skin color, economic status or political persuasion.

When we truly love God with all our heart and our neighbor as ourselves, we will truly begin treating the heart of our problems. Dr. Martin Luther King’s call to serve others with “a heart full of grace” (and) “a soul generated by love” is a great place to start.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

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