There is a terrible, terrible darkness afoot in American society right now.
One that, sadly, is not getting the air time it so desperately deserves.
And that is the recent spike in hate-driven attacks towards Asian Americans.
Recently, in the last several weeks, assaults on Asian Americans – particularly the elderly – have reached a disturbing high.
With the help of brands like Nike and Kith, and celebrities like Olivia Munn to raise awareness, videos have been circulating on social media, depicting innocent elderly Asian American men and women getting shoved to the ground, beaten with objects, slammed into poles or mailboxes, spit at and/or verbally assaulted with racial slurs.
The cruelty and criminal behavior is absolutely sickening.
And it is going completely unnoticed.
Because the media is stunningly silent on this injustice.
To be completely honest, I probably would not have known about these heartbreaking attacks, had it not been for my boyfriend, who himself is Filipino and part of the Asian American population.
He is angered and outraged and saddened. And so am I.
Asian Americans make up only 5.6 percent of our population, and yet, thanks to the racially insensitive nomenclature “China Virus” and “Wuhan Flu,” they have been the target of everyone’s blame for the pandemic. A stereotype and way of thinking that is completely false, wrong and misdirected.
During the height of the pandemic, from March to December of 2020, there were 2,808 reported hate crimes against Asian Americans. In New York City alone, attacks on Asian Americans in 2020 were up ninefold from the year before.
And in just the past few weeks, there has been an acute spike in attacks.
I fear for my boyfriend’s safety, for the safety of my Asian friends, and for my Asian American brothers and sisters in Christ, across the country. How did we get here? How is this reality? How is hatred so rampant in today’s world?
Sure, we’re all fed up with the pandemic, tired of masks and isolation, angry at the suffering we’ve endured this past year, and desperately long for life to return to normal. But that in no way constitutes or warrants acts of deliberate hatred and cruelty.
Where have we gone so wrong?
People spent the entire summer protesting (and rioting) for Black Lives Matter, but where is the outcry for justice for our Asian brothers and sisters?
Hate is hate is hate, and wrong is wrong is wrong. And any act of injustice deserves to be righted, no matter what skin color, culture, background or creed.
And we all have a role to play in helping the Asian community. If we see something, we need to do something. We cannot be bystanders. We can raise awareness. We can offer support and solidarity to our worried Asian friends. We can stand up for them, if we witness injustice taking place.
To be honest, in many ways, I feel that the BLM protests of this summer, only carved the knife deeper into the divide, and fostered a collective spirit of animosity in our nation, rather than sowing seeds of peace, love or unity.
Which leads me to my question…how do you teach love?
To drive out hate, you must replace it with love. With respect. With understanding and compassion. But how do you teach these things?
One would think they are instilled into us as children, but sadly, as we’ve seen demonstrated on the national stage, that is sadly not always the case.
I knew I wanted to write about this tonight, but had been struggling with how to end it. Because, frankly, “love your neighbor” just seemed incredibly hollow and flat. Especially when a 84 year old Asian man in San Francisco was just shoved to the ground so hard that he died.
“Love your neighbor” doesn’t cut it.
Back at the beginning of the pandemic, my mom included me in a group chat “prayer group” with about 20 of her Bible study friends. And this afternoon, I was moved to actually open the chat thread and read it….something that, to be honest, I rarely ~if ever~ do. As with all of my group chats on my phone, I have them on the “no-notifications” setting. Because…mental health.
But the very last text resonated with my heart, and pertained to this whole ugly situation so well, I wanted to share. It was the prayer from one of her friends for today.
“Jesus…may your love rule in my heart that I may only think, act, and speak with charity and good will for all.”
We must pray for hearts of love. For ourselves, for others and especially for those whose hearts are cold and full of hate. They are, not only the ones who are hardest to pray for, but the ones who need it the most.
The thing about love about this woman’s prayer is that it reminded me that love is an action verb. And to love means that you think with love, act with love and speak with love.
Teaching love…that is sadly a losing battle. Because in order to love, the heart has to change. Walls have to crumble, ice has to melt, and stone must turn to hearts of flesh. And the only one who can truly do that, is Jesus. EZ 36:26 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.“
So what can we do?
We can pray.
There is power in prayer, I believe that with my whole being.
We must pray for those with hearts of stone and hatred, that Jesus transform them, and make them a new creation. Give them eyes to see goodness in others, hearts full of compassion, and spirits brimming with respect and love for others.
A tall order, but I am standing here today, a product of Jesus’ transformative power. Redeeming and restoring, not only my heart of stone in my eating disorder, but also my body: from a lifeless, osteopenic 78 pounds – infertile and afraid,- to a thriving, healthy and strong young woman.
God is in the business of miracles.
And Lord, please blanket our Asian American brothers and sisters in your protection. And calm their fears and anxieties. Help us all want to live and love like You.
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
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