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FIRST-PERSON: Mizzou, a key juncture for empathy

EDITOR’S NOTE: Daniel Woodman is a journalism student at the University of Missouri who served as Baptist Press’ 2015 summer intern.

COLUMBIA, Mo. (BP) — Racism will not end until God returns. I hear it all the time. It is not an incorrect statement, but it is an incomplete one. Racism will not end until God returns, but we have an obligation to fight racism around every corner until the trumpets sound.

That is why the protests at my university have been so monumental; they show that humans from diverse backgrounds can come together peacefully to bring about change. Do I completely agree with everything the protests have stood for? No. However, I also realize that racism is still a much larger problem than we like to admit and that we have an obligation to do something about it.

As Christians, we are called to empathize. I am well aware that many Christians don’t agree with the protests at the University of Missouri, but that should not be grounds to avoid empathy. I understand not agreeing with the motives behind a student going on a hunger strike. I do not understand how anyone could demean or joke about a student willing to starve himself to bring about change. I understand not agreeing with Tim Wolfe’s resignation as the university’s president. I do not understand how anyone could not have a broken heart when black students on campus are the subject of threats of violence.

Satan still roams the earth, and it is my firm belief that he hates empathy.

Empathy is the bridge that connects two sides of an issue. As a student on campus, I can assure you that there is a divided feeling about recent events. However, I am proud of my fellow students because when terrible, senseless threats were made to black students, the campus came together in a moment of unity to help get through a very rough moment. That is how empathy works; it breaks down the barriers of fear and allows us to see each other as the creations of God that we are and it helps us see beyond our differences in opinion.

I am also convinced that Satan hates what is happening right now. Racism is under attack. Empathy is being generated here on campus and, amidst all the controversy, there is still a consensus that we are all extremely blessed to be attending this college despite its shortcomings.

I would ask that you continue to pray for our campus. There is still a long way to go. Future administrators will fail to meet our expectations. It is inevitable. If we place all of our hope in the battle against racism on ourselves, we will always fall short. We must learn to turn to Jesus when our fellow man fails us. He is the only one who can wipe away the tears formed from years of oppression and He is the only one who can truly see past the color of our skin and judge us by the nature of our soul.

Please pray for Mizzou, but realize that the fight against racism doesn’t stop when you leave our campus.

    About the Author

  • Daniel Woodman