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McKinnon: diagnosis of a heart

June 3, 2020

Racism is an ugly symptom. It’s a component and a distinct quality that comprises a much larger problem that’s growing all around us today: Evil.

As a lawyer we are trained to get to the heart of the issue as quickly as possible for our clients. And when possible, to resolve “the whole” of their issue, not simply “a part.” One tactic often taught to young lawyers is to encourage them to ask their clients, “If you were given a magic wand, what outcome would you like to see happen?” The reason this question is asked is that when you acquire clarity of the ideal resolution it is a magnificent facilitator of “core-problem identification;” a shortcut to the heart of the issue.

As social beings we often talk about problems, and how they make us feel. And we talk in ways that can sometimes conflate and unintentionally confuse circumstance with causation. This confusion is natural and also seems to be more apparent in intensely emotional issues. Which brings me to the problems we are facing today in properly addressing racism–it’s the problem we have always faced with racism: Racism is a symptom of evil and it cannot exist without the underlying condition.

Let me attempt to illustrate this by asking two simple questions. First, if we were to eliminate all of evil, would racism still exist? Second, if we were to erase all of racism, could evil still exist? These questions are simply tools that allow us to source the problem properly and gain consensus that racism is encompassed inside the larger issue of evil.

As much as we need protest, we need prayer more. Not tongue and cheek, temporary, reactionary, bandaid “thoughts and prayers.” REAL PRAYER.

Symptoms of evil are not remedied by a mere changing of the mind, a resolution made in the intellect. Solutions of this nature require a transformation of the heart and of the soul. Politicians and posts, articles and research, can all be well and good in trying to get us to intellectualize the answers we seek. But I can promise you these paths will never get us all the way home. To change the heart and truly listen to the soul, we need time in prayer.

How many times have we seen hardened criminals, KKK members, men and women whom you would discard as irredeemable actually change their ways? We DO see it happen. And when it does, how many times do we hear them say that it was through prayer, through seeing the light, through finding God? It’s a nearly universal thread that runs through these metamorphoses.

Rarely do I hear of a rehabilitation brought about by academic discussion. Rarely is anyone “convinced” of such change because changes such as these must be made in the heart. The intellect alone will not suffice. What we must never lose sight of is that at the bottom of all this mess, all this ugly and disgusting racism, lies a foundation of evil. After all, isn’t it always ultimately about Good and Evil? And that battle is waged on a much larger floor than the Senate.

God teaches us that there is a divine likeness in all of us and it’s long past time we recognize that in everyone. That seems like a good place to start. John the Apostle tells us God is Love (1 Jn 4:16). He does not say God is Law. In these times we need love to save us, not law. Law may compel change of action but the true change we seek requires change of being.

So today I am not praying for a mere change in people’s minds, but rather something far deeper and more meaningful: a change of hearts; a conversion in essence, not merely in action. This transformation can only truly be initiated in the heart, through God, who is love.