Last year, I met LeTesha Wheeler, who quickly became a dear friend. She had written a book and was working to launch it into the world, something I enjoy helping authors do. Writing a book is hard work and it’s definitely something that should be celebrated. As I spent time with her, I learned her heart for people and the deep longing she has for reconciliation in this world. She is a precious representation of God’s heart for all people, no matter our melanin levels.
Half Breed breaks down the story of the Good Samaritan in a way that I had never read before. This parable takes on a whole new meaning when we put ourselves in the story and ask ourselves what it means to be a good neighbor. And, much to my chagrin, the character I identify the most to in the story is not the Good Samaritan, but those who crossed by, too busy, too focused on other things.
“I’ve learned from experience that ignoring and turning away is not a solution or option. Jesus never sat back and did nothing. Instead of walking away like the Levite, ask yourself what God’s perspective is on the issues of injustice, hatred, division, and assaults against humanity. What is His solution? What would His response be?” p. 87
Half Breed always brings us back to God and the grace and forgiveness he extends. After all, we can’t pursue unity or reconciliation apart from the finished work of Christ. It’s his forgiveness and kindness that compels us to embrace the difficult and unpopular stance of radical unity and live out what it means to be a neighbor.
The truth is that there are deep divides in this nation and immense hurt proceeding from each and every one of these chasms. This isn’t only present in the world, but is readily apparent in the church. We have an opportunity as the body of Christ, not to gloss over the very real racial and social issues, but to confront them, heal from them, and move together as a united front. We can choose to embrace each other, not because of the color of our skin or the commonality of our experiences, but because of the faith that we share.
If I had to sum up Half Breed in one word, I would choose “honor”. Every single page of this book is dripping with honor and grace. Not all books written about the topic of racial issues can say the same thing. Often, when I read a book about racism or discrimination I feel guilty for being white, as if the color of my skin automatically makes me the villain in the story. In one sense, this guilt is good, because it helps me to feel how others feel every single day, and moves me to action. But I never felt like I was “bad” or “less than” while reading Half Breed, instead, I was challenged to confront issues I see in my life and community and pursue unity with those around me. Whether you are black, white, or anywhere in between, I believe there’s something in this book for you.
Half Breed doesn’t pull any punches in addressing one of the most prominent issues of our time. May we be the courageous ones who are willing to go first, pursue those who are different than us (as Jesus did), and love those people who society says we shouldn’t. May we take a different stance than the Priest or the Levite, and live like the Good Samaritan who healed from his own hurts so that he could heal another.
Have you read Half Breed?
How do you practically “love your neighbor”?
To go Deeper: Read The Ministry of Reconciliation, What is Justice?
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