The overwhelming majority of Memphians, black and white, identify themselves as followers of Jesus Christ, but we routinely reject His teachings on conflict resolution. Instead of turning the other cheek, bearing with one another, and loving our enemies, we resort to raw power wherever we can harness it: in numbers, courtrooms, and legislatures. In doing so, we deepen our divisions and heighten our hostilities.
I fully support changing the identity of Forrest Park. For a large segment of our city, Gen. Forrest represents what we’re most ashamed of in American history: slavery and apartheid.
But not everyone shares that understanding. If we enforce our will because we possess the power to do so, without honest attempts to bear with our neighbors and understand their perspective, we perpetuate the entrenched enmity that is Memphis. This same dynamic is at work in our recent conflicts over school district unification and Cornerstone Prep/Lester.
Jesus’ answer: love one another, submit to one another, serve one another, bear with one another, be willing to be insulted and misunderstood. Use your power not to enforce your will, but to serve everyone, including your enemies.