June 26, 2017
Is it possible to love people, and really love them not just say it, and to listen with our whole hearts? Is it possible to reach out to someone who literally hates you, preaches that hatred and lives it? Can we really turn the other cheek, show love, and make a change? The story of Daryl Davis is one that shows that, although the work is slow, it is most certainly possible to affect change simply through love, and through sitting together and hearing each other – really and truly hearing each other.
The documentary, Accidental Courtesy, details the life and work of musician Daryl Davis and it completely blew me away. His “day job” is as a musician, and he has had a very successful career. But, his “hobby” is to sit with KKK members and to really listen to them and actually to befriend them. Considering the fact that Mr. Davis is an African American makes this kind of work truly fascinating and heart –wrenching, to say the least.
His strategy is one of love, non-violence, and just listening to people. Over the years, with lots of love and lots of conversation, about 20 members of the KKK have resigned the KKK – all simply because they came to know and love Daryl Davis. He didn’t beat them over the head, sue them, protest them, or anything of the sort. He simply insisted that through conversation people could get to know each other – and he was correct. It’s amazing to watch some of the interviews he had in the documentary with former hate-filled KKK members and to see him show his “collection” of the robes of former KKK members. It’s absolutely amazing.
Some scenes in the documentary are very difficult to watch. One such scene is one in which Mr. Davis talks with 3 Black Lives Matter activists. They consider Mr. Davis to be a “traitor” to their cause because he isn’t working on issues in “his community” but rather “wasting time” on a few hate-filled KKK members. Although I agree that we should all be working on providing equality of opportunity for everyone, and I most certainly believe in the Black Lives Matter movement, I also disagree with the organizers he spoke with that Mr. Davis is wasting his time or that he is a traitor to his race. The Black Lives Matter organizers carried on a very vitriolic and hateful conversation with Mr. Davis and it was quite heated. Unfortunately, they did not part friends and it was very difficult to watch. I realize the issues that face African Americans in my country are difficult indeed, but I much prefer Mr. Davis’ approach to these issues – non-violence, discussions, and love. It is unfortunate that people become so angry as to resort to name-calling, bullying, and hatred.
The other difficult scenes to watch are the KKK rallies. The hatred is palpable, and completely not understantable. I will never understand such hatred and I will most certainly never ever understand why these hate groups consistently insist that they are “Christians.” That certainly isn’t any kind of Christianity of which I want to take part.
I am so thankful to Daryl Davis for putting his truth out there for all of us to see. And, I am so thankful for the work that he does and the love that he shows for absolutely everyone – including people who don’t agree with him and including people who flat-out hate him. I am absolutely humbled and inspired by Mr. Davis.
Matthew 5:44-45 (NRSV): But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.
Serve all with love.
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