Especially after the election of Donald Trump, we hear almost daily that white male privilege has run its course and is to blame for nearly every ill in our society. It animates many new voices that seem to have large audiences. It is even one of the first go-to feelings when we see a video of a young Catholic male “smirking” at a Native American veteran simply expressing his constitutional right of free speech. Toxic masculinity has come in the form of commercials (see Gillette) and offered as a reason for mass shootings in our country.
Unfortunately, we seem to have missed the point.
According to Jeremiah 1:5 it is written, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” You see, everyone has privilege through Christ. The sad aspect of this thought is the non-belief so many have; that all they have been given, all they have achieved, has come from their own hard work. God has had no hand in their ‘success’, whatsoever. Our secular world doesn’t allow for the inclusion of a forgiving God that gave his only son so we could be consecrated as ‘prophet to the nations’. All of us. It’s a good lesson in that it’s not always what we see, but what we have been ignoring. We miss the virtues and the temperaments we each possess, that came to us from a loving God, because there are those who only seek to find those who did not achieve due to not their own inability, but the injustices of those who have who are unwilling to share.
What is truly missing in our modern society is coming to an understanding that we are all created for greatness, and it is critical that we each help one another fulfill that greatness. There should be no finger pointing, no excuses for our own ability to assist, just a wonderful commitment to serving others. As we approach the Lenten season, in which we are asked to give up something, let’s look to give up the anger, the divisiveness, the hatred, the lack of taking personal responsibility for our own lives, as well as the lives of others, particularly those in need. As Philippians 2:3-4 notes, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
We each are privileged to accommodate those teachings.