Mission Mississippi: ‘Gracism’ can help bridge racial divides

Updated: May. 29, 2020 at 7:18 AM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Neddie Winters says racial reconciliation is about grace and humanity.

“How can I demonstrate to you human dignity and value that God sees in you? God doesn’t see blue lives, God doesn’t see black lives, God sees lives. And all of those lives matter,” Winters said.

Winters is the founder of Mission Mississippi, which for the last 27 years has been dedicated to bringing racial reconciliation to the Magnolia State.

As cities around the country demonstrate over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes, Winters says Mississippi can choose not to. Understanding each other bridges a lot of gaps.

“The greatest need of a human being beyond physical survival is to be understood," he said. "So the daily things that I can do as a Christian? Be very intentional about being very sensitive to my brothers and sisters in Christ, whether they’re black, white, male, female, whatever it is. Be understanding. Seek to understand.”

Winters says another way to bridge the divides that the racism debate brings is to seek out those who are different from you, and build a relationship.

“We say at Mission Mississippi: Pray with people of different races, pray with people of different denominations, pray with people of different political affiliations, pray with people that you want to get to know better,” Winters said.

In the end, the goal should be not to be blind to color, but to see it and celebrate the differences that make us each unique, Winters says. He calls it "Gracism."

“So let’s start getting to know one another, building authentic relationships so that when things in Minneapolis or Georgia or wherever those things happen, we have a place or a person that I can turn to and say, ‘Help me understand. Help me navigate through this.’”

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