“He has told you, O Man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?”
These aren’t the days to shy away from them but these are the days to do more than say something from behind a computer and consider that justice. Of course, I have thoughts and this is my attempt at saying them. To my Black friends, please let me know how to be better. To my White friends, please read it with an open mind and heart and if it stings, I encourage you to sit with it and ask the Lord why it could be uncomfortable for you.
“Pray with your feet” was a constant statement said yesterday at a gathering I went to in downtown Atlanta. Pray for God to come and bring healing and reconciliation. Pray for Him to turn stone hearts into flesh. Pray for justice to flow like a river through the streets of our cities. AND also take action. Join the movement. Be the answer that you are crying out for. James says that without works faith is dead.
Being around my friends who are from all over the country has been interesting over the last few months as I am a White woman from the deep south. One who has worked in the system with schools, other social workers, hospitals, police departments, etc. in a small county with really small towns in Alabama. A white woman who has heard things like “there’s nothing wrong with “them” but you just shouldn’t marry “them”. One that has heard racist statements her whole life from all kinds of different people. I have a perspective that some people don’t. And I am trying to figure out how in the world to use that perspective for good. I’m not saying that every person in my life has hate as their driving force. I’m saying that we can all do better because here’s the thing: I’ve said things like this. I have biases that I am working through. I have thoughts that aren’t holy or uplifting.
I’m not interested in debates. I’m not interested in heated arguments. I’m not interested in pointing fingers. I’m interested in it starting with me. In listening and learning. In taking action. I’m not interested in trendy activism, I’m interested in heart change that brings Kingdom to this world. I’ve often wondered what I would have done had I lived during the Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement. Would I have stood up and brought light to injustice or would I have pretended like it wasn’t there? Would I have come up with some excuse that it wasn’t really that bad and that it was “their” problem and I should just stay out of it? Would I have stayed away from the “dangerous” parts of town?
A lot of people who read this won’t agree. They will poke holes and try to argue and say that it’s not that bad. That the country is just a mess and every one needs to calm down and just love one another. They will say that many of the Black people killed had long criminal records so it’s not really because of the color of their skin. They will say that the organizations out there fighting on the front lines have a different agenda and are just “stirring the pot”. They will say it’s all the media’s fault.
Last week I was at church out in Colorado and the pastor was talking about how he is learning and listening and trying his best to be on the right side of history. He said “I’ve lived in multiple states (he moved to America quite a few years ago) but I’ve never lived in Atlanta, GA or Birmingham, AL.” He was saying that while he is learning, he hasn’t lived in the “hot spots” for racism.
And it’s been hard as I have traveled the world over the last few years and as I have made friends from all over the United States. It’s been hard to come face to face with things that I have always been taught whether overtly or covertly. Things that are just understood. To know about towns that say things like “Black people know better than to be here after the sun goes down.” It’s been hard to learn because learning means sometimes changing your opinions that you have always had. It means humility and saying “I actually was very wrong in this way of thinking and I am sorry.”
This isn’t a post about whether or not the media is right sided or left sided. It’s not a post about whether all lives matter. It’s not a post about whether it’s all our President’s fault or not. It’s not a post about whether or not there is racism towards White people.
Because, friends. While those things matter this is the thing at the front and all the other “stuff” is distracting us from the real heart issue. It is an issue of whether or not we are living out the Gospel. It is time for the church to stand up and let the world know where you stand on sin issues. And I don’t mean by just reposting things on Facebook. I don’t mean getting into heated arguments with people who have different opinions than you do. Racism is sin. And racism is alive today whether you want to acknowledge it or not. Our Black brothers and sisters are hurting. They are angry and frustrated. I have Black friends and I have seen the judgement. I have felt it. I have been walking down the street with them and I have seen people cross to the other side. I have had conversations with them about how they have to act in certain situations so they aren’t seen as a threat. I hear the argument all the time that we shouldn’t be punished for things our ancestors did. I hear that “they” (our Black brothers and sisters) should just get over it and move on, they weren’t the ones that were slaves.
We. Are. Missing. It.
Our system was not created for Black people. When it was written “All men are created equal” Black people were not even considered people at that point in time. It wasn’t meant for them.
This is the kind of racism we are talking about here. And we are so scared of change that it is coming out in hate and finger pointing. It’s coming out in us avoiding these topics like they aren’t real because we think that defunding the police means there will be nobody to uphold the laws of the land. Which simply isn’t true. It means that we spread out that funding to things like child protective services, rehabilitation centers and the education system. It means we put things on an equal playing field so we can all work together. It means training police officers better to handle high stress situations. I had to go to school for 4 years to learn how to de-escalate situations without a weapon. I support the police, 100%. They are truly heroes. I also want to see them have better training and be held accountable to their actions in high stress situations where they are carrying weapons. One way to take action is to do your research. And I don’t mean just reading a million different opinions on Facebook but look up these organizations and these people on the front lines and see what they actually mean and what they are saying and doing. Social Media is a great thing for awareness but it’s not a great thing when it comes to actually knowing what’s happening out in the world.
“Not one culture can represent the totality of God”
That was a quote said yesterday at the Rally in Atlanta. I can’t represent God as a whole. Because we are all made in the image of God. Every tribe and nation. Every color. Every language. I am a piece. You are a piece. Our Black brothers and sisters are pieces.
Be willing to have your opinion changed. Be willing to listen and learn. I could go on forever and ever on this topic. Basically, put down social media and get out there and make friends with people who are different from you. Not for a research project but because you just simply want to love them and know them. Get out there and do your part. Research. March. Vote. Pray. Worship. Don’t try to be right in every conversation, seek to understand.
If you are looking for an organization to support here’s one: OneRace Movement
Yesterday we gathered to pray, worship and march through our city. We prayed over the police chief of Atlanta. We prayed for our leaders. We prayed for our Black brothers and sisters. We prayed for unity in the church to heal division in the land. We worshipped and celebrated how far we have come and we got fired up and ready for all that there is still left to do. This is an organization I can get behind because it’s diverse with Jesus at the center of it all. He is the only one that can bring healing to this country and our world.
Get out there and pray with your feet!
And register to vote HERE!