“A Church that has lost its voice for justice is a Church that has lost its relevance in the world.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
My heart is grieving over the murders of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery. Like many of you I am in shock that these atrocities are still happening in 2020! Jesus spoke out against injustice in the bible and His church should do the same.
Jesus exposed hypocrisy many times in the bible. One of my favorites was when the woman caught in adultery was brought to His feet. He disbanded the “stoners” by saying, “He without sin throw the first stone.” One by one, starting with the elder, they walked away.
Friends as a Christian white woman I cannot ignore the plight of my African American brothers and sisters. Racism is sin! It needs to be exposed in the hearts of men and women. We need to lay our stones, accusations, excuses and ignorance down! And we all need Jesus to heal our land. This, my friends, is not a political blog. This is me sharing my hurting heart. This is my way of encouraging you to share your heart, come to Jesus and ask Him to search you. This is my way of encouraging the church to come together and stand with those hurting, stand up for justice, expose wickedness and be the leaders our country needs. We must do better!
I do not have fancy words and I don’t know all the solutions to solve racism. But I can promise you I will always do my part to stand against it and to expose racism for the evil that it is.
Three ways to dismantle racism:
- Listen to people who are affected by racism.
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” –James 1:19
After praying and talking with God, one of the first things I did was call my dear friend and partner in ministry, Pastor Renee. For those who don’t know, Pastor Renee and I have been working in ministry together for over 20 years. She supported Josh and I when we were Kids pastors and when we were starting as senior pastors at age 25 (even though she is quite a bit my senior). She is my go-to person when my teenagers are giving me trouble. She is a woman of God, and she works harder than anyone I know to feed and care for the poor and marginalized in our community. She is a woman of few words, but when she speaks her words carry wisdom and authority. She also happens to be African- American. I have learned so much from Pastor Renee over the years and one of the things I have learned is how to listen. When we listen we show love. We must learn to listen to understand, not to argue our perspective! As my mom used to tell me, “God gave us two ears and one mouth.” I believe if we learn to listen more and talk less, God will show us ways we can see racism greatly reduced in our generation!
- Do life with people who are different than you.
“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hand.” – Revelation 7:9 ESV
The bible says heaven will have every tribe, language, and nation represented! I don’t want to wait until heaven to taste diversity and neither should you! It is okay to recognize differences in one another and to celebrate them. Diversity is beautiful and it is important to God. If not He would have made us all look, talk and act alike – how boring!
You can have diversity and unity at the same time. Diversity is not uniformity! Look at the day of Pentecost in Acts Chapter 2, where it states that the people from many different nations heard the disciples praising God in their language. It has always been important to God to reach people in a way that honors their cultures, not dismiss it. I personally have been so blessed to grow up with and live my whole life next to so many cultures. My neighborhood is one of the most diverse in our state. Our church is also diverse and even more importantly our dinner table is diverse. My children have seen us “do life” with people who look different than us, vote different than us and communicate different than us. We value diversity in every area of our lives and we teach this to our children. Diversity to me is a little piece of heaven.
- Pray and speak up when the Holy Spirit leads you to.
“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this.” Esther 4:14 NIV
God ordained you to be alive in 2020! You were born for such a time as this. Esther lived in a time where her people, the Jewish people, were discriminated against. As a matter of fact, there was a plot to exterminate them, yet God used people like Esther and Mordecai to bring deliverance. At first Esther was afraid, she felt unqualified. She had to be reminded she was ordained and anointed, so she spent three days in prayer and fasting and then she did something about it! Friends, the church really needs to spend time praying and fasting for the sins of racism and prejudice, but then we need to act. It is no longer acceptable to tolerate racism in our families, churches and country. It is time to come together with our African American brothers and sisters. Listen, learn and stand up for what is right.
If racism hurts your heart and you want to see healing in our land, I invite you to pray this prayer with me:
Heavenly Father, your heart is for all people to know you. You made mankind in your image and yet we as a nation have sinned by allowing racism to destroy people you created. Please turn the hearts of your people to you. Please help us find ways to dismantle racism and to understand this is spiritual warfare. Your word reminds us our struggle is not just against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities, institutions and systems that keep racism alive by perpetuating the lie that some people are inferior and others are superior. Please expose the lies with your truth as you draw your people to yourself. Create in us a new heart and a new mind. Help us lean in and learn to value and celebrate diversity as you do. Please heal our nation and our land. Please help the church rise up to do your will in our time. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.