Before you read this post you need to understand where I’m coming from. This post is directed towards the response of white Christians towards the black community in America. Of course, there’s application outside white Christians living in America, but that’s the primary direction I’m writing in.
Last week I wrote The Church CANNOT Be Silent which talked about how to view what’s going on in our country from God’s point of view. It was a call to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those that are hurting and oppressed.
And I think that’s an important place to start. Before anything else, we should look at things from God’s perspective and remind ourselves of what He’s called us to. But it’s equally important that we don’t stay there. We need to take a step. We need to take action.
That’s what this post is, it’s a call to action. It’s what we as Christians, as the Church, should be doing. Words by themselves are useless. They mean nothing. Words followed by action bring change.
Prayer does things that we cannot see or fully understand this side of heaven. Prayer should be the first thing we turn to when we find ourselves or someone else is in need.
But it can be tough to know what to pray for. So I want to give you 5 specific things you can pray for.
- Pray for the family/friends that have lost a loved one to a senseless killing.
- Pray for healing from systematic racism in our country.
- Pray for the black community that is fighting for equality.
- Pray for the police officers/officials as they navigate extremely volatile situations.
- Pray that God would give you opportunities and boldness to show His love.
I would encourage you to pray through these not just once, but regularly. Maybe write them down and put them somewhere you will see them each day. Or maybe set a reminder on your phone that goes off at a specific time.
The first step every Christian should take is to devote regular time to prayer. Prayer is where it starts, but it should never be where it ends. Prayer should always lead to action.
Engage With Different Voices
We tend to drift towards voices that sound like ours from people that look like us.
Another easy step to take is to lean in on conversations that are happening from different viewpoints. Instead of reading, listening to, and watching people that share our skin color. A good practice would be for us to intentionally branch out. Download a podcast or buy a book from someone that looks different than you. That simple step will help you see and understand things from a different perspective.
To take this a step further we should engage in an actual conversation. Face to face. It can be as simple as sitting down over a cup of coffee with a friend, neighbor, co-worker, or acquaintance. When we sit at the table with someone it can help us see them as a person. Rather than an opponent.
Jemar Tisby’s The Color of Compromise tells the history of America through the eyes of its black citizens. And shows how the Church has participated in allowing racism to exist. It also gives concrete solutions for improved race relations and a racially inclusive church.
Dr. Christena Cleveland’s Disunity in Christ explores the social factors that have split the Church, leading to Sunday morning being the most segregated hour in America.
The Truth’s Table podcast talks about talking about theology, culture, race, and justice. It features Michelle Higgins, Ekemini Uwan, and Dr. Christina Edmonson.
Talk With Your Kids About Racism
If you are a parent and haven’t talked to your kids about racism now is the time. Help them understand on their level what’s going on and empower them (in safe ways) to be the change that this world needs.
Here’s some resources:
I’ve seen several groups of Christians that are going to the protests in their area both to show support and offer help. What an incredible picture of the Church going to those that are hurting. Imagine if that’s what the Christians were known for. Not just in a few isolated places, but all over.
Bringing water, food, and medical supplies to hand out to both the protesters and police is a simple yet loving step you can take.
But don’t just hand out supplies, also show your support for those protesting. Show them that you see them and value them by standing beside them.
I know some people’s first reaction to that will be the risk involved. What if something bad happens while I’m there? Yes, there’s risk. But God risked a whole lot for you and me. Our mission isn’t to play it safe, it’s to seek and love the hurting and lost. A good way for us to love those in our community that are hurting is to physically go to where they are.
Stop Saying All Lives Matter
I get it, all lives do matter equally to God. And most people would agree that all lives do matter. The problem is all lives don’t equally matter in our country.
Think about your body. Image your heart is damaged, it’s not functioning as it should. So you quickly head to the hospital because you know that your heart matters in order for your body to function. Once at the hospital you frantically tell the doctor what was going on in hopes that he can fix it. But then out of his mouth come the words, you know your lungs and liver matter too, right? Yeah, of course, you know all your organs matter. But right now your heart is in danger and needs attention.
Saying black lives matter isn’t downplaying the equality of other lives, rather it’s highlighting a group of people who’s lives are undervalued in our community. When Christians come along saying no, all lives matter it minimizes what they are going through.
Black lives matter isn’t saying other lives don’t matter. Rather it’s saying that black lives aren’t valued equally. Rather than excuse it we should listen to what they are saying.
I think most Christians say this from a good place, but it doesn’t come off that way. It’s time to stop saying all lives matter and support those whose lives aren’t valued equally.
Maybe one of the best things we can do is shut up and listen. For those that are coming from a place of privilege maybe the most helpful thing we can do is listen. So often our own voices drown out the voices that we need to hear.
It’s easy for us to offer our thoughts and fight for what we think is the best solution. And I’m not saying we shouldn’t do that. But before we do that we should make sure we’ve listened. If we don’t listen then there’s no way we can really understand the problem.
So before you say anything else take some time to listen. Hear the voices that are crying out. Listen to what they are saying. After all, isn’t that what Jesus did?
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