Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth. (Genesis 1:26-28)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. (John 1:1-4)
The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ (Acts 17:24-28)
I read a twitter post earlier this morning that said, “racism isn’t worse today, it’s just finally being recorded.”
In the movie Hidden Figures there is a scene that displays where I feel that many, if not most, white Americans, if they will admit it, may find themselves.
I think many really believe we are not racist or prejudiced. I think that many believe that because we agree that slavery was wrong and incredibly unjust and we have a great respect for Dr Martin Luther King Jr and we cringe when we watch movies like “Mississippi Burning” and “A Time To Kill” that we are truly not racist. Yet, how many of us have never had a person of color in our home or been in the home of a person of color or built any type of friendship or relationship with anyone outside of our own race, nor have encouraged our children to do so.
When our youngest was six years old we were watching “The Help” at my Mother-in-Law’s on New Years Day and I recorded this conversation in a blog post:
Her first question came.
“Momma why can’t she go to the bathroom?”
So the explanation of the civil rights movement began and as I spoke my child’s beautiful innocent eyes looked at me with utter befuddled confusion. The fact that someone could be treated so horrible simply because of the color of her skin was completely foreign and insane to her. Proof that racism is taught, not natural.
Her next question came.
“But why Momma?”
My only answer.
“Foolish ignorance and human self-righteousness”
Racism is not just taught by our words, it is more so taught by our actions and often by our silence. I am white. My family is white. Yet, I grew up in and out of homes of black families that I considered family. They impacted my life and I loved them and I felt loved by them. I loved the color of their skin. I was jealous of it. Shoot, I still am! I always thought black is beautiful, I had to come to learn that so is this light skinned, freckled faced, red head.
To say that racism is not real is to lie to ourselves. So many of us live with this deep ingrained fear that has been planted as a seed inside of us and we don’t think it is there, until we find ourselves in a situation that causes it to sprout and reveal its presence. Then, boom, there it is. We didn’t think we were racist, until our child wanted to date that child of a different race. We didn’t think we were racist until we find ourselves lost and in that neighborhood after dark. The problem is, I believe, too often most of us justify it, excuse it, and brush it away when it shows up and so that seed sprout of fear remains and continues to dig its roots in us and it bears fruit subconsciously in ways that passes on from generation to generation. There has to be a generation that chooses to not justify, excuse, or brush away but instead chooses to face it, deal with it, and pull it out by its root.
Will this generation be the one?
My favorite part about serving on staff with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes is that we are multi cultural, non denominational, and it doesn’t matter if you are male or female, you get to have a voice in the service of the Lord. However, in order for us to do this we have to be purposeful. We have to intentionally and purposely pursue this unity and truth because the reality is seen on our school campuses. If we are not intentional our campus ministries divide. We can walk in a school huddle and will see the black students on one side, the hispanic students on another side, and the white students on another. We have to be intentional to start the campus ministry time with a game that forces the kids to get up, mix up, and communicate with one another. Once this happens the entire atmosphere of the room changes, and it’s a good thing.
If we want to see our world change we have to be intentional and purposeful and church it SHOULD start with us. We have to choose to get out of our bubble. Please get out of your bubble. I understand we are in quarantine right now and social distancing is a thing, but make plans now that when we can meet again to open your doors. That person that’s not your color, that’s not your race, that you are just acquaintances, or co-workers, or teammates with, invite them over. Get to know them. Get to know them so that one day you can have real and open conversations together about seeds of fear in your heart that you didn’t even realize they were there until they were.
I may not be able to change the world, but I can change me. I can change my family. I can work on the hearts of my kids and those in my area of influence. I may not have a voice that carries around the globe becoming viral on social media, but I do have a voice that can carry around my dining room table. I do have a voice that can be heard in my Sunday School room. I do have a voice that can be heard in my church. I do have a voice that can be heard in my classroom, at my lunchroom table, in the bleachers of my gym. I will be accountable to the God who gave it to me as to how and if I use it.
“For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Jesus, Matthew 12:37)
I began this post with Scripture. I began this way because I believe all the answers we need for life are right there in black and white. The Word of God, rightly used, will unite. The Word of God, rightly used, will teach us to love. The Word of God, rightly used, will conform us into the image of Christ and make us one… if we will let it.
In one of our FCA Coaches Events we had a counselor come and share about anxiety and how our coaches could help their athletes who struggled with it. The counselor shared the importance of not dismissing the emotions and feelings that the athletes were experiencing, but instead to acknowledge them. It is in the acknowledging not the dismissing that the one experiencing is able to be moved and settled and the reality of the situation is able to be changed. Validation of feelings allows us to be freed from them. If we are ever to change what we see going on in our nation concerning race, we have to be willing to validate the feelings of one another not dismiss or worse, belittle them. We have to be willing to listen. We have to be willing to hear. And for the love of God we HAVE to be willing to speak.