i have had these thoughts (though not quite as mature or well-formulated to-date) for years. only recently when it feels like humanity has broken down a little more and in a time where the sinfulness of man is perhaps more visible than ever, have i cared enough to think of ways to actually DO something. to stop worrying about putting my foot in my mouth and counting the cost before i’ve started and saying more via social media than i ever do with my life. i’m tired of caring about something or someone only when a crisis occurs. i’m sickened by my inability to empathize with human beings. i’m disgusted by how disconnected the way i use my time and words and tears has truly been representative of the heart of god. what a luxury to get to look away and what a profound disgrace.
i have had many conversations with friends in the last couple of weeks (primarily white friends that are mostly like me, mind you) about what’s going on. everyone fumbling for the words and to voice our despair and depression over the state of things. listen — i don’t know what to say. way too much has been said and so much of it is vastly unhelpful and not even an iota of enough and i have trouble believing my words matter either. and to a degree, they don’t. not if the feelings behind them don’t lead to compassion and to seeking to understand instead of begging to be understood. not if i’m more worried about what my words would sound like than what my silence would scream.
because i love god, i will speak up. the same way i want to speak up about the devastation of abortion, the way i despise the sex trade, the way i should care about child soldiers in foreign countries i will never ever visit, the way my heart is broken when any of god’s people are seen as less than their full worth. i have to care. if god’s people do not care — who will? who, except those who have received RADICAL GRACE, will and can stand up for the afflicted, the oppressed? it’s our very bloodline, you know? god’s chosen people, a royal priesthood. also? former slaves. also? promised affliction and struggle.
do you know that i have rarely felt that? i have rarely felt the ravage beast Injustice in my own white-girl american experience. i have seldom had the crippling fear of Persecution banging down my door because of the color of my skin or where i was born. i have never once in my life feared for my life or had to risk fleeing my country. i am blissfully ignorant. and thank god! what an amazing gift to never even consider my safety in daily life. but yet, there are so many who this has not been their story, has not been their narrative. do you know that every single one is made in the image of god? that jesus died on the cross to save ALL — even the ungodly, even while we were still sinning? the ones you think are the worthy of that sacrifice and the ones you think absolutely are not. but do you see the problem with our mentality that we get to decide which human being has merit and which does not? it elevates us to a righteous judge, it infers that we WERE somehow deserving of the sacrifice (which we assuredly were not, by the way). jesus died so that every human being would have LIFE and life to the FULL. an amazing, undeserved gift. offered freely to all.
and yet. there has been a huge population WITHIN OUR OWN COUNTRY that has not felt this to be so. black americans have historically and recently not felt valued as human beings (and truly have not BEEN valued as human beings). there are a myriad of other words and arguments being tossed around but listen: a great majority of the black population — in the millions — of human beings on our own free soil have, first in whispers and now in blood-curdling screams, been trying to convince us of their worth. if there was 10 black people in the whole country feeling victimized — fine. when, almost without exception, every black person has tried to tell us of their shared experiences and we respond with “no, it is not,” we are degrading their experiences to ours. we are looking through rose colored glasses telling them that “victimization” and “targeting” is actually just “sensitivity” or something they’ve conjured up, as if they’d like this to be true.
this conversation has miles to go and many wounds to heal before it is solved.
as christians, we are heirs to a bloodline that saved ours. we were washed clean and saved by the blood of a slaughtered lamb who was pierced for our transgressions. none of us are good, not even one — not even a white christian with the privilege of being born in a country with so many freedoms and the ability to choose from practically anything we’d like to become. we should use our so-called privilege to do what jesus did — stand for those who cannot. use our voices to call out injustice. use our platforms to call up into the tree to the one who doesn’t belong and say “let me come to your house”. as christians, let us look more like christ: humble, quick to listen, the one filled with compassion and prompted to move. we cannot stay silent anymore.