Peter was already the act first, think later kind of disciple. He is often known for denying Jesus 3 times in a 12 hour period, and sinking in the water after he began to doubt Jesus, but I still find it crazy that Peter even got out of the boat.
I’m just picturing myself in his sandals, thinking to myself, “Should I go?” “What will the others think about me?” “What will they say if I fail?” “Is Jesus even real?”
But here’s what I believe to be true:
Peter would have never gotten out of the boat unless he saw someone else out there first! Peter would have NEVER imagined that he could walk on water unless he saw Jesus doing it first.
As I started thinking about this as a young black man, I thought about the importance of Black History Month and how important it is to see others that look like you succeed. I’m not saying that if Jesus, was a white male or a different race from Peter, that Peter wouldn’t have walked out there. I just know that from my personal experiences (and other black people) how important it was for me to see people my color pursuing to be something that was against the grain of history. Even when it became illegal to discriminate in the workplace on the origin of race, many states found ways to continue to oppress blacks. The quality of education for blacks was poor as well. This is why you see many blacks prior to the 1970s working in the food industry and janitorial positions.
As a kid, I did not like being black. 3rd and 4th grade were HARD! I had many white friends that would treat me differently because I didn’t live in the same neighborhood as them, didn’t have as nice clothes, they always had the best equipment for their sports, they asked me about why my hair looked the way it did and so on. I remember seeing my white male classmates put water on their hair to spike it up and the girls LOVED it. I figured I could do the same so I went into the bathroom and put water on my hair and absolutely nothing changed LOL! I was uneducated on my culture and how my hair worked, but I didn’t fully know that it was OK to have a different skin color than my classmates. Not solely a different skin color. A different culture.
I lacked understanding of my cultural identity, I was very insecure and tried so hard to be someone that I’m not. It really wasn’t until recently that I gained a Godly confidence.
Black history is important because we have privileges, that we should respect and be thankful for. We can’t do that unless we learn about our history. We become better stewards of the privileges that we are afforded when we educate ourselves which then leads to greater thankfulness for those that have come before. Very similar to Jesus. If we don’t truly educate and learn who Jesus is, how can we understand how much he has done for us? We simply can’t. We have to learn about Him.
It’s important because it can educate people about historic events and figures that they are unaware of. I can not emphasize enough how much history plays into how much we see today. Whether it’s racial controversy over police shootings, protesting, blacks calling for equality or socioeconomic differences between blacks and whites. I promise, it is all linked to past events and eras. History tells our story! The story of America. And unfortunately, people of color haven’t been talked about very often in history books which overall leads to a misunderstanding of a race.
It also highlights the positive things in black history.
Instead of only learning about what seemed like only the negative things of Black History. Slavery. Lynching. Riots. Jim Crow. It’s important that we learn that the black culture is more than its past, and has played a major role in the development of America and Christians. Young black kids need to be able to look around them as they are growing up and see people that look like them being firefighters, nurses, doctors, police officers, teachers, etc. Growing up I didn’t have one black male teacher. This reality played a large part in my thinking that I couldn’t pursue to be a teacher. It just didn’t seem like something that people that looked like me pursued. I grew up half-heartedly believing that I wanted to be in the NBA because of Lebron and Kevin Durant. It almost seemed like my culture was telling me, “This is what you do.”
As kids, we’re told that we can be anything that we want to be. But what helps us believe that is seeing it in action. Being able to look at that black president and know that it truly is possible. To look up to that black teacher or favorite restaurant owner and envision yourself doing it as well. Just like Peter. Before he saw Jesus walking out there, his faith was smaller and predictable. But when Peter saw someone else doing something that he never imagined was possible, his faith grew and he did what seemed to be unthinkable.
Please know that I write this blog post about Black History Month from a place of thankfulness and not a place of anger. I truly just want to educate those around me so that we can all love each other in a more genuine way.
In Conclusion: Honoring those that have come before us is one of the most important things we can do. Veterans Day, President’s Day, Cinco de Dayo, and Black History Month are ways that we can learn more about the past so that we can appreciate the current and work towards the future. Peter would have never gotten out of the boat unless he saw Jesus out there first. This month celebrates blacks in a way that was rare 30 years ago. It tells us that our past doesn’t define who we are, and that is why this month is so important.