The unjust killing of Ahmuad Arbery shook the Christian world. Which is good. More people are becoming aware of the injustices towards blacks. They’re hurting. They’re confused. They’re anxious. They want to join the fight. For my white brothers and sisters, I would ask that you read this with an open mind. Know that we are not attacking white people.
Though you may never be able to fully empathize, you can absolutely sympathize. You can learn. You can listen. It may be uncomfortable and that’s ok. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. These blogs were written by three black men that are pastors in predominantly white churches. Our hearts are to see unity. We also understand that racism is universal, but historically in the church and America, blacks have suffered great pain and hurt due to racism. We want to do our part to help educate and equip followers of Jesus to be active in the fight.
From my many talks with white Christians, your silence at times isn’t because you don’t care, but you don’t know how to care. Or you’re afraid to say the wrong thing. Or being called racist. Truly, that is understandable. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. One of my good friends from East Texas has been battling and working through his own thoughts about racial topics and has been texting me some really good questions. I love it. Questions show that you care. Questions lead to clarity, and when you have clarity you have confidence. Confidence to play your part.
But where do you start? That is always the biggest question.
Awareness. Acknowledgment. Accountability. Action.
Four intentional ways that we as followers of Jesus can/should respond to racial injustices and apply to our lives immediately.
You’ll see us quoting Eric Mason often. He is the author of Woke Church
In this first blog, we wanted to touch on awareness and acknowledgment.
Be sure to check out part 2 How Should Christians Respond to Racial Injustices? Part 2 – A Call To Action
Gideon is one of my best friends who is a youth pastor in Atlanta and writes about how the fight for racial reconciliation can’t start until you know that there is a fight to be had.
We must understand first that, Justice is not our (people of color) idea, But it is God’s idea.” I say that because the scriptures speak heavily about God being “Just” meaning that He is morally right and fair at all times. He is morally perfect and desires moral perfection from everyone that he has created in His image.
13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
The word exposed means rebuke. To refute. Implying that there is an issue. What Paul is saying is that the Spirit helps us see things in our society that others don’t. We become socially conscious because of Jesus. Socially aware of the systemic impact around us. Eric Mason says, “being woke has to do with seeing all the issues and being able to connect cultural, socio-economic, philosophical, historical, and ethical dots.”
In being aware, this means that you begin the first step towards being fully active in the fight. This means that you realize there is a problem. Problems with police brutality against blacks, systemic and systematic racism in our country, and though you may not have ever personally been affected, or completely understand (which isn’t the goal), you are aware these injustices affect not just people, but image-bearers of God and attempts to tear down the unity of the body of Christ. That is awareness.
I believe that if we look to the scriptures and pray for God to show us how to engage with others around us we will see the opportunities unfold to demonstrate the “fairness and equity” of God to the people around us! I believe our witness and reach would be strengthened and effective as we adopted and respond to the fact that, Justice is not our idea, but it is God’s idea.
accept or admit the existence or truth of
Eric Mason says that, “Our history has been hard for people of color and the church must be willing to acknowledge those hard truths if we are to move toward healing.”
When your black brothers and sisters speak of the pain that they have experienced listen and acknowledge. Acknowledging sounds something like: ” I’m sorry, that this is your reality, I want to be in this fight with you.” You have validated the pain and said we are on the same team. You’ve also shown love to your neighbor.
You don’t have to understand to love.
Whenever an unarmed black man or child is shot unjustly, reach out to your friends of color. Call them. Text them. Email them. Tell them you’re thinking of them. You’re praying for them. You love them. Share their post if they decide to speak. Lift up their voice.
Silence is not acknowledgment.
So for those of us that are in Christ Jesus, we can not sit back and watch when injustice happens around us. We are to take an active role in the “Fairness and Equity” of our neighbors. That is our Christian and non-christian neighbors. That is our Anglo, African American, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, European, Arabic, Christian, Muslim…You get the point. We are to exercise the righteousness and justice of God all around us because that is how we usher in the Kingdom of God.
Thank you so much for reading! Be on the lookout for part 2 of this topic next week.