WHY HAVE I NEVER SPOKEN UP BEFORE?

Why have I never spoken up before? Why have I never said anything? Why have I never changed? 

Oh, sure I said plenty to myself while I scroll through news feeds and read the headlines. I’ve talked about it with my wife and prayed about it. Prayed for the victims, prayed for the mothers who are crying on camera again. 

Does it continue because people don’t speak up? Oh, people speak up, people yell, people write, people cry out for justice. But I remain silent. Why? Worried how people would view me? Worried that those in uniform might think I’m against them. Worried that I might offend someone. Worried that I’ll say the wrong thing. Worried that someone might see my stand and stop listening all together. 

Racism is wrong. Black men are dying. Black boys are being murdered. This is wrong. I would bet you’d agree. That’s an easy statement to get, an easy statement to even understand. People get it, children even get it, but what happens over the course of a human life that we forget to act human? God created us all in His image, but we like to see only what makes us different rather than see how He made us like Him. We are in God’s own words from the very beginning, “very good.” But what happened? How did we go from “very good” to this? What happened? 

In the 1800s it was slavery, 1930s lynching, 1950s segregation, and 2010s manslaughter. You might be thinking I wasn’t a part of that, I know that is bad. But why haven’t things changed? Why do people choose politics over people? Why do people of color grow up in a racist world in 2020? Why is racism still an underlining and overwhelming part of our American society? 

You’d think we would understand that all people are made equal. Here’s where I am ashamed too…I’m a follower of Christ. I’m called to love above. I’m inspired by Christ to bring Heaven to the world around me. But, I’ve remained silent. What can we do? What can those that are a part of this great big, diverse family of God do to stand up and speak out against racism?  We are called to set the example of unconditional, sacrificial love. It should be hardwired into us.

In the book of Amos (5:12-15), God says this to a wealthy, religious and comfortable Israel: “For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: afflicting the just and taking bribes; diverting the poor from justice at the gate. Therefore, the prudent keep silent at that time, for it is an evil time.

Seek good and not evil, that you may live; so the Lord God of hosts will be with you, as you have spoken. Hate evil, love good; establish justice in the gate. It may be that the Lord God of hosts will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.” 

What can the church do right now? We need to repent, seek forgiveness, and love our neighbors. We can speak out against white supremacy instead of just reading about it.  We can make friends with people that come from a different background than our own. We can teach our own families the truth and show them how to love. We need to serve those who the world sees as less than. We need to make more room at the table for those voices that have been undervalued. We need racial healing. We need spiritual healing. We need His Spirit to speak boldly over our selfish voices. In the beginning, when things were perfect and God said we were “very good,” we choose to walk alongside God. Then the world was changed forever because we choose ourselves above all. 

Jesus, change me. Jesus give me more of You and less of me. We all need more of Him and less of ourselves. Jesus should change everything and everyone. Has He changed you?

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Central Christian Church | Mount Vernon, Illinois