“What are you?”
“Where are you from?”
“Is your hair naturally curly?”
These are all questions that I have an automatic answer to. My response rolls out of my mouth as easily as a greeting of, “Hi, how are you?”
Now, friends, before we get rolling, I want you to know where my heart lies so that you understand that these words come from a place of love. My dad is black, my mom is white, which means that I am mixed. I’m talking as a mixed 19 year old girl right now, but please know that I do my research on current issues and let my feelings trickle in later. It’s my duty, and yours, too, to do our own personal research on matters such as race. Tainted information is toxic.
Racism and Jesus do not exist in the same space. As Christians, it is our job to love God and love people — no exclusions, no matter the time frame. As women, think about your sons, daughters, husbands, mothers, etc. in a position of a Black American today. Does it make you uncomfortable? This is why we have to do something about the racism happening on our own stomping grounds.
Being “white passing” has its own set of privileges that I won’t deny. For me, it also includes a consistent nagging inner voice of never feeling quite enough; I’m not Black enough but I’m also not white enough, a statement that has been echoed to me by many others. But I know that even my worst struggle will never amount to the magnitude of fear and grief that my family and friends endure simply for the color of their skin. I love so much about this life, but I am constantly reminded through every - flick passed another - death story on my phone, that there are so many people who behave in vile and ignorant ways in this world. When sin entered the scene, this type of evilness came along with it. But as followers of Jesus, we are to be set apart. To be light in the darkness. To stand up for the oppressed. To be a voice for justice. To combat the enemy with the love of Christ and to be that love to those around us.
I say this from the deepest depths of my ever so sensitive soul: racism is not a question nor is it a political issue. It is a Gospel issue.
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”
Matthew 5:23-24 (NIV)
To give some context of this scripture, this is the part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount where He is telling people — telling us — to reconcile first, before coming to Him in offering. According to Oxford Languages, reconcile is defined as “cause to coexist in harmony.” Jesus is ultimately saying that coexisting in harmony must take precedence over offering one's gifts in worship. Racism is the opposite of coexisting in harmony. Racism is division, dominance, and hate. Reconciliation is a lesson that both the oppressor and the oppressed have to learn and take action upon. So how do we take action in today’s day and age? We battle against racism. We partner with those fighting for justice. We teach our children that the color of our skin shouldn’t decide who is worthy or not. Strong women lead strong children who lead the future. We start where we can with what we have, knowing that the Prince of Peace Himself did the same with His time here on Earth. If you’re a follower of Jesus, you are a part of God’s family, and we fight for our family, no matter the color of their skin. So let's fight.
Part of Jesus’ gospel is the hope of the oppressed and the oppressor. We cannot love God without loving His people. We are all covered with God’s mercy whether we think one another deserves it or not. As hard as it may be for me to wrap my head around this truth, I don’t get to decide who deserves love or not — we don’t get to decide who deserves love or not. Jesus did that on the cross. It’s our job to love people like He loves people.
I want to leave you with a course of action. Words mean nothing unless they are acted upon. My sister said it better than I ever could: “My game plan is to address my privilege and to do better by using my voice when my Black friends cannot; to lead by example even when it’s not fun or convenient or easy; to call out my people on their prejudices; and to simply love people and be a nice human.”
Will you join me?
At The Well, we desire to be a community of women who live out our potential and purpose in Christ, lead where God has placed us, and encourage others to do the same.
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