Let's start off with an important fact: I'm white girl. I've never in my life been afraid in any circumstance because of the color of my skin. I've never been harassed by the police. I've never been afraid to get pulled over. I've never been afraid to be in contact with law enforcement. The history of my ancestors is very different. My parents and grandparents were not brutalized or harassed growing up in America because of the color of their skin.
When Michael Brown was shot in Ferguson, honestly I didn't care to read or listen or watch or educate myself. I thought I had nothing to do with it, and I frankly didn't care.
I wish I did, but I didn't. It seemed so distant from my life.
But now, I live around, work with and am close friends with people who are directly affected by what is happening in our country now, and they've reminded me that I am involved.
Me not caring, is me being involved.
Me denying that racism exists is me being involved.
Me denying my privilege is me being involved.
Me not asking black people or other people of color what they feel and are afraid of is me being involved.
And all of that is toxic. It's destructive and toxic and is what is tearing apart the church today, and our Church so greatly needs more than ever to be united.
Like I said, I've never really ever been afraid because of the color of my skin, so I can't at all understand being on the oppressed side of racism. I don't get it.
But, God is reminding me over and over that I have experienced being on the other side of privilege because of my gender. I can feel a tip of the iceberg of what it feels to have people claim that the thing you're most afraid of in your life, doesn't exist. My story is a story of sexual abuse and assault. I have heard over and over that it doesn't matter. People have told me it's not real, it's not important, it's my fault, I've heard it all,
Some people deny altogether that rape culture exists. It's not a real issue to them.
Some people get uncomfortable about it, and they don't want to talk about it. They don't care at all to educate themselves, and they really don't care about the issue to begin with. Some people do care, but they don't understand it. Some people don't think it affects them at all because they're not a victim. Many people in my life took the side of my abuser, and unfortunately that's not uncommon for victims. Injustice, crime, and the pain seem not to matter to them.
But, God has used that deep set pain in my life to help me emphasize on some level with the people who experience racial prejudice. In every situation, you need to listen to both sides. You need to listen to the victims. You need to hear the cries and heartbreaks of the people who are broken and who have been sinned against, and you need to validate them. You need to stand up for what is right. You need to speak the truth to whatever crowd you stand in front of.
When you watch the news, when you see the protests and the devastation, emphasize. When you see people being hurt and brutalized for the color of their skin, stand with them and stand for them. When you see police officers who are afraid to do their jobs, think of how they feel.
We can't generalize any group of people. We have to take the time to understand, to listen. We have to educate ourselves. We cannot say to one part of the hurting church that they are on their own. We are called as Christians, by God Himself to be there. It's our responsibility as members of the body of Christ. We can't say bye, peace out, because we don't like what they feel or have to say. We can't decide which part of justice we would like to stand up for, we are called to stand for it all.
1 Corinthians 12:12-27
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty,24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it,25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.