It is impossible to ignore the brokenness and pain in our country and in our world today. We would be doing a disservice to our loved ones and to our community if we did not speak up. Ana, Molly and I acknowledge that we have a platform we can use to fight for social justice as a result of Common Ground Blog and we want to do so. However, we also recognize that the challenges facing the Black/African-American community are not ones that we have ever experienced first hand, and so we want to be thoughtful and humble with what we say.
As I have read the news, watched videos on Instagram, and followed the hashtags, my heart breaks. My heart breaks over the senseless murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others. My heart is broken because of the evident racism still pervasive in our country. My heart breaks at the ignorance people display and the lack of compassion evident in many words published for the world to see. There is a darkness to wrestle through and it is heavy and it is uncomfortable.
In my wrestling and thinking and praying, I have come to the conclusion that I have much more listening to do before I can speak. My words hold little meaning, but the Word of God carries weight and truth to it needed for such a time as this.
Jesus was marked by his compassion, his righteous anger, his investment in the outcasts, and his sacrificial love.
And we should be marked by that too.
If you are sitting back silently watching all of this turmoil, I do not want to condemn you, but I would like to challenge you.
What would Jesus do if he was physically present with us?
He would not ask questions about who was right or wrong in a situation (because at the end of the day there is no debate — murder is wrong). He would not attempt to rationalize the situation by looking at statistics or finding other justifications. He would not check out of the conversation because it feels uncomfortable.
He would love first.
He would grieve with George Floyd’s family over his loss because he was a precious human made in the image of God. He would meet people in their pain and in their fears of what happens next or what it could mean for their future. He would stand strong in support of the defenseless. He would fight for justice, while being full of grace for people willing to learn how to be better.
He would love first, and He still does.
If you want to understand more of why He would love first, read the Gospels. Need a place to start? Check out the list below.
Matthew 11:28-30 – Jesus invites us to bring him our burdens.
Luke 7 – Jesus heals the son of a Roman officer (an enemy), raises a widow’s son, and eats with the Pharisees and rebukes their judgment of a sinful woman.
Isaiah 40:11 – A prophecy of the way Jesus cares for his flock.
Genesis 1:26-27 – We are made in God’s image and he has called us very good.
Isaiah 63:9 – Another foretelling of the character and compassion of Jesus.
Matthew 8:3 – Jesus heals a leper, which was controversial because lepers were considered “unclean.”
John 4 – Jesus holds a compassionate conversation with a Samaritan woman. For starters, the Jews hated the Samaritans, this woman had been married five times and so she was looked down on by her community, and she was likely barren causing her to be scorned by men. Jesus loved her anyways.
Matthew 9 – Three accounts of Jesus healing and forgiving and Jesus calling Matthew the tax collector to follow him. Tax collectors were the most hated people because they were known for stealing money from the people. Jesus saw his value anyways.
Matthew 20:29-34 – Jesus sees two blind men, has mercy on them, and heals them.
Mark 6:30-44 – Jesus feeds the five thousand and teaches them out of his compassion for them.
Luke 15 – The parable of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son: Jesus leaves the 99 to chase down the one.
John 11 – Jesus weeps over the death of Lazarus, his friend, because he knows the pain associated with death.
Hebrews 4:15 – Jesus knows our weakness, because he too was a man and felt pain.
John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, so that we might believe in Him and not perish, but have eternal life.
Jesus did not become flesh, live on this earth, and die on the cross for the forgiveness of sins so that we could continue on living in hatred of one another. He did not die so that we could go on discriminating against people who look different than we do. His death was not so that we could go on living for ourselves. His death was not so that we could bring death to others.
His death was so that we might have life, so that we might love like He loves, and so that we might spread His peace!
If you are wondering where to start or how to help, look to Jesus. Ask him to reveal to you your unrecognized biases and prejudice and then repent. Be outspoken in supporting men and women of color in your community. Ask the Lord to show you where you can get involved and donate your time and resources. Admit that you need to learn more and be willing to learn.
I still have a lot of learning and growing to do. Many of us still do. It starts with willingness and the desire to live a life of love like Jesus.
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26
If you want to learn more, these are some of the resources we have found to be super helpful:
- Thabiti Anyabwil’s Twitter Thread
- Morgan Harper Nichols’ Poems
- More to Be Podcast: Conversations with Barb Roose About Racism & The Gospel
- Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? by Michael J. Sandel
- From a Black Friend to My White Friends by Barb Roose
- The Official George Floyd Memorial Fund
- 26 Bible Verses To Remember When Thinking About George Floyd from Paul David Tripp
- We Need to Be Uncomfortable from The Gospel Coalition
- Danielle Coke – Turning Awareness Into Action – 3 Night IGTV Series (Tune in live tonight and tomorrow night at 7pm to catch the last 2 of 3)
- Ahmaud Arbery and the America That Doesn’t Exist
- The (&) Campaign’s statement on Racialized Violence in America