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Knowing When to Shut Up & Listen

If you’re living as a white person in a predominately white neighborhood, stop talking & listen. Please.

 

If your perceived reality is that racism doesn’t exist anymore, it doesn’t change the fact that it does exist. For many, many people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Seek justice.

Love mercy.

Walk humbly with our God.

 

 

Last night, in the wake of the grand jury decision, tensions were high. A friend was talking about the first time she got maced by cops… just standing in line at a party they were trying to break up. Not acting foolish. Not being disruptive. Not causing harm. Standing in line. 

                                                                                                                                                   Look, I have been to my fair share of fraternity parties in some “sketchy” parts of Pomona, but a party being broken up by mace?!! NEVER. That was simply NOT a part of my reality. More than likely, if you’re white, it hasn’t been part of your reality either. But just because it was not part of MY reality from college doesn’t mean it didn’t happen to my friend, exactly as she described it.

As Christians, we need to examine what we hold most dearly. Is it our whiteness, our blackness or our Savior? Because, some days, I’m not sure… & I know I’m not the only one.

 

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To see someone respond to someone else’s pain with “get over it” is hard whether it’s a break up, job loss, death in the family, etc. But last night, one of the most absurd things I saw was a specific response to someone’s pain: “I respect you as a man and as a Christian so much. Don’t ruin that. Stop while you’re ahead.” 

 

 

WHHAAAAATTTTTTT??!!!! How dare we tell someone else how to feel about a certain situation — especially when we don’t know what it’s like for them on a daily basis being a person of color in this country.

 

Included is a screenshot in hopes you can understand the full context of what the highlighted text was in response to. Disheartening… especially from a fellow Christian.

 

 

It also made me sick to hear a reporter on one station talking about civil rights leaders. In present tense. In America. In 2014. That seemed so crazy to me. I mean, didn’t the civil rights movement happen decades ago??! Yet, moments like this, with what’s happening in Ferguson, remind me how much farther we still have to go… how much work we still have to do. Especially as the Body of Christ. We are called to be part of the ministry of reconciliation^.

 

 

First and foremost, as a white person, your job at a time like this is to listen.

Our main job is to listen — with the intent to seek understanding. If your intention is to listen only until you can lecture back, you’re doing it wrong.

 

While we listen, let’s try to remember the songs from our childhood, before we saw color, “Red and yellow, black and white. They are precious in His sight…

 

While we seek to understand, let’s not forget the Bible says “first to the Jew, then the Gentile.” Unless you are 100% Jewish, YOU are a Gentile. But… Jesus died for you, regardless of your skin tone. He would not let something you had NO CHOICE IN determine where you will spend eternity. He died for sins committed against you because of your melanin. He died for ignorance or sins you may commit because of your melanin.

 

Seek justice.

Love mercy.

Walk humbly with our God.

 

 

A bible verse I learned in middle school — Micah 6:8 — set to music. Forever etched in my heart. If seeking justice isn’t making sense to you right now — if you’re asking, “why are people making this a racial thing?” — if you don’t know there is a racial civil war happening in America right now in 2014 — then seek understanding, not to stand on a soap box & get your two cents in**.

**And I understand you might think this whole post is hypocritical in light of that statement, but bear with me…

 

Love mercy, even when you don’t get it.

“Compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.” THAT is mercy. And, yes, mercy & forgiveness should be available to all parties involved. But — don’t forget Jesus always took to the defense of the oppressed first & foremost. So if you’ve ever worn a W.W.J.D. bracelet, really think about what His move would be here & do that. He wouldn’t be defending the killer. He would extend forgiveness, absolutely. But He would be speaking up for the voiceless, who in instances like this are named Mike Brown… Trayvon Martin… the list goes on. Like it or not, that’s what Jesus would do.

 

But, most importantly, walk humbly with God. Being humble is such a foreign concept these days. Respectful. Unassuming. Meek. Modest. We think it’s a sign of weakness, really. We need to get over that. Before it kills us. Literally.

 

Whether you understand why Ferguson has struck a chord with non-whites or not, be humble. Listen. Seek understanding. Show respect. Bite your tongue, if necessary. And instead of voicing your disdain for what you are seeing — much of it based on the biased agenda the media is force-feeding you — seek God’s heart on the matter. Die to your sense of being “right” & see God’s heart breaking for His sons & daughters. The same sons & daughters Jesus conquered death for. Humble yourself before Him & He will not withhold understanding.

 

At the end of the day, we are all part of one body of Christ… every single one of us. There’s not a white body of Christ & a black body of Christ. But instead of operating like one body, we are self-mutilating His body through our lack of empathy, lack of grace, lack of even trying to understand a different worldview than our own.

 

Seek justice.

Love mercy.

Walk humbly with our God.

 

And if none of that is working — seeking justice, loving mercy & walking humbly — just be quiet. Be still before Him. If you seek Him, you will find Him^^. Stop talking long enough & listen for His leading. He will show you how He wants you to respond. He will show you how His response is usually going to be counter-culture and, more often than not, counter to your own instincts as well. Do it anyways.

 

 

 

^ 2 Corinthians 5:11-21, emphasis on 18-19

^^ Jeremiah 29:13

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