June 8, 2020
By Lawna Kennedy
I’ve written thousands of words for this blog post and I’ve found myself deleting the lines over and over. I don’t feel like any words I could ever say would give a true depiction of the sorrow and frustration, anger and grief, terror and heaviness I feel as a black Christian woman in America.
I know at the root of this issue of racism, hatred, and injustice lies the enemy. Ephesians 6:12 reminds me of that. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” The black community has experienced so much strategized pain and affliction due to this truth, in America.
But let’s be honest. Racism is also a sin issue. A heart issue that people haven’t let God fix in them. God highlights this heart issue in Cain shortly before he decided to murder his own brother. Genesis 4:6 NIV “Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
Instead of having a heart to heart moment about why he was truly upset, he decided to take the anger out on his brother, which resulted in Abel’s blood crying out from the ground to God. When heart issues aren’t discussed with God, only bad can come from it.
I’m looking across this nation and seeing so many people that aren’t addressing this sin issue of the heart. For true transformation to take place in America, it will truly take the work of the Holy Spirit opening the eyes of those who have held prejudices and hatred in their hearts towards others. So, we must START by praying. Psalms 139:23-24 NLT says “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” No one knows our hearts better than God. And when these types of honest prayers are prayed, true transformation of the heart can begin.
Praying is truly the first step, but to truly see a nation healed after being plagued by racism and hatred for over 400 years, we must do more.
I personally had to have a come to Jesus moment and let him deal with the anger and hurt in my heart. I honestly didn’t know how I was going to continue loving those that kept killing, hurting, falsely accusing, and devaluing other black people in America. I know very well that I can unfortunately be the brut of that mistreatment. But the Holy Spirit reminded me of the sweet—hard to swallow—words of Jesus in Luke 6: 27-28 NIV. “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” This is not a suggestion. It is a command. I know that Jesus would never tell me to do something he did not do. I also know that he would tell me to do something without equipping me with the strength to do it. I personally must continue to go back to my source of strength and love to receive this power. The power to love, do good, bless, and pray for those that are not reciprocating these actions to me.
As brothers and sisters in Christ we are called to care about the burdens of others and share them as if they were our own. Paul said it like this. “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.”
So, if you are sitting on the sidelines and simply offering up prayers, I’m afraid that isn’t enough.
What should “sharing each other’s burdens” look like today when horrible occurrences continue to besiege the black American community like racism, public lynching, police brutality, systemic racism, to name a few?
It should look like believers reaching out to their black brothers and sisters, neighbors, coworkers, and friends and asking how they are doing. Be a listening ear for the voice of those that have been silenced and ignored for centuries. Be a shoulder to cry on for those that are tired, angry, hurt, and afraid.
Speak up in your inner circles that have apathy towards the monstrosities going on across this nation. When you hear someone justifying hate and dismissing the pains of black people across this nation, stand up for them. They don’t have a voice in those circles, but you do. Stand up and do what is right, even if it is uncomfortable. When you know better and when you have had a heart transformation through the power of the Holy Spirit, you should do better. Matthew 5:10 NLT says, “God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” Being a Christian means you side with Kingdom culture over Earthly culture every time.
Break cycles of silence and indifference by talking to your children about what is going on and truly training them up in the way they should go. Teach them to love the way Jesus loved by example. Teach them how to love during being persecuted and teach them how to not be the ones doing the persecuting when they get older.
Learn. Learn more about the injustice going on in this country. Don’t separate yourself if you can’t empathize due to the color of your skin. As a believer, you are a part of the body of Christ. When one part of the body is hurting, every part of the body is affected.
For those wanting to learn more about the history of grave injustice that has plagued this country, please check out these amazing documentaries and books that can really help anyone be more informed and aware of what has happened for hundreds of years in America. There are even books and videos recommended for high school, middle school, and elementary students. We can all actively be a part of the solution today. You can’t fix what you can’t see or know.
Finally, vote. Don’t just vote for the general elections. Get involved in your county and state as well. Municipal and State elections are just as important. Let your voice be heard. Let others hear that you stand up for the things God stands for. Use your vote to fight against all the things that break God’s heart. It matters.
This post does not scratch the surface of the pain in my heart and it does not share all the things that need to take place to truly see healing take place in this country. But I do believe it’s a good start. I pray that you ask God to search your heart and ask Him to help you see the grave heart issues in this country, the way he does. Don’t tip toe around the issues because they are uncomfortable. Mirror Jesus and go straight into the issue to seek reconciliation. If Jesus saw fit to go into Samaria during a time where Jews and Samaritans did not get along, let us to go into our modern-day Samaria’s and truly be the hands and feet of Jesus. Love is not passive. Love is an action verb.