Note: Friends, normally, this is something I’d say on a Monday night, instead of posting it here. Though it lives on the world wide web, this blog is for the Young Adults of Calvary Philly, and at the moment, this seemed to be the best way to get it out to you guys.
How are Christians who have light skin to love neighbors and friends who often face a different world, simply because their skin is darker? How does someone like me, with light (white) skin, act on the knowledge that, even though my friends with dark skin are no different than me in terms of anything that affects our common humanity, they have had to face all kinds of experiences that I never have, and may in fact have a long family history of such experiences that is very different than mine?
For those of us who have been able to live our lives without facing the obstacles that our black friends have faced—it is a time to reflect on this fact, and to think about how we can help those around us.
So, how can we help? As you all know, there are a lot of people with answers to that question. There is no shortage of counsel; no shortage of people ready to tell us all, white or black, what to do. Many checklists to read, many causes to donate to, many numbers to text and graphics to post and marches to join. And if you’ve undergone the heart change that happens when someone meets Christ—you do care, you must care, about people around you who are hurting.
But how do we know what we should do? For the follower of Jesus, there is only one answer to that question—we go to the word of God. The word of God tells us what to care about. It tells us what kinds of things to act on, and what kind of action to take. It tells us what kinds of words to speak, what kind of listening to commit to, and how we need to love people.
It will direct us into things like…
- Consideration of someone else’s pain—not an attempt to feel their particular pain, but an ability to feel pain that they feel pain. “Weep with those who weep…”
- Active reaching out to those who are hurting. “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
- Honest acknowledgement of any resentment or dislike of people for their skin color or cultural traits—or any reason whatsoever. “Confess your sins…” “Receive one another, just as Christ also received us.”
- Finding active ways to help people who need help. “Let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”
- Building church communities where racial differences are not ignored, any more than differing talents or giftings are ignored, but enjoyed and treasured, because we understand that God created diversity, because no one kind of human can fully display His glory—it takes both male and female, a whole range of personality types, and every skin tone from pale beige to ebony black—to even begin to reflect a piece of the kaleidoscope of his glory. “You have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation…”
- The ability to listen first, and speak last. “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath…”
But friends, it will do more than this. The word of God brings us into the presence of God and shapes us to be like God.
Every voice out there right now is clamoring for your attention, and every movement wants to shape you into its own image.
Here is the freeing, clarifying truth, one that we desperately need to remember in the days ahead—you only have one Lord, and you are called to be conformed only into His image.
Only one voice actually merits your attention, and you find it in God’s word, written down, in your hands. It will be the lamp to your feet in these confusing, difficult days. It is, in fact, the only light. No organization, no hurting person died for you—only the risen Lord died for you. If we yield ourselves to listen and follow Him, He will lead us forward. He will keep us from being paralyzed by pain, or stifled by fear, or numbed by indifference. He will keep us from hurting when we mean to help, or wasting our energy, or failing to speak when we must.
He will keep us active. He will enable us to be true agents of healing. And He will keep us focused on the greatest injustice (the injustice of sin against God Himself), and the greatest shame (the shame we all bear outside of Christ’s forgiveness), and the greatest love: the love of God in Christ that forgives men and women of all sin, and heals them of all hurts.
Preach the love of God.
Preach the kingship of Christ.
Preach the forgiveness of sins.
Preach the unity of believers.
Invite everyone in to the family.
It’s the only hope.