Transparency time. Finding the right words to say is not usually a problem for me. Keeping my many words to a minimum, keeping my words to myself, that’s more along the lines of my usual challenge, but writing this blog has been HARD. It has been hard to find the right words to say. As I write, it occurs to me that there is a lot in that one sentence that expresses the difficulty. I’ll come back to that.
I’ve written three different lines of thought and though there was some truth, sincerity and even the scriptures to prove my point, none of my attempts hit home. Too preachy, start over. Too prideful, arrogant, start over. Too confusing, set it aside, forget it, let someone else do it. Hmm, tempting.
Jen Barnes, inspirational, instigator and “let’s get this girl awake” woman of God that she is, offered her help to write it. Thank you, Jen for that because that is when it hit me. This challenge is a picture of the various work-arounds we have done to avoid the uncomfortable. We all know that something must be said but how do we say it? How do we not mess up? I might say something wrong, hurtful or racist, then if that happens does it mean I’m a racist? If so, does that mean there is something that ugly hiding in my heart I might have to acknowledge? No, Lord, say it isn’t so! But He’s not saying that. He is exposing us. Allowing us to see what message is hiding in our souls, making our assumptions and covering our shame and insecurities with a little bandage that allows us to move on. Never dealing with the thorn in our heart, instead we manage to avoid sticky, uncomfortable conversations. Hence, the work-around.
Sisters, the Lord Jesus will not let us continue to shove this call aside. Racism is a heavy weight, the sin that so easily besets us, society, and THE CHURCH! In what may be the theme scripture of 2020, Hebrews 12 (MSG), The Bible tells of a coming shaking which will be for the correction of God’s people, a thorough house cleaning that will leave us encouraged, strong and ready to run. If I lay this word beside our fractured and divided nation, church and people, I see a clear message that demands my attention.
Strip down, start running, no parasitic sins of racism.
Keep your eyes on Jesus – study how He did it!
He never lost sight of where He was headed – to be seated with God (with ALL God’s children seated with Him)
This is a fight against the sin of racism, hate, pride
Others have suffered more than we have in this fight against sin, most especially Jesus.
God regards us as His children and is correcting us now so don’t shrug off His discipline where we need
No matter our race we are all part of the family of God, purchased with the same precious price, the Blood of Jesus. I hear a powerful mandate from Him in verses 14-15.
Work at getting along with each other and with God. Otherwise you’ll never get so much as a glimpse of God. Make sure no one gets left out of God’s generosity. Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time.
Work at getting along, get the weeds out of our heart. It should be simple, but why is this still so hard for us? We know better. We are Christ-followers. I’m not racist, right? Why is it hard to write a blog, be at ease or have a deeper conversation with a friend or stranger of another skin color?
I see where this parasitic sin of racism has continued to affect my behavior, even as I might deny its existence. For hiding in my lament; “IT’S HARD TO FIND THE RIGHT WORDS TO SAY.“ was an impossible mandate. Internal hope is crushed before you ever reach out a hand in friendship by a false requirement of perfection that is NOT from God.
Lie: My words have to be right and perfectly expressed or I will be ashamed for hurting someone, look foolish and be rejected.
Truth: I will make both mistakes and progress, and I will learn and will find my way to the right words if I am not running from the conversation.
Lie: My first step toward eradicating racism is to “SAY” something.
Truth: My first action should not be to talk but to LISTEN. In that act of love, my heart will know how to respond. James 1:19 tells us to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry. Listening ultimately brings wisdom to your words and calm to your emotions. At the same time, we are better able to hear Jesus and His words of love, repentance, forgiveness, and peace as we are seek to know one another.
And by the way, I am not a racist. I refuse to be a racist. I am anti-racist.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kellie Copeland is an outreach minister, author and speaker. Through her ministry and as “Commander Kellie,” she has developed the Superkid Academy Church Curriculum for ages 6-12. She is the author of Protecting Your Family In Dangerous Times and has also created various children’s music albums and videos. Today, Kellie’s passion is to see others know Jesus both in His word and worship.