Seeing the problem and beginning to understand its roots is just half the battle. We all know that while God’s grace is never-ending, sin is stubborn and persistent. Just like with any other sin, we have to rely on Jesus to rescue us from our pride and prejudice. Also like with any sin, we can’t just pray and hope change will take place.
This is the practice part of our faith. We must continue to pray, listen and lament, and we must also ask God to lead us forward in our actions toward removing our sin and making us one. God calls us to:
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” — Romans 12:15-18 (New International Version)
“Teach to your daughters a lament ... but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.” — Jeremiah 9:20, 24 (English Standard Version)
A practice in the Christian faith that is overlooked in some contexts is the practice of lament. In some of these contexts, when a problem is presented, the initial response may be to fix it or look for solutions. In the Bible, we see that God Himself often laments the sins of His people and grieves the pain of others compassionately. He asks us to do the same.
“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” — Isaiah 1:17 (NIV)
This topic can be painful and frustrating and can often feel personal. Everyone has different understandings and experiences, and no one is perfect. Many of us have been hurt directly in one way or another, and many of us have probably hurt others, while some people still don’t see a problem.
It is important to approach this conversation with a humble heart, knowing that no one fully knows or understands it all. A willingness to listen to the experiences of others and take a humble posture as a learner will aid in the movement toward one another. When we seek to do the justice God says He delights in, it’s important to ask those who are marginalized how they would like us to step in (if they know).
Here is a list of resources to help you continue to grow in moving toward others in love.
HISTORY OF RACE IN THE UNITED STATES
God has granted us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us to his own glory and excellence (2 Pet. 1:3). With the Bible as our authority on all things, it is helpful to understand the histories of where we live and the social dynamics all around us. Understanding these histories through the grid of the scriptures will provide wisdom and direction as we engage with others.
HISTORY OF RACISM IN THE AMERICAN CHURCH
Understanding the history of Christians in this country and beyond will help us understand our current reality and figure out where to go from here.
LEARNING CULTURAL SELF
Understanding who we are and who God has created us to be is a strength when talking to others from a different cultural perspective about God.
UNDERSTANDING THE EFFECTS OF RACISM IN MY LIFE AND SOCIETY
It’s extremely helpful to engage in this conversation when we can see the results of the thread of racism in our own individual lives and that of society.
RESPOND: LAMENT / REPENTANCE (Personal and Corporate)
As we learn about our societal history, Christian history and individual cultural realities, it’s important to ask the Lord to guide us in how to respond.
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