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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
Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery by Mark Charles and Soong-Chan Rah
The Civil War as a Theological Crisis by Mark A. Noll
THEOLOGY AND RACE IN THE CHURCH
Racial Discrimination Ends in Your Living Room by By Janel Breitenstein (FamilyLife)
The People of God and Diversity with Lecrae, Soong-Chan Rah, Elicia Horton and Joe Thorn
What’s One Thing You Wish White Evangelicals Knew About Racial Reconciliation? with Thabiti Anyabwile
The Woke Church: An Urgent Call for Christians in America to Confront Racism and Injustice by Eric Mason
Mañana: Christian Theology from a Hispanic Perspective by Justo Gonzalez
LEARNING CULTURAL SELF
Helping Your Family Understand Racial Reconciliation by Russell Moore and Philip Bethancourt (FamilyLife)
But I Wasn’t There’: Lessons on Injustice from King David by Josh Fenska
Shame and Racism by Faith Eng (Cru)
A Cry of Hope, a Call to Action: Unleashing the Next Generation of Black Christian Leaders by Dr. Charles Gilmer
The Wolf Shall Dwell With the Lamb: A Spirituality for Leadership in a Multicultural Community by Eric H.F. Law
Strong and Weak: Embracing a Life of Love, Risk and True Flourishing by Andy Crouch
UNDERSTANDING THE EFFECTS OF RACISM IN MY LIFE AND SOCIETY
“Not Black Enough” (documentary)
Practical Ways to Pursue Racial Reconciliation with Bryan Loritts
We Need to Be Uncomfortable by Phillip Holmes
Estoy Cansada: Reflections on my Own Reconciliation Blues (Yo Soy Kristy)
Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation by Latasha Morrison
The Beautiful Community: Unity, Diversity, and the Church by Irwyn L. Ince Jr.
RESPOND: LAMENT / REPENTANCE (Personal and Corporate)
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