It is a “let them eat cake” moment but others don’t seem to realize it. The cry of the people who say they don’t want to feel guilty about being white is basically the same as a rich monarch saying feed the poor and starving masses our cake – like after thoughts, decadence, desserts, unnecessaries. We don’t want to deal with the hurts of others. We want to distance ourselves from the cries of the oppressed – because that’s our LUXURY speaking, our PRIVILEGE. You deny you have it, because you are in a place to be able to deny it.
We have to do better. Church, we HAVE to do better. The fallout from a recent Gospel Coalition article proves this. A woman relayed her journey through her daughter’s marriage to a black man. I won’t read into it. I don’t believe in reading between the lines or carrying my own prejudices into reading her words, assuming anything about her personally or her family. But these are the thoughts I had.
It’s painful for people of color to be told that their very existence is something that white people have to “deal with,” that someone has to “grow” on the idea of us co-existing with her and being part of her family.
It’s hurtful to know that an article even needs to be written to share someone’s personal journey about how she had to change her expectations to lovingly accept her son-in-law.
It isn’t like he was an ex-con or had a drug problem or had some other issue in his past that needs to be worked through and he should be loved in spite of his past. But it feels that way.
It isn’t tolerance. We don’t want to be tolerated. We don’t want to even have to be accepted. We have spent much of our lives accepting that we live in your world. We’re done. You come live in ours now. We don’t want your cake.
It isn’t about you feeling guilty. First, we aren’t making you feel guilty just by existing. You either are guilty or you’re not. It doesn’t have to do with us. You either have been personally responsible for racism, perpetuating hurtful stereotypes in your own life and experiences, or you have been ignorant or have chosen to stay out of it as if that somehow negates its existence. Not engaging in racial reconciliation is not the same as saying you aren’t responsible for racism. You may stick with your claims of no culpability for racism itself, but it makes you culpable for something else, something arguably worse.
It IS about repentance. If you are a Christian and claim the name of Jesus as Lord and Savior, then your heart needs to change. All of our hearts need to change. There are no exceptions. EVERY heart on earth this very moment needs to change. If you don’t believe that, then maybe this Christianity thing isn’t for you.
And in this particular way, our hearts need to change from “it’s not my problem” to “it is, indeed, my problem and I am sorry I have not owned that in the past.” It IS about repenting of whatever fear, complacency, comfort, and continued and chosen ignorance you have clung to. It IS about repenting of the refusal to hear and even acknowledge the cries of the oppressed and hurting. It IS about repenting of the fact that you CAN help them and have refused to. It IS about repenting of the hopelessness you have carried around that anything will ever be different and that it’s good enough as is. It IS about repenting that you are stubborn about repenting.
We need to do better. We need to believe better. We need to see Jesus better. I know he isn’t, but sometimes I get this image in my head of Jesus standing here in the middle of our culture and society, just shaking his head with his hands in that frustrated mid-air wave like a parent who just told his kids to stop doing whatever destructive thing they were doing. But like a loving parent, Jesus IS working to clean up the mess. He IS teaching those who have ears to here and eyes to see. He IS bringing out shalom, and he IS calling to YOU to join him in that work. Stop plugging your ears and crossing your arms to the gospel. Stop running and hiding when the Spirit calls you to work. Let Him start with your heart and let it spread to your families, to your neighbors, to your communities, to your world.