I’ve been quiet lately. Keeping my mouth shut. Listening, observing, waiting, praying, crying at the breakfast table as I prayed for my family’s safety even while I am brokenhearted for the brokenness of my nation. My silence did not mean my mind did not swirl. It did. Some may have thought I had my head in the sand. I did not.
“I was quiet but I was not blind.” Jane Austin
Honestly, I detest conflict. I would rather be sitting around a 70s campfire singing, “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony…” or throwing my fingers up proclaiming, “Just give peace a chance, man.” Sadly, I was not old enough in the 70s to sit around a campfire with the awesome hippies. And although I prefer a warrior pose to actually having to rally and become a warrior, I am also cognizant of the fact that as King Arthur proclaimed, sometimes “There is a peace only to be found on the other side of war.” He went on to say, “If that war should come, I will fight it.”
For me a physical and literal war has not risen. But I see it raging within our nation and in the hearts of our people. One rages within my heart as well. What do I say? How do I respond? What do I do? What CAN I do?
I’m just a WASP-white anglo-saxon protestant. In other words, a white girl. My less than one percent Congolese DNA does NOT make me a person of color any more than my one percent Jewish DNA makes me Jewish. I will never understand what it is to be fearful for my life because of the color of my skin. My ancestors were Scottish and Irish, English, Welsh, and Western European. They were Catholics and Pagans (one of my pagan ancestors was baptized by St. Patrick!), Methodists, Quakers, and Baptists. They were indentured servants, sharecroppers, and Lords and Ladies. They were anti-slavery abolitionists and sadly, some were slave owners.
So, I questioned myself, “What right do I have to speak into this time?” My thoughts and words seemed jumbled like a bag of scrabble tiles tossed haphazardly upon the floor. I held and still hold to the belief that if you don’t know what to say keep your mouth shut, WATCH, and PRAY. I prefer to dissect information, listen to people, watch others actions, and search my own heart. I do not watch much news. I don’t really trust them. They often provide opinions rather than fact and I’ve heard “opinions are like armpits. Everybody has them and they usually stink”.
So, under the advice of James, the brother of Jesus who was also called James the Just, I have remained silent.
“My beloved brothers, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for man’s anger (impulsive wrath) does not bring about the righteousness (justice and rightness) that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and every expression of evil, and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save your souls.”James 1:19-21
But slow to speak does not mean to never speak, for “there is time to keep silent and a time to speak”. Ecclesiastes 3:7 So, today, I speak.
- Racism IS an expression of Evil
- Systematic oppression and violence against people of color is an expression of evil
- Violent outbursts and impulsive wrath is an expression of evil
I HATE evil. God hates it even more. The author of Proverbs 3 encourages us to turn away from evil as this would bring healing to our body and strength and refreshment to our bones.
Let me tell you-our nation needs healing in its body and refreshment brought to its bones. I know of no greater healing agent than light. I know of no greater refreshment than absolute love.
A light has been shown upon the depths of who we have become as a people-people of all colors and cultures, revealing those things which have been hidden in the dark places of our hearts-prejudice, racism, bigotry, hate, resentment, anger, hurt, fear, rage, despair. The splinters must be revealed before they can be removed. The process of removing those splinters is uncomfortable, often painful-tumultuous even.
Yet, if we, in wisdom, can choose to shun EVERY expression of evil and learn to walk in a deep love for one another, then the very substance of who we are together will be made stronger than ever before. For “Oh, how good and pleasant it is for brothers to live together in unity.” (Ps 133:1)
Unity-not sameness, not conformity, but uniquely joined together as a whole even while recognizing and honoring our differences. Hatred stirs the pot, it stirs up quarrels, dissension, and strife. But love covers, engulfs, grants refuge, and provides forgiveness for a multitude of wrongs, sins, and breaches of trust. (Prov 10:12 and I Peter 4:8)
We must choose love together or we will be in bondage to a cycle of unforgiveness, prisoners. There is a door to freedom!!
“Unforgiveness is the rust on hinges of the door to freedom. Forgiveness is the WD-40!”Jamie Glawson Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust
My prayer is this: May the Lord increase our love until it overflows toward one another and for all people. May our hearts be strengthened in holiness so we may be flawless and pure before the face of our Father God!
Perhaps soon, we can all sit around a campfire singing in perfect harmony. Different notes, different parts, yet together in unity as we lift our voices to shine forth in a full, complete, and beautiful song.