Encouragement To My White Christian Family
Encouragement is needed in the Christian life. Encouragement, or exhortation if I can get Biblical, is a motivator! It motivates us to continue in living to the glory of God (1 Thess. 2:12). Just this past weekend, a lady in my church told me that she had been listening to our podcast and was grateful I was a part of our church. That made my day!
Dialogue about racism can take negative leanings. It contains many different topics that can be discouraging. Politics, culture, education, gentrification, abortion, religious affiliations, gun control, and fake news are just a handful. It is even harder when all you do is disagree on those issues with no sense of support. The isolation is real. I have felt it. I know many of you have felt it. Why? I believe in many cases we don't feel encouraged.
Here I will insert a point of clarity. The Bible tells us to encourage or "stir up one another to love and good works," (Heb. 10:24). What are good works? They are the commands on how to live before God as disciples in the world. That doesn't mean we don't challenge each other. It doesn't mean we don't disagree. Instead, we do all those things to see the body of Christ grow. To see that each other will endure till the end. We have to have this included in the conversation about racism. We must be encouragers of each other, especially if we are all fighting to see racial reconciliation.
With that as my foundation, I want to offer up some encouragement to my family of God that is white. I want to speak specifically to those who feel frozen. Who feel like if they move in one direction or another they will compromise on Biblical principles. Who feel that being a "white" evangelical is a death sentence in their witness to the world, yet know that they are called to evangelize. This is going to be an encouragement to those white brothers and sisters who feel as if they have no voice when all they want to do is see true racial healing and unity. I desire to encourage you in several ways.
First, your voice is both loved and needed. This is especially true if you have spent time in conversation and listening to others. Your voice is a welcome breath of fresh air. When you speak of Biblical truth and racial harmony in a way that blends God's Gospel vision with care and love for minorities, you are showing a great measure of care!
Second, your different perspective is needed. When the time comes to speak, I encourage you to do so. This may include disagreeing. Yes, disagreements need to happen. They also need to happen humbly and well (perhaps this is my next blog post?). If we have different perspectives that are both grounded in the Word of God, we can and should be able to disagree well. With that being said, the white perspective is needed. Disagreements help reveal blindspots. They help spur on a deeper discussion. We need that to be able to dig out the issue of the sin of racism. We need you at the table.
Third, your identity as an evangelical is good. Family, feel no shame in being an evangelical. When I say evangelical I mean it in the strictest definition of the word. Never be ashamed that you have been called to deliver the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world. You most likely don't use that word in your everyday vernacular outside of your church culture. But when you live that identity, racial conversations with minorities will be more fruitful because it will help center the conversation on God, the creator of all.
I want this to be a jumping-off point of encouragement to my white family in God. If we don't do this, people will get burnt out, discouraged and broken. Don't be, for we are called to such a time as this. We will see God get the glory and relationships healed. Be encouraged. Be an encourager.