Like many white-skinned Americans, I’ve been spending a lot of time absorbing information over the past few weeks. I’ve also been evaluating my own thought patterns and habitual/learned thinking. As a Christian, I’ve been praying for our world, those most closely affected, and for how I can respond.
I’ve had to look in the proverbial mirror and ask myself, “Am I part of the problem or part of the solution?” We do have a real problem in America. Black people have been treated unjustly for hundreds of years. In more recent years, some progress has been made, but it’s not enough. The news of 2020 has revealed the systemic and systematic injustice toward black people. I dare say we’re living in a time when there is no middle ground. If I’m not advocating for justice for black people, I can say with certainty I am part of the problem.
It is imperative that we put our feelings aside and look at the facts of this issue: black lives have not been seen as equal. Then communicate the realities to our children in a way that makes it clear: Jesus loves all people and black lives matter to Him and creating a world where black lives matter to all. His way is one of truth and grace. Today’s headlines that include black men and women being wrongfully killed should propel us forward to see the kind of justice that Jesus would bring.
What do our kids need to know? That is certainly age-dependent, but here are 3 basic talking points:
1. Every life including black lives, matters to God. Every person of every color, nation, tribe and tongue is of value in God’s eyes.
2. Black lives have not been equally valued in America. Blacks were treated as property, not people. The treatment of black-skinned people is a source of shame.
3. Christians should act like Jesus. Jesus came to save the lost. He came to bring sinners to repentance. He loved people and hated sin. Christ Jesus is our example of how to love and we are given clear commands on how to do this in the Bible. This includes standing up for justice for black Americans who are being treated unjustly.
Here are two key Bible verses to frame your conversation:
Matthew 22:36-40 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
These are fundamental issues that we should not leave to the government to fix. Our individual thinking and actions – that will be reflected in our families in our churches and in our communities – must change to love our neighbors from every race, tribe and tongue.
Pray as a family for God’s Kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven. (The Lord’s Prayer – Matthew 6: 9-13)