Leading Your Community to Conversations of Racial Injustice
What would Jesus do was a popular phrase among the Christian youth of my middle school and high school days. Just about everything would end in “WWJD”. It was mostly a joke ( I think, right?) but some well meaning kids took it very seriously. It was like a slogan to make sure your peers KNEW you were all in for Jesus!
WWJD wasn’t just a phrase of the late 90’s. It was and is a question I think all people of faith in Jesus ask on a regular basis when confronted with a difficult decision.
A friend recently cried out on social media asking for the Christians to stand up and not be silent over issues of racial injustice and division. I feel that same pulse and we chatted back and forth about it for a little while. The need for believers to speak up for ALL injustices is so strong. We have to be the ones to build the bridges and close in the gaps. We need to be the ones starting the conversations and checking on our neighbors.
My friend asked the questions: What would Jesus do in this time? How would Jesus respond to the marginalized?
I couldn’t help but remember Jesus’ MANY interactions with the marginalized and communities who were out casts. I can’t help but think of how Jesus stepped into what seemed to be uncomfortable spaces and led the way.
He didn’t shame or virtue signal. He led the way into uncharted territories with love and compassion, but most importantly unashamed boldness. He taught and allowed people to grow.
Church, that is where we need to stand today too. Shaming others to post, talk, and share on an issue they may just now becoming aware of “because it’s the right thing to do” is legalism. Instead we need to pave the way and invite those in our community to step into those spaces. It reminds me of when my husband and I started our first small group. We were so excited to share and grow together but it didn’t happen as fast as we assumed and my husband began to grow bitter. We were presenting truth, truth that for us had changed us, and people just weren’t being moved to change. It took a lot of conversation between my husband and I, and a lot more prayer, for my husband to realize he lost his love for the people along the way. He prayed and the Lord gave him eyes to love those people like He did, and compassion to let them grow as the Lord willed.
My friend went on to host a prayer night for the communities of color and those feeling the weight of racial divides right now. I love it! Be bold like that! Reach out and ask friends how they are handling and processing the murders of innocent men and woman of color in our nation. Ask them how have they processed the protests. Make yourself available to listen and ask direct questions.
Some may come back with different views, and that is okay. These racial and injustice issues will not be solved today. They just won’t. It is a process and we are making incredible steps. Each conversation we have and opportunity we take to listen is one more stone paved in a road to equality and justice for ALL.
3 Ways You Can Do What Jesus Did for Racial Unity
+ 1 Listen
The Bible is clear that we need to be slow to speak and quick to listen. I love how Jesus addresses the adulterous woman (and so many more), he listened and asked questions. We can do that today! We can start where we are comfortable and then move toward putting ourselves in uncomfortable situations.
+ 2 Have a Seat
This goes along with listening but extends passed just listening into engaging. Jesus engaged and dined with those who the Jewish society deemed unworthy or less than. We can take a seat with all people, people who are different than us and maybe even have different views than us. We can meet them were they are and invite them into our circles, as well.
+3 Be Creative
Think and pray about what YOU can do to get the conversation started. We all want to call people out when we doesn’t see action on issues that are important to us, but maybe instead we should invite people in. How can I start conversations and lead people courageously out of their comfort zones to discuss topics or racial reconciliation or whatever injustice the Lord may have on our hearts! My friend hosted a prayer night, which is awesome! We can all take that example and lead our circles to pray together and serve together if it is possible!
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