I admit, this past month has taken an emotional toll on me. It was traumatic to witness the senseless deaths from black lives, police officers, and people around the world experiencing terrorist’s attacks. It was like multiple death waves crashing upon the shores of my heart non-stop. At one point I was fearful of awakening to a new day only to be faced with more tragic news.
It was exhausting to say the least.
It has heightened my awareness of the evil presence in this world. However, I realized the ruler of this world cannot overcome the truth of God's word. Even when I felt overwhelmed by the events, I had to remember what Jesus said in John 16:33, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" (NIV). I had to constantly seek refuge in Christ as He gives me peace while living in the midst of so many troubles.
Trust me when I say, (and I know I’m not alone) I also had to remain prayerful to keep my heart from being divided.
I was angry. I was angry at the ignorance of people's comments on social media, the silence of many, and the lack of compassion towards the deaths of innocent people.
I even reached out to a former classmate to question a statement that was made. I was really trying to get an understanding of what they were trying to convey when they decided to use in their comment, “these people.” Needless to say, it went nowhere. I immediately had to exit the conversation because I knew it had the potential to get real ugly; and normally, I'm not a confrontational person.
I know I would have said things out of character that would not represent Christ. One, because I was already emotional. I know for me, I cannot operate rationally or spiritually when I'm in that space. Thankfully, since then we have made amends. However, as I reflect back on that emotional exchange I couldn’t help but to feel even more frustrated and helpless at the condition of our world.
Oh! Not to mention during all of these crisis events the overexposure to media, live Facebook streams, memes, quotes, and biased media coverage on our television networks. Don't forget to add us being in the heart of a critical upcoming presidential election! Although I would certainly take one candidate over the other, many issues of basic integrity and values are in question (at least for me). I couldn't help but to feel the uncertainty and instability of our nation. I felt it to the core.
I really didn’t even have the words to articulate my prayers to God as it related to the racial tensions, but I’m so glad He knew what I was really trying to express. Inwardly I was screaming, “Lord, what is your response to this?! More importantly, as a Christian how do I respond to the obvious existence of racial discrimination?” Yes, this issue has been prevalent for years, but you would think this would remain in our past...NOT SO!
About a week later I was scrolling through Instagram and I stumbled upon the teachings of Dr. Tony Evans, the Pastor from Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, TX. He taught on the subject, "Race, Culture, & Christ." This man of God is a phenomenal teacher!
I took the time to listen to it and I'm so glad I did!
It really gave me clarity on how I am to respond as a Christian. It may not be your answer, but it was an answered prayer for me and I want to share it with you.
If you are a Christian and have also been affected by the racial divide then take some time to listen to this. It gave me a clear understanding of where Christ stood regarding the issues of race when He encountered the Samaritan woman.
If you watch the video you will hear Dr. Evans explain, "we are Christians first" then our race follows. We don't change who we are because that's how God created us, but it's important to get the order correct. You'll understand why after you listen to it. Dr. Evans gives us an in depth understanding and illustrations of how a Christian should approach the racial barriers of our time.
Again I admit, my heart was broken with the issues and realities of this nation, but I'm also reminded that Christ has given us a mandate to represent Him.
As a Christian, we have the responsibility to help others come to Christ who may not look like us. We cannot allow our emotions to overwhelm us to the point that we, as Heather Lindsey says, "ruin our witness."
Also, this absolutely means “STAY WOKE” or remain aware, but don’t get so caught up that you forget to represent the ONE who has control of it all, God.
Always keep in mind who you are representing…Christ.
I want to conclude with this:
Of course there are so many more which is why you can refer to the picture above "___________ Lives Matter."
Now take a look at all of those hashtags and think about the issues and struggles that affects every single one of them (if any) and if it doesn't affect you at all, then maybe ALL LIVES don't matter to you.
Also, I agree with many responses I've seen that "#AllLivesMatter to God" and that's correct, but ALL LIVES don't matter to the hearts of ALL men. If you can honestly take a deeper look into any one of the hashtags above and do not have a drop of compassion towards the struggles of a particular group or race of people then maybe ALL LIVES don't matter to you.
It's time to be honest with ourselves. Inward change occurs when we're honest. Change is now, so I'll leave you with the most important fact wrapped up in a question, #AllLivesMatter to Christ, but do #AllLivesMatter to You?
I would love to hear your feedback. Please comment below.
1 John 4:16-21
"And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister."
(NIV, Emphasis Mine)
Dr. Estrelita Bruce, A NEW ME: Transparently, Abundantly Founder
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