Social Media has blown the lid off of otherwise ignored or silenced issue in our country.
It’s stirred up a lot of uncomfortable feelings and opened up a lot of debate. Our knee jerk reactions tend to be to self-preserving. Meaning none of us are quick to take blame. That’s just human nature. We can be 30% at fault yet argue as if we are completely the victim in a situation.
When I started to see how loved ones were hurting around me I felt like I woke from my ignorance. I would have said before I wasn’t a part of the problem. I would have said I didn’t do anything wrong. I would have shouted, “Someone needs to do something!” at the news of another black person’s life taken at the hands of those sworn to protect and defend. And then I realized that my anger didn’t compare to the pain of those who closely relate to those who’s lives have been taken.
I realized I have to do better. There’s so much to say. So much. To be honest I’m still educating myself. I haven’t been on the receiving end of many blatant prejudices. I rarely experienced injustices and they were certainly never based on my race.
There’s no more excuse for ignorance to how people are being treated around me. It’s uncomfortable. It’s painful. Seeing what’s gone on in our country and imagining it happening to myself or my own children and then responding to it like as if it were has changed me. I’m grateful. Grateful that despite not having the same experience or surrounding that I have been shaken. If we are not willing to examine our hearts… pause to empathize… and respond with that love then we are not loving as Christ would have us love.
I believe in one God. One who created all men equal. Based on my own beliefs I choose to be held to a higher standard of love. That love means treating my neighbor the way I want to be treated. It means fighting for the weak. It means celebrating with those who are celebrating and being sorrowful with those that are sorrowful. Because of that I have chosen to not close my heart off from the pain that my neighbors, my friends, my brothers and sisters are feeling.
I’m taking a hard look at myself, my own heart. I’m considering how my lens, through which I view the the world, was formed. I’m thinking about who I watched and learned from and why they impacted me. I’m praying. I’m repenting. I’m forgiving. My experiences shaped me for good or bad. I recognize that. As a mother I realize my children will be shaped in a similar way.
Even though I would like to just live quietly by example I cannot. I’m doing the work on myself so I can recognize my own prejudices. FROM THERE I’m having conversations with my children. Please hear me – I am no expert. I am not trained in how to handle this. I’m walking out what I feel lead to do. I’m sharing it in hopes that it will help even one other person, or one other parent.
We read the Bible and talk about Jesus daily. I thought it was enough. What I’m learning is the conversations have to go deeper. AND WE HAVE TO LISTEN. The best teachers really are amazing listeners, aren’t they? The same questions I’m asking myself I’m bringing to my children:
Do you feel differently in the presence of people with different colored skin?
Do you think differently about people that have less than you?
Do you notice the kids that aren’t being included?
How do you feel when you’re the kid excluded and waiting for just one person to include you?
How would you feel if someone treated you differently because of the color of your skin?
What would you want someone to say or do to come alongside you?
BEFORE you have these conversations with your children I caution you to examine your own heart FIRST. They need us humble. They need us listening with an open heart. You may not like what they answer with. Just like I didn’t like what I saw in myself. Do not shame them. Ask more questions.
I think it’s important for you to also know that in our home our standard of truth is Christ. Without a delineation of what it good and what is evil I don’t see how we can teach them to recognize discrimination or injustice.