Welcome to Black Stories Matter, a new series of guest posts written by Black women, bloggers, and influencers. I’ve asked them to share their stories with us, a safe place for us to listen and learn from them. I truly believe that stories have power to change our hearts & our lives, so this is where I wanted to start. So let’s take a moment to listen.
Ruth is the founder of the blog couragewithhope.com, and an aspiring Christian author. She works as a Pharmacist, and lives in England with her husband and son. She likes to go on long walks with her family on the beautiful south east country side, and is currently working on publishing her first book.
In Her Words
I remember the first time I heard Wyclef Jean’s hit song Diallo; I did not understand what the story behind the song it meant. My father had to explain to me about police brutality, racial profiling and social injustice. As a young girl back then, it was hard for me to grasp why police officers would shoot an unarmed man forty-one times simply because of his skin colour!
That was twenty years ago.
You would expect things to be different two decades later.
Nothing has changed.
The horrific viral video of the murdering of George Floyd is something you watch and instantly wish you hadn’t. Nothing is as vile and traumatic, as watching the life of another human seep away gently as he gasped the words: “I can’t breathe.”
These sort of videos are revolting and would trigger a response, hence the riots and protests. Years of oppression and stifling has erupted into a worldwide expression of solidarity, with demonstrations held in various cities across the globe.
In the light of the conflict and turmoil happening around us, what should our disposition be as Christians? I’ll write on four ways we can take an active stand against racial oppression.
DO NOT BE SILENT.
As Christians, we cannot be silent. Our failure to take a clear stand and express disapproval could be judged as consent.
In the words of Elie Wiesel, “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. The opposite of love is not hate; it’s indifference.”
The book of Proverbs says; Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Prov.31:8.
For this reason, we must never look the other way when we see people’s rights being violently taken from them, it’s not fair, and it’s not Christian. Racism opposes the message of the gospel, therefore we must not condone it in our homes, communities and least of all in our churches.
Moses in the scriptures is a perfect example of standing up to oppressors.
“Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters: and they came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. And the shepherds came and drove them away: but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock.” (Exodus 2-16,17)
In essence, Moses did not merely watch while the women were being maltreated for their gender; he challenged the situation and helped the women. This is what we should all be doing. Everyone has a platform, no matter how small. Wherever you see tyranny, be like Moses, do something!
“Do not oppress a foreign resident, since you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners; for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 23:9) Berean Bible Study.
Anybody who tells you racial discrimination is a myth, is ignorant! As a black minority myself, the racial divide is a reality I live, daily. Although it is hurtful when I have to face the subtle shades of racism, it has helped me become a better person by making me aware of how discrimination might affect others. Read my post about how to overcome hatred here.
When the Israelites left Egypt after 400 years of slavery in Egypt, God gave them laws. One of which was never to oppress strangers who we now call immigrants, because at a point they were immigrants themselves. God said, you know the heart of an immigrant, so be kind to them. Being a minority far from home is hard enough, so be kind. The love of Christ in your heart should compel you to show empathy and compassion.
For example, don’t call them names and say nasty things to them. Also, don’t teach your children to bully their children at school. Instead, train your kids to be anti-racists and to be allies of minority kids.
QUESTION YOUR BIAS.
On both sides of the fence, there’s a lesson to learn. Whether we admit it or not, we all have some bias about people who are different from us. We get this distorted information from the Media, conversations in our respective communities or our own experience.
The danger of giving people labels is that we too can miss out on God’s plan for us. By refusing to examine our incomplete information about other races, we restrain the works of the Holy-Spirit in our lives.
Apostle Peter, in the book of Acts, is a perfect example that it is possible to overcome bias. He was about to miss out on God’s purpose for his life; because he was raised not to associate with people from other cultures.
When I read the book of Acts as I was studying for this article, the first couple of verses in chapter ten, opened my eyes to see how natural it is to judge a person by their race, when in fact that assumption could be wrong.
“At Caesarea, there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.” (Acts 10:1-2)
Here is a deeply committed man, with a generous spirit and a zeal for God. It wasn’t just Cornelius that was this way; his entire family was God-fearing.
Does that sound like a Roman soldier to you?
Weren’t Roman soldiers supposed to be cruel, bloody and lusty pagans?
According to the Bible, Cornelius was neither of the above.
Do you see the error of typecasting? You could be wrong, so wrong.
Give people a chance to prove themselves to you and assume nothing until they do.
In the next couple of verses, the Holy Spirit had to change Peter’s mindset about associating with people from other races. That same Spirit is speaking to us today: God does not show favouritism or if you like racism and neither should we.
As we continue to make the world aware of the generational destruction that racism causes, we also acknowledge that the issue that confronts us today is not just a White-Black problem. Racial intolerance and social injustice is a consequence of sin.
When sin entered the world, it brought confusion, hatred, selfishness and every evil work. Jesus knew the solution to humanity’s challenges was to take away the sin of the world, which was why He did not get into political positions in His day. The Lord’s main aim was to offer Himself as the offering for our sin.
“The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 ESV.)
Friends, only Jesus can heal the pain that hatred, masked as racism has caused.
Only Jesus can change a man’s heart to love another person who is different from themselves genuinely.
Jesus alone can unite families, reconcile communities, and mend broken hearts.
That’s why we speak Jesus; the hope of the world.