"Pulled into the parking lot, parked it Zipped up my parka, joined the procession of marchers In my head like, "Is this awkward? Should I even be here marching?" Thinking if they can't, how can I breathe? Thinking that they chant, what do I sing? I want to take a stance cause we are not free And then I thought about it, we are not we Am I in the outside looking in, Or am I in the inside looking out? Is it my place to give my two cents? Or should I stand on the side and shut my mouth? No justice, no peace, okay, I'm saying that They're chanting out, Black Lives Matter, But I don't say it back Is it okay for me to say? I don't know, so I watch and stand
In front of a line of police that look the same as me Only separated by a badge, A baton, a can of Mace, a mask A shield, a gun with gloves and hands that gives an alibi In case somebody dies behind a bullet that flies out of the 9 Takes another child's life on sight "
(Macklemore, White Privilege 2)
Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Christian Cooper. Each of these names have made an appearance in the news in the last month. Do you recognize them?
Arbery was shot during a jog. Floyd was lynched by a police officer. Cooper had the cops called on him for talking to a white woman. What do these three men have in common? Their skin color. Each one of them was black. Of these three, only one remains. Arbery and Floyd were killed due to the color of their skin and Cooper could have been next had he not recorded the event. These are only the cases making it on our newsfeeds due to how the media handled them. There are countless more scenarios like this each day.
Now, typically I grieve these situations in silence. Why? Because I'm white, I'm privileged due to how I look. Cops don't pull me over, no one calls the police on me for "being sketchy", I don't get followed while shopping, etc. So, I stay quiet and make way for those in these situations to stand up. But is this the right answer? I am not sure anymore. I think as a Christian I may be called to more than I admit. Let's take a look at Galatians 5:13-14,
"For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'"
As Christians, we are called to freedom from our sins. As Americans, we are gifted with freedom through our nation. In all regards, we are called to steward our freedom well. To use our freedom as a platform to love our neighbors. This means silence is never an option, more so now than ever. But neither is brutality. Our response is to stand with our communities and fight injustice without violence, but with love. It's like the idea KNOW JUSTICE, KNOW PEACE. But what does that look like?
This image is exactly how we as Christians should be responding. Do you see the man on the left? He is white. He is standing with someone who IS oppressed showing where he stands on the issue. No violence, just love. Love for a people who have been persecuted beyond belief, even in a culture that claims "acceptance". So, we respond by saying terms like "all lives matter" and "Black Live Matter". It's not one or the other, it's both because all lives do matter, but right now we need to focus on "Black Live Matter". We don't condone the violence committed in its name, but instead, remember the message it is meant to spread. The message of the importance we need to place on a people group so persecuted that each day another victim is shown in our newsfeed. There is a perfect metaphor for the point being made:
"If there were a subdivision and a house was on fire. The fire department wouldn't show up and start putting water on all the houses because all houses matter. They would show up and they would turn their water on the house that was burning because that's the house that needs the help the most."
It's about standing up in the face of a culture that is hyper-critical of every move made, yet doesn't act. How many times do you see someone with authority actually acting on the words they speak? You don't (at least not often enough) because they fear what the outcome might be for them. They aren't loving their neighbor, they are loving themselves. It becomes a battle of self-preservation and silent support instead of the preservation of others through outspoken support. But how do we do this well? Go back to the image above and keep going back until it clicks. As Christians, we are called to nothing less. We are called to use our freedom to love one another and nothing less will suffice. So, stand up, be mad, and use that anger in a positive way.
We are called to more than what we are doing currently. We are called to stand with those in need and in this case, that is our friends in the black community. So, as a privileged, Christian, white man I am here to say, Black Lives Matter. I stand with my brothers and sisters at all times and this is a way for my silence to end.