What a week it’s been.
My kids and I traveled from Seattle to North Carolina on Wednesday, then on to Virginia on Thursday. I was largely out of pocket. But in the past two days, in between seeing friends and family and monitoring my kids as they play in my parents’ swimming pool, I’ve been reading and thinking and hurting and crying and praying. Not again. It’s happened too many times already. And because of the travel and the time change and the headlines, I’m so tired. And I’m a white woman.
Imagine how tired my black brothers and sisters are.
In the wake of these events, I’ve seen some really foolish things online. But I’ve also seen some really, really wise things. I thought I would share a few thoughts I’ve had as I’ve read, prayed, and processed.
Wisdom for a Week Like This:
It is wise to pray. Author Deidra Riggs is among many people who have championed prayer movements in the days following these heinous events. What I love about her initiative is that it is accessible to anyone with a Facebook account. As a mom with three small kids on vacation, it’s not feasible for me to attend a prayer vigil. But I can join my brothers and sisters online by reading their prayers and adding my “amen” and “Lord in your mercy, her our prayers” to them. I believe in the power of prayer, even when those praying are gathered together on Facebook. I have been deeply enriched and edified by the prayers I have read and prayed. If you’re not already engaged in prayer with others who care about what is happening, I encourage you to join this group.
It is wise to admit your own racism and racial bias. Rapper Lecrae posted this article by Dr. Robin DeAngelo, a white woman who has made race relations and whiteness the focus of her life’s work. Her 2015 article, “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard to Talk to White People About Racism” really struck a chord with me. I encourage all of my white brothers and sisters to read it and heed its conclusions, especially the last part, where she offers some practical advice on how to begin actually bridging cross-racial divides.
It is wise to devote time to studying, meditating on, and embodying the Sermon on the Mount. I dare you to read these passages in the light of what has been going on this week and not feel your heart soften, your throat tighten, and your resolve increase. As I have been reflecting on these three chapters from the book of Matthew, I have felt a tremendous amount of faith, hope, love, and godly determination well up.
It is wise to look for a different, better way to respond. Many people are using these events to simply amplify their pre-existing political views. But others are actually saying “enough is enough” and looking for better ways to respond. My favorite so far is this man in Seattle, Jasen Frelot, who organized “a radical act of love,” wherein he and volunteers from twenty churches handed out flowers to police officers on duty throughout the city. “We’ve protested,” he said. “We’ve burned down cities. And black people are still getting shot in the streets. So, we have to do something different.”
It is wise to expect God to use this, yes even all of this, for his glory. It was my friend Karen Shelton Williams who reminded me of this. Referring to a cartoon depicting a black father and son expressing concern for one another’s safety, she wrote, “These are very real thoughts that I have about my precious son and amazing husband. But my God is still on the throne and He is way bigger than this. I cannot wait to see how He uses this for His glory.” I was so convicted by her faith, which jolted my own faith from a place of despair to a place of great hope and expectation.
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I will continue to pursue wisdom as I make my way through this world in the coming days and weeks. The fire is getting hotter. Evil seems to be gaining so much ground and tragedy strikes every single moment somewhere in the world. Our world needs the hope that comes through the gospel of Jesus Christ. I hope that these thoughts will build your faith. I pray they will strengthen your resolve to be better and different than the typical responses.
May we all be an active part of the solution to what ails our general population.