During this historical and monumental time, it can be easy to get lost in the news, social media, and your own mind and heart. It’s hard to find the correct voices to listen to in a sea of opinions, pain, and information. The world feels like a stormy maze where around every corner is another piece of advice or something to grieve over.
But perhaps the most difficult thing to do is figure what your place will be in history.
My desire is that everyone finds justice, peace, and hope this year. As an Enneagram type eight, I tend to stand radically and forcibly on the side of justice. I advocate for speaking out. My instinct is to listen to Alexander Hamilton and make Lin Manuel Miranda proud.
If you stand for nothing, what’ll you fall for?
I feel the most myself when I’m speaking out for justice, against oppression, and standing for what I believe in. Right now, that looks like standing with all my black brothers and sisters, supporting the black lives matter movement in any way I can, and educating myself daily. However, if I’m not careful, justice can become something huge I get lost in, morphing from selflessness into selfishness and giving it the potential to blind me to my own identity.
So, what exactly is my identity? What is my place in history? What am I standing for? What will I fall for?
What will you?
As a believer, my identity has always been, and will always be, firmly rooted in Jesus Christ. I am his daughter and heir. I am who he says I am. My identity, thankfully, is not subjected to my own will, desires, and actions. But is fully based on who Jesus is.
As believers, we do not find our worth and identity in worldly things. We do not own anything that is conventionally ours. The money we earn is not ours. Despite having a deed or lease, our homes are not ours. Despite eating healthy or exercising, our bodies are not ours. And as uncomfortable as it may be, our voices and hands are not ours.
We are the eyes, feet, hands, and mouth of God on earth. We are here to do work for the kingdom of heaven. And the kingdom of heaven is a kingdom of peace and justice. It is a kingdom for all. And it is a kingdom that is led by the King who will leave the 99 in search of the one.
My instinct is to tell everyone to not be silent during these days of #BLM. My instinct is to tell white people that their silence does more harm than good.
I believe that history will remember the white Christians for what they didn’t do and didn’t say.
I don’t have all the answers and I can’t for a second pretend I even have some of them. But I do know there are so many layers to every individual’s life and heart. There is no blanket statement I can make that will be accurate for all people. I know white Christians who have stayed silent for all the wrong reasons. I know white Christians who have actively said and done things to support a racist system.
I also know white Christians who have stayed silent or gone silent for more personal reasons. Who have good hearts and are doing the work offline, alone in their own homes, but may not be seen or heard.
Sometimes, we have to decide where to put our emotional energy. We are members of the kingdom of heaven and will live in eternity in the perfect kingdom of justice and grace. But right now, we are mortal human beings in imperfect and sinful bodies. Not everyone can be the energizer bunny for all injustices and effects of sin in our world. You may be going through some incredibly difficult and unimaginable personal struggles that make dedicating your emotional energy to current situations impossible. That’s okay. There is no guilt in taking care of yourself, your heart, your life, and your family.
But even when black lives matter stops trending, remember there will still be work to be done. There will still be injustices and oppression to be tackled. There will still be things you need to educate yourself on.
As Christians, whatever skin color or background, we have to remember who we are and what our place is in this world and in history. We are members of the body of Christ. We belong to the King of kings. We are sons and daughters of the Author of life. We are Jesus’s hands and feet on earth. We do not belong to ourselves and we do not belong to this world. We die to ourselves and we live for God.
We live for the God of justice. We live for the God of grace. We live for the God of mercy. We live for the God of love. And we live for the God who sent his one and only son to earth to live and die for ALL.
This is the same son who had brown skin and an outcast mother.
The same son who actively sought out social outcasts.
The same son who constantly argued with the religious leaders of his time. Who destroyed property (cleansing of the temple) because people were being kept from God due to selfish greed.
The same son who cursed a fig tree that didn’t produce fruit. Who wept over the death of a friend. Who stood with Gentiles, the sick, prostitutes, unclean, thieves, and sinners.
We are not children and servants of a white God who stays silent about injustice under the false pretense of wanting to keep the boat from rocking. Our God is not a God of politics. He is a God of love for his people. And he is a God who is outraged when there is an injustice against his children. He is a God that sent plagues, including a plague that killed the firstborn child of hundreds of families, to save his people.
So if this is our God, who are we? What does it mean to be one with him? To live like him? To serve him and his kingdom? To be his child?
No one can spoon-feed you those answers. No one can truly tell you what to do. No one can make you understand and live out your identity.
No one can tell you how to stand in your place in history.
You have to do that yourself. We all do.
We have to do the work.
The work to know who we are. To know what our place is. To know where our heart is and why we are making the decisions we are. To know exactly why we are speaking up or staying silent. To know who we care about and where we’re going to seek justice, peace, and grace.
We have to do the work to know when we are going to spread love or hate. To know exactly what privilege we might have because of our skin color. To know what oppression other people might face because of their skin color. The work to know the history of our nation. The TRUE history. The one that makes us uncomfortable.
We have to decide how to live for and fight for our eternal kingdom. We have to discover God ourselves and know exactly who he is. We have to do the work to know the nature of God.
And the work to know what we need to do to imitate that nature.
We have to decide what we stand for. What we will fall for.
So, are you going to do the work?
What is your identity?
What will be your place in history?