I want to acknowledge that regardless of what I write, someone will be offended. Honestly, regardless of any topic I voice my thoughts about, someone will disagree, and that is okay. But, I have to be obedient to God in writing when He puts something on my heart.
What was the last “community” moment you remember three months ago?
If you live in Tennessee, that moment should be when thousands of people from different communities came together to help those who lost their homes and businesses by the disastrous tornado that went across the state. Donations, money, services, and time were generously given without hesitation. Gratitude emulated in the hearts of our citizens as we moved forward to rebuild.
Then, another disaster struck. From volunteering the week before became a “looking out for myself” decision the following week. That does not go to those who still continued to give in the midst of uncertainty. But, the first mention of crisis sent vast amount of people into a deepened panic. Stores became empty, selfishness surfaced, and our hearts became burdened. My heart was grieved whenever I saw videos of people fighting over toilet paper. The hatred and judgement that derived through the selfishness grieved my heart.
Shortly after that, schools closed down one by one across the nation. My son had just started his spring break, and we received word that school would be closed for the remainder of the school year. While he was happy to spend more time at home with me and my husband, I knew that many children would be affected in negative ways from the conditions they live in. I substitute teach at my son’s school, and while I may not be the students’ teacher, they got to know me from being a regular sub at their school. What brought comfort was knowing the school districts across the state (I am sure in the rest of the country as well) worked together to feed children two meals a day. Because schools were closed, that meant I was out of a job and income like many Americans across the country.
In the midst of that mishap, I enjoyed the extra time with my son I had asked God to provide. I did not know that a lock down would become a way I could have more time with my kiddo. Though we were not able to do the typical activities I would have otherwise planned, we made the most of it at home. We played games, read stories, watched movies, raised and released butterflies, and did science experiments. While that was very enjoyable, my husband and I had to teach our son some life lessons that revolved around what our government officials were doing across America.
But, the one lesson I ensured to help him learn was faith in the uncertainty. I wanted him to know that when fear is to be expected from what people are saying around us, our trust comes from God only- not our government officials, medical professionals, and other individuals in our lives.Tabitha McMeley
Afterward, as we started to see a sense of normalcy and go about our lives, something heartbreaking happened. A man of color lost his life at the hands of corrupt officers. This became a newer territory of carefully explaining what was happening to my seven year old, though I have had talks with him over time about racism. It became especially challenging to form the appropriate, Christ-like words as one corrupt decision sparked action across the nation.
My family is white. But, we have befriended black people all of our lives. My husband was born and raised in Memphis. My son’s first friends were black as they were his classmates. The school he goes to is majority black. I knew that before he set a foot in the “real world” (school) away from me, that he would be exposed to different people, ideas, and circumstances. It is my and my husband’s job to teach him that he has to see others as a child of God. He knows that not everyone is going to be his friend and that there will be people who are not going to be kind. He learned that there are black kids just as there are Hispanic kids, but what mattered to him was friendship.
If you look at all the chaos we have been facing over the years, a Christian can see that these circumstances over time have one thing in common- the devil. He has been working overtime to bring disunity among God’s children since the beginning of time. This all ties back to our battles- disagreements, struggles, and things in our life are a spiritual battle with physical conditions. Racism is tied to spiritual warfare where our enemy, Satan, pushes pride, offense, and hatred as an agenda. Once that grabs a hold of our hearts, we are not only spiritually controlled, but physically controlled. It may start out as only associating with people of preference, then it evolves into becoming offense, which leads to a deepened hatred towards others, regardless if they have done anything wrong or not.
Did not God create all of us with purpose for His glory? As Christians, we are brothers and sisters regardless of what we look like, for when we go Home, we will have new bodies.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.Galatians 3:28, ESV
This does not mean that I believe racism does not exist, because it truly does. But, I see a deeper root behind racism- pride, offense, and anger. To be honest, a lot of what we struggle with has a deeper root if you take time to examine it with God and the Word.
If we are not careful, regardless of who we are, we become susceptible to approaching any issues in the flesh instead of being spirit led. When we allow our hearts to lead us instead of allowing Holy Spirit to lead us in how we make changes, we only hinder ourselves from growing in how God intended. To bring change to any issue, we must turn to God to let Him guide us. The changes we make, whether they are good or bad, become the seeds that are sown into others that would draw them closer or further from God.
The burdens of our hearts grieve Holy Spirit in so many ways that make us spiritually deaf and blind to His nudges if we choose to live in the flesh. It is so easy to feel offense and anger whether it is the corruption that sparked shock across the nation or the pandemic that brought everyone to a halt. I have had (and still have) my moments of frustration in how things have been handled, but when I put my trust in God, it helps me see past the physical battle we are all facing and it exposes what the enemy is attempting to accomplish.
My prayer for us is that we open our eyes to what is really happening around us. Let God use us to bring others to Him that otherwise would never know His Grace for them. Allow what is grieving our hearts become a way to lead others to the Truth, for we will face God one day soon. Think of the lives you can save when you set aside flesh based feelings and allow God to use you to bring those to know Jesus. The person we may be offended at could become the person we pray for who never knew that they needed prayers to change their life.
Let us, therefore, not “be human,” but be Christ-like and joined in unity.