It may surprise some of you to know this, but I am an opinionated person. Rather strongly opinionated, in fact. I don’t speak up often, and I do my best to avoid senseless debates and oversharing of controversial material on social media. I figure either no one cares about my views on a variety of fiery topics, or I just don’t want to add to the noise. And goodness–there is a LOT of noise going on these days.
So as God is gently nudging me to start writing again about the issue of racism in our country, I’m tossing around a lot of thoughts. As one with strong opinions who rarely shares them, I admit that I want to preserve my image as a peacekeeper. I don’t want people to get upset with me. But God didn’t call us to be peacekeepers, did He? He called us to be peaceMAKERS. And that often involves being willing to step into the turmoil for the sake of the eventual peace we fight for.
When I wrote my last post, A Heartfelt Apology, my husband, Jordan, read it before I posted it and said, “Baby, this is REALLY good. But just so you know, some people aren’t going to like it. Are you okay with that?” And he was right. While the majority of the response I received was positive, I definitely had some who did not agree. I’m glad for that. It led to some productive conversations, and some not-so-productive. I still believe every word that I wrote. To date, that post has received 307 views. Maybe one or two of those led to someone thinking more deeply about how they view race.
Lately, when I read articles about race or the Black Lives Matter movement or the police killings of black men, I get butterflies in my stomach. Because I know what I believe, but I’m going to be completely honest here…I am scared of sharing it. I’m scared of stirring the pot, because I have a lot of nice, white, conservative Christians in my circle. And they’re wonderful people! I’ve always been the nice girl, the quiet one, the one who did and said the right thing at the right time, and for the most part, kept people happy.
But there is a storm rolling and boiling inside me these days. I feel the same way David must have felt when he wrote Psalm 39–
“I said, “I will watch my ways
and keep my tongue from sin;
I will put a muzzle on my mouth
while in the presence of the wicked.”
So I remained utterly silent,
not even saying anything good.
But my anguish increased;
my heart grew hot within me.
While I meditated, the fire burned;
then I spoke with my tongue:”
So I’m asking myself honest, hard questions. Do I want to be the one to stand against racism in my community? Do I want to be the one to publicly denounce racist attitudes and actions? Do I want to be a defender for my son? For my future black grandchildren? For any potential future black sons- or daughters-in-law?
I want to stand up and shout, “YES! I’ll do it! Here I am, LORD, send me!”
But my heart still quivers. The questions linger of relationships that may suffer, people who look up to me who may start doubting me, and my viability as a nice, white, conservative Christian girl that may begin to change.
Then God dangled the thought in my mind that maybe there have been others in the past, throughout history, who asked themselves similar questions. Maybe Martin Luther King, Jr. asked “Do I want to be the one to stand against racial inequality in our nation?” Harriet Tubman may have asked herself, “Do I want to be the one to risk my life for the freedom of my fellow man?”Harriet Beecher Stowe may have asked, “Do I want to write a book that will stir up turmoil in order to bring peace?” Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, Rosa Parks…all of them may have asked themselves the same question I ask myself now. Do I want to be the one?
And so I end this post and these musings with one powerful word.