The Deafening Sound of Silence

I hesitate to write about the racial issues that are plaguing this country because, as a White woman, I feel like I have little to say. And let’s be honest, I am nervous about saying the wrong  thing. But my silence is deafening. At least to my Black friends. I am quick to cry over injustices in Kenya or Peru. I tearfully read my friends’ blogs about the plight of orphans. I post and post about these issues. “Why aren’t we adopting? Why don’t we do more?” I talk about all these things with my social media friends.

But about racial tension, death at the hands of police and retaliation, I have been silent. I have not known what to say, so I say nothing. This is the wrong thing to do.

A Black friend of mine recently posted on Facebook about our response as Kingdom people  to what the Black community  is experiencing. Her reminders weren’t revolutionary or new or laid out on a thoughtfully crafted Pinterest board. Her words were Jesus’ words. They were from the Bible. They were words and verses I have read, journaled about and poured over before.

A central theme in her reminders was the power of presence: sometimes, the best thing is to just be with someone.

My friends, our Black brothers and sisters, are hurting. They’re suffering. One of my friends said, “I’m scared that they {the boys she mentors} will be innocently doing what almost anyone would say is just ‘boys being boys’ and that they will become the next hashtag.”

The life and the words of Jesus encourage me. What do we do when our brothers and sisters—cut from the same cloth, made in the same Image and by the same God—are suffering? We enter in.

We make ourselves awkward, just as Jesus made Himself awkward. Jesus, fully God, the creator of the Universe, the King of all that is and has been and will be, Jesus, who lived in perfect harmony with the Spirit and the Father, came to earth as a baby. Not as a king on a warrior horse or as a politician with parades in front.

Imagine. Creating the seas, stretching the skies and then—being born into a baby’s skin, with fingers newly unfurled and eyes blurred, not yet cleared of their opacity. Jesus came into this world awkwardly, as one of us.

We can do the same. We can enter in with our Black peers. We take the first, awkward step. And then say something. Not defend or make excuses. Just speak life and love. And if it’s awkward, just remember the One who came awkward—and spoke Life and Love to you.

 

Resources

Joanna recommends . . .

Be the Bridge Community: “Be the Bridge desires to create space and conversations that would begin to tear down racial barriers that have divided people – even God’s people.”

Shalom in the City: A thoughtful blog and podcast.

Another great resource? Find a friend. Just as other people need you, you need them. A good place to start a conversation about racial tensions might go something like, “This is really awkward. I want to do something, say something, but I don’t know how. Can you help me?”