This is part of a series of posts inviting friends to share their perspectives.
In the face of adversity, it would seem that sharing a message with the people you consider your brothers and sisters in Christ would be easy, but the truth is that members of our church community have been silent and looked the other way for many years as if a problem never existed. Many of us have been ok with our society’s label of blacks having a “victim mentality,” so have not prioritized our time, energy, or resources to uncover the truths of that statement. I want to say that I love each and every one of you and am thankful to have a God whose ultimate sacrifice was to transfer our sins onto Him so that we may live in peace with one another.
I am troubled and my heart aches by the recent events our nation is experiencing. There are no words when you see an unarmed black man killed, beaten, harassed, and given unfair judgment… but then witness the people who have done those acts get a slap on the hand and move on as if nothing ever happened. Please understand church, that this is a direct result of the anger black communities are experiencing and enough is enough.
One of my heroes growing up as a young black man was Martin Luther King who stood for a non-violent approach to help influence change. His commitment to allow God to lead his spirit through love, peace, and unity was honorable, but was always met with violence from those with hate in their hearts. When you’re following and supporting this movement, open your eyes to the protestors who are non-violent and true to the cause versus the protestors who are taking advantage of an opportunity to steal and cause damage and could care less what changes may happen.
So what do we do now? How do we as a church and as a people help with the change that is needed in our country? Here is what I have found has worked for me all these years: some of these simple practices can be applied to all aspects of your lives, but in a time when your brothers and sisters need help in a country that has allowed oppression, your influence and willingness to help will unite us all.
In moments of fear, doubt, uncertainty, and unfulfillment, we will naturally experience a discomfort that is unsettling for us. Because of that feeling, you will find the strength to step outside of your comfort zone to find growth, to find answers and to find purpose. It is in that growth stage that change occurs.
Let your Voice be Heard
Martin Luther King Jr. has a quote that means so much to me: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” We are the church and we are the people of God. If we are not confident in a time of need to let our voice be heard and stand up for what is right, how can we preach the gospel of our Father and honor His sacrifice? Words have influence, and when said with love and truth they have meaning. Be brave in what you say, be brave in the words you choose to share, for God will guide our tongue when we face fear.
Prayer is the most powerful thing we can do. It helps us to speak with God and ask for His guidance, for His hands to be placed in the middle of all things, and for His purpose to be revealed. In times like these, we can pray for one another, our church, our communities, and ourselves. We can ask God to give us courage to speak up, strength to not be afraid, an open mind to understand the issues at hand, and a heart that will allow us to forgive.
The road that we have left to travel will not be an easy one. My challenge for us will be to focus on looking forward into a future that unites us, and not focus on what’s in the rearview that caused us to be divided. For some of us, the changes we’ll need to make will be small, and for others, the changes will be quite the climb. I encourage you to take one step at a time and not do it by yourself. I challenge you not to stay quiet when your voice should be heard and to educate yourself when you have doubt.
Songs to check out:
- Negro National Anthem
- Oh Freedom! By the Golden Gospel Singers
- A Change Is Gonna Come By Sam Cooke
Robert Williams was raised in North & Northeast Portland and lives in Vancouver Washington with his wife Amber and their three children (Nevaeh 11, Isaiah 9 & Maliah 7). He has 8 brothers and sisters, 24 nephews and nieces, and a ton of cousins. He graduated in 2006 from Western Oregon University with a degree in Business and currently owns an Insurance Agency in Milwaukie, Oregon.
You can connect with Robert on Instagram
Click here to read more posts from the “Dear Church” series.