Despite taking an intentional break from writing for a bit, this past weekend’s events that exploded in Charlottesville caused my fingers to find their way to this keyboard. My mind is just reeling with furious thoughts about all of it. Last night before bed, I asked my husband, “I wonder if what happened this weekend is even going to be brought up at church in the morning?”
This morning, I said to him, “We need to do church at home today. I’m not sure if our church is going to talk about racism and what happened. We need to and we need to do it now.” My husband and I have held ‘home church’ before with our kids. They actually enjoy it as we try to make it light-hearted and fun. This morning, however, we brought them to the table with a more sincere tone.
The beginning of our conversation went like this:
Me: “What color of skin do you think Jesus had when he was alive on Earth?”
My kids: “White!”
Kids: “But, he’s white in the pictures.”
Me: “I know but he was not white. His skin was brown.”
My husband: “He was from the Middle East. Their skin is brown, not white.”
My daughter: “I think his skin had all of the colors in it – white, brown, black.”
Me: “Maybe, but he definitely was not white. He was a brown man. The reason why we are talking about this is because something bad happened in another state this weekend. A group of white people got together, carrying torches and chanting things. These people believe that only white people are good and that we are not equal in God’s eyes and some of these people would call themselves Christians. So, if some Christians claim to love Jesus (who was brown) but do not love people who are a different color, does that make any sense?”
My kids: “No.”
We were honest (in a kid friendly manner) about the violence and that tragically, a few people died. In an effort to show them what God says, we went to Scripture.
Acts 10:34-35: Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.
Romans 2:9-11: There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.
James 2: 1-9: My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?
If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.
Our children were immersed in the conversations and we told them that as white people and as Christians, we are NOT superior to anyone. Jesus died for everyone – regardless of skin color and it is wrong for any Christian to feel otherwise.
As we finished, we watched the “I Have a Dream” speech by Dr. King. It was a wonderful way to show our young children that the fight for racial justice has been going on for far too many years and sadly, there is still so much work to be done. There are still too many people in the world who do not see others the way God sees us – through eyes of concern, mercy, and love.
Anytime we have church at home, I ask the kids if they want to draw something that is related to what we discussed. My daughter decided to draw Dr. King giving his speech.
I know my husband and I are not perfect and we are certainly not Biblical scholars, but if there is anything at all that we can teach them as Christian parents, it is this:
Love others as God loves you.
Treat others as you want to be treated.
We are ALL precious to Him.
As the day has gone on, I have thought a lot about the victims of the terrorism (which is what it should be called) that occurred when the young man decided to drive his car into a crowd of people. My heart aches greatly for the young woman who lost her life as well as for her family. However, I have also found myself wondering, “What if my son or daughter would have been behind the wheel of that car?” As a parent, this question causes me to consider what we teach and show to our children and how we should be making every effort to train them in the education of love not hate.
It is up to us (Christians) to set an example for the world. If we do not stand up for injustice and denounce hatred, then who are we following and where is Jesus? It is not comfortable to stand up for others nor it is popular at times, but nothing about the life of a Christian should be comfortable.
Jesus was not comfortable when he hung on the cross for every single soul. When I visualize my Savior literally pouring his life out for me, for you, for our friends, and for our enemies, I am embarrassed by what we have done with this grace we have found.
Hatred should have no home in the heart of a Christian, neither should silence. We must consider our own feelings or lack thereof when we see displays of hate that occurred this weekend. We must teach our children that Jesus is for everyone, we are not better than anyone else, and mercy always has a place at our table.
Christians, isn’t this what Jesus died for?