A Year We'll Remember
No one is going to forget the year 2020. From celebrity deaths, to living through a pandemic, to seeing racial injustice on every media outlet—we will have a hard time forgetting the events of this year. We may forget which celebrity died and when. Or we may forget how many rolls of toilet paper and bottles of hand sanitizer we hoarded. But my prayer and hope are that the church never forgets the injustices caught on video or the conversations that began as a result.
I am an African American woman, a wife, and a mom of one son. And I have personally received many messages in recent weeks from my white brothers and sisters about what is going on in our nation.
I love Jesus and his church. And I believe his church is a beautiful array of skin tones, dialects, and backgrounds who share the common connection of His love poured out and abundant grace received. But I also feel that we may have allowed our differences to define us to the point that they have divided us much more than we realize.
In the messages I’ve received, many people are asking questions like: “What do I do?” or “How can I help?” As I reflected on how to provide an answer, I felt the Lord gently point me back to His Word. I think we are often asking the wrong questions. Before we ask what or how, we must ask: Why?
Asking the Right Questions
May I ask you to pause and ask yourself why you feel compelled to speak up? Why do you want to help? Ask why do you believe what’s going on in our country is wrong? And why does it bother you?
Pause to think about your own “why.”
The answer can be found in Matthew 22:37–38, where Jesus teaches the Greatest Commandment: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Love God, and love others.
If you honestly don’t see racial injustice or have a hard time believing it exists, take that to the Lord. Ask Him to give you eyes to see and the desire to love and learn. Psalm 33:5 tells us that God loves righteousness and justice. Pray that scripture, asking God to help you love what He loves. I believe wholeheartedly God will answer your prayer. When we seek Him, our hearts and desires begin to change. We begin to see others as He sees them, realizing He doesn’t have favorite ethnicities and neither should we. When we sacrificially love who God loves, we are being a light this world desperately needs.
Where to Look
There are many books and websites that can provide guidance in asking the right questions and seeking answers. But my first suggestion is to look at the Word of God. Then look at yourself—your habits, your biases.
Take time to think about who you do life with. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Do I create my life so that I am only around people who match my skin color?
- Have I automatically chosen a doctor, dentist, or a real estate agent who looks like me?
- Are those decisions conscious or unconscious?
Ask God to search your heart and reveal to you areas where you may unknowingly show favor or trust to one group of people. Now, think about your daily life.
- Do you only listen to podcasts by people who look like or vote like you?
- Do your kids only have friends who look like them?
- Or do you speak up when you hear a racist joke or comment?
We have a huge problem in this country and only Jesus can fix it. The beautiful truth is, He works through us—His Church. But the sad truth is, His Church has been mostly silent on the issue of injustice in our country. The fact that Jesus took our place and endured God’s wrath for our salvation is too high of a price to pay for us to overlook others He died for. We must begin to speak honestly about what’s going on because we can’t fix a problem we don’t address.
What Did Jesus Do?
To my sisters in Christ reading this: We are the church! You and I are in this together! Our ultimate hope does not lie in the government to fix this. The church plays a vital role because this nation and our world need a heart change. You and I worship the One who changes hearts.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “What would Jesus do?” Well, let’s take a look at what Jesus did, and then model it. In John 4, He went out of his way to see the woman at the well. Jesus was hungry, tired, and thirsty, which was inconvenient and uncomfortable. Yet, He engaged in conversation with someone who couldn’t be more opposite than Him and showed love despite their differences. There was intense racial tension between Jews and Samaritans but Jesus stepped into it. We are to imitate him (Ephesians 5:1–2).
See, we don’t go to church—we are the church! We get to show the world how Jesus responds, and He does so with reconciliation because of His love for His people. Jesus came into this world so that we could be reconciled to God and He wants us to be reconciled to each other (2 Corinthians 5:18–20; Romans 12:9–18).
This may feel hard and overwhelming, but you probably had the same feelings when you learned of the Coronavirus. But here we are, navigating a global pandemic because we took the time to listen, learn, and adapt. We have worn masks in an effort to keep the virus from spreading. I’ve found the mask to be uncomfortable, and maybe you have as well. But we wear them to protect those who are vulnerable—those whose bodies may not be able to fight off the virus. May I ask that you also get uncomfortable by having conversations with Black Americans and your friends and family about racial injustice. It’s not comfortable—but just like the mask, it is a step toward protecting those who are vulnerable.
Where to Go From Here
My encouragement is to spend time seeking the Lord on how to navigate loving and leading well as it relates to racial injustices going on in our country today. I’ve had the opportunity to have many conversations with my white brothers and sisters in Christ, and we’ve been able to listen and learn from each other. It’s absolutely beautiful to do life with people who, by the world’s standards, have nothing in common with you.
But because of our faith in Jesus, understand that we were all created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). “We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). I encourage you to reach out to someone—a neighbor, coworker, or church member—and begin to have conversations. Conversations can lead to friendships which can lead to reconciliation. I believe there’s something incredible on the other side of uncomfortable!
Meet the Author
Nikki Tigg lives in Murfreesboro, TN with her husband and son. She has been a student ministry associate at New Vision Baptist Church since 2017. Nikki has a passion for helping teen girls and women realize their identity in Christ and loves connecting with students, parents, and leaders. She also loves spending time with her family, decorating, cooking, and the beach.