Hi my loves,
This week we will be reflecting on a very ominous topic: racial reconciliation. To be completely transparent with you all, I would say that as a black woman, I have lived life knowing for certain that there is nothing a white person can tell me about racism, discrimination or prejudice that I didn’t already know and haven’t already experienced. However, there is a lot of pride in that simple statement that people tend to overlook, especially black churches.
Queens in Spring’s overall mission is to live in freedom as a community of sisters. I would not be a good sister in Christ to you all if I was not honest about the reality that many of us are living in. While it is good to embrace your Winter seasons, so often the black community emphasizes this season so much that we don’t appreciate Springtime nearly as much as we should. I will be the first to say that I have been guilty of that. God will often use the people you least expect to humble you, but it is always for our own good. This week, He used one of my closest friends, Kerrington — someone I trust both emotionally and spiritually to do so. Not only did the Lord use her to humble me, but He revealed to me that I was not loving her as she deserved.
Proverbs 27: 19
As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart”
My life was sending Kerrington the message that I liked her a lot, but I didn’t love her as a sister in Christ should. I would love to say that she was wrong but if I did then I would be lying. I loved her based upon secular standards and if that’s all she deserved — if that’s all God required, then we’d be cool. But we all know good and well that our Father is not one who paid the ultimate sacrifice for His children, to only see that they are being treated as if they are peasants.
Mark 12: 30-31
“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment great than these.”
I love black culture. Period. I love who I am, who I am becoming, and would often say, “I couldn’t imagine not being black.” And I cant. I’m not retracting any of those statements, that is a part of my self-love and it’s very authentic to who Chantel is. However, I would complement those statements by essentially choosing not to acknowledge other cultures–but acting as if I was. I was acting as if I was the mean girl at school, so insecure that she was self-absorbed and lacked all forms of compassion for others. That’s a bit of an extreme example, but not really…keep reading.
Kerrington and I are in a class called “Citizenship” which is essentially a seminar based class focused on race and social justice. For the majority of the semester, I have been completely removed and disengaged with the class simply because I felt like I was above it. I wanted to get my credits and go. And the problem is that I truly thought that it was okay to live with that attitude. That is not freedom at all, it’s living in a forced Winter. I was living in a self-imposed prison.
Finally, God said, “enough is enough.” Kerrington and I were paired together in a discussion group, and one of the questions brought up was about the concept of racism. I was already going into the conversation a bit closed minded because I was convinced that I was too wounded by racial battle fatigue and simply didn’t have to explain anything to anyone who didn’t live the life of a black person. Period. This in itself is encompassed in pride, given the fact that Jesus Himself simplified such an in-depth concept –the Kingdom of Heaven– into a seed, for people to understand better.
Mark 4: 26-27
“And He said, “The Kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how.
A big stumbling block that came up between Kerrington and me was the definition of racism. Kerrington expressed her belief that black people could be racist, whereas I disagreed. We then both shut down out of fear of jeopardizing our friendship, hurting the other person and a significant amount of hopelessness that the other simply wouldn’t understand. So, a few days after that encounter we met up to talk about what happened and honestly a lot of it had to do with semantics and pride. I am the type of person who over thinks things. This often prevents me from saying how I feel which can come off as unbothered or uninterested. We realized that we essentially have the same beliefs about racism, that black people cannot be racist in the sense of economic and social power. However, we do hold a significant amount of power when it comes to forgiveness. There is a vast difference in a white person telling another white person that they are forgiven, versus a black person telling a white person that they are forgiven. Sure, this is not the same as an economic power, but forgiveness is a key element of the Gospel.
Forgiveness is what separates us from the burden of shame. Forgiveness is why we are even alive and able to have a conversation about racism. Forgiveness is symbolic of God’s heart toward society. Jesus was essentially lynched but chose to forgive and live on to be a living testimony of the fact that there is nothing that should ever come between us loving one another. If Jesus could pay the ultimate sacrifice and choose to love, why can’t we?
So yes, sis. Black people do have power. The fact that we can even say “white privilege” is a type of privilege. Many black people are prejudice against white people; withholding forgiveness makes you no better than those whom you have to forgive. Being prejudiced and bitter is not love. The next time you call someone a racist, keep that same energy and think about the love that you may be withholding from them.
Matthew 5: 43-48
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you great your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect”
Continue to live in your Springtime.
Use your privilege for the Gospel.
I love you Kerrington, and I love you dear Queens,