How do I know racism is a problem?

Before you read, take a moment to clear your mind. I know that’s hard, actually impossible, but take a moment from all the noise, take a breath, and just hear my words. These are MY words. It’s not a narrative diven by anything else other than my own personal reflection.

I share it because we can argue all day about what we believe is or isn’t happening, but my own personal experience, my testimony? You can’t argue with that. I know racism is real because I’ve experienced it. I speak up now because it’s time to stop it. Regardless of what’s happening with protests, looting, rioting, etc., it does not change the fact, racism is a real problem.

When I was in 5th grade, a relative asked me at my sister’s birthday party why I had my arm around a colored boy. I had never heard anything like that before and responded with, he’s my friend.

In high-school, I had a friend tell me “we’re lucky we‘re white because the cops won’t pull us over.” I didn’t understand that, but even though we were often drinking and doing drugs while driving, we were never pulled over.

In adulthood, I have been in situations where the people I have been around, grown adults, have used the N-word or other derogatory terms referring to black people or made jokes at their expense. I stood in silence. More horrifying was my uncomfortable laugher in some of those moments. My laughter, my silence, meant acceptance.

Why do I share this? Because a lot of division is happening in our country. We take one issue (like racism) and turn it into another issue like (vandalism). Both are issues, both can exist at the same time, but one doesn’t negate the other. Racism is real.

I have had to take personal stock and ownership in my own life to see that there are areas I have had to deeply repent of. I have had prejudices, judged quickly, stereo-typed, been complicit, and not stood up against racism. I have had to lay before a holy God and confess my sin in these areas and thankfully, He is quick to forgive. I have had to confess it to others, seek their forgiveness, and thankfully, I have received their grace.

I share this with you for two reasons. To let you know my vocalization of the issue of racism has stemmed from the realization of the wickedness in my own heart. I am giving it to God, allowing Him to address it, and asking He use me to be a voice against the spirit of racism in this world. But I also share it as an invitation to you to address what’s in your own heart. To take a moment, ask the Spirit of the Lord to search you and point out anything in you that offends Him. Ask Him to call to mind memories, conversations, instances where racism occurred and you chose to agree with the spirit of racism rather than His Spirit. Repent by asking Him to forgive you for it, cleanse you from it, renouncing all agreement with it, then release it to Him and receive His forgiveness. It’s available to us all. Every last one of us.

This world needs to change. We may all agree to that. Yet I believe the only way it changes is through the transformative power of Jesus Christ. I have witnessed it in my own life as a previous drug addict turned Christ follower and it was only made possible by the kindness of God. I also believe Jesus calls us to change the world by being the light. And to be the light, you have to be honest, open, transparent, and willing to speak boldly about the hard things. I am choosing to share my story in regards to racism and my guilt in the matter in prayerful expectation it will release others to do the same. Anything is possible with God. And I am believing that the unity Jesus prayed for will be seen in our lifetime.

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