As I endeavored to make sense of my own feelings and prepared to share my heart with my church family this past Sunday, these are the words that came to me. The video is a portion of what I wrote. The full reflection is available after the clip. Take them as originating from a place of love and pain. I hope you hear my heart. – Krystal
Truth doesn’t hide.
Some truths may be beautiful and captivating, inviting us to stare in awe and wonder.
Some truths are ugly and corrosive, stirring discomfort, pain, or destruction.
Whether beautiful or ugly, a time comes when the truth must be examined.
It is up to each of us individually to recognize it, wrestle with it, accept or reject it, and decide if we will live in it.
I don’t believe that truth just appears. It has always been there.
But the truth may be one we have not confronted up to that point.
May be one we haven’t yet internalized.
It may be we embraced the truth for a short while and then a competing idea or faith-shattering occurrence caused us to reject that truth, replacing it with a lie.
It is even possible that we dismissed the truth previously because to accept it would have dramatically shifted everything else we once thought to be true. And like a fragile house of cards, the whole of our reality might come crashing down.
This past week, the truth of our country’s problem with racism was caught on video, AGAIN. It was a punctuation mark inserted after days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries of living in a country where the ugly truths of systemic racism, oppression, injustice, and hatred have been felt and largely left unchecked.
For me personally, my life has been a balancing act, negotiating this truth, and this past week was hard. Daily choking back tears, processing in public and private spaces, teetering between the emotions of outrage, anger, sadness and so much more, seeking God’s presence all through out. And this is what I know…
I am tired.
I am tired because none of this is new.
I am tired because my heart continues to break with each exposed incident of racism, injustice and hatred.
I am tired because talking isn’t enough.
I am tired because reason and rational thinking seems to elude some.
I am tired because our tears, our kneels, our stands, our protests, and our voices are questioned, dismissed, and/or demonized at every turn and seem to never produce sustainable and systemic change.
I am tired because I remember the sacrifices of my parents and grandparents. Looking at the country today they do not seem to have resulted in much.
I am tired because we still have to have “the talk” with our kids because some can’t see past the color of their skin.
Yes, I am tired. And I know many of you are too.
I am tired but, I am hopeful. I am hopeful that now is the time to stop paying lip service and instead do something.
I have hope that I can do my part. I have hope that you will do your part. I have hope that together we will, enabled/empowered/emboldened by His Spirit that we will stand up for what is good, what is right, what is just, what is true. That we will stop playing church and instead BE the church.
What do I mean by “BE” the church?
- Be moved by the things that move God.
- See my brothers and sisters as our brothers and sisters. We all are made in HIS IMAGE.
- Let love fuel our actions. You don’t need to understand the whole thing to start standing alongside those that hurt. The fact that they hurt should be reason enough to stand beside them.
- Call out injustice promptly and boldly. When we see it, let’s do something about it.
- Stand for what is right. Condemn what is wrong. And pray for discernment to know the difference.
- Be vulnerable, transparent and open to listening to, asking questions of, and sharing within our community of believers.
In a moment I will pray, offering the tiredness up to God in exchange for his rest and revival. My prayer is that we deal with the messiness of the truth of who we are as individuals, a church, community and nation and that God will help us to be better and to be more in line with his will with each passing day.
What a time we find ourselves in. We are experiencing so much, nothing necessarily new, but experiencing it in perhaps a more distinct and different way.
You remain on the throne and you are right beside us, even now. In the messiness of our emotions, current realities, and hopes for a better tomorrow, you are there. As the oppressed, unheard, and enraged people of our country of all colors cry out, you are there. Let your presence be felt.
There is so much that we offer up to you today. We offer our pain, our anger, our tears, our questions, our assumptions and biases, and our hurts. We know that what we are experiencing currently – the unrest, protests, calls for justice and dismantling of systems that unfairly oppress, condemn and kill our black and brown brothers and sisters are results of practices, laws and mindsets that are not of you. They were established and are maintained to benefit some, at the expense of others, making life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness unattainable for all.
As a nation we have and continue to sin and not live in accordance with your word. As a community our ability to flourish is stifled because of injustices we refuse to or have not holistically and systemically addressed and eradicated. As individuals we life in the tension of maturing and becoming more Christ-like, even in our own brokenness.
We pray today that you forgive us of our sins – the sins of our nation that have produced systems, sentiments and practices that perpetuate injustice in our country. Dismantle them now.
Forgive us of our actions (or inaction) resulting from fear, helpless and hopelessness, or assumptions and beliefs that were rooted in privilege or lies. These things that have not been indicative of the people you have called us to be, remove them from us. We pray that you draw us back to the core of our beliefs and the truth of your word – to love you with all our hearts and to love our neighbor, our brother, our sister, with a pure love that only comes from you.
And with this love, pour out your Spirit fresh and anew. On this Pentecost Sunday, revive and empower. Cause us to be emboldened and convicted to confront injustices head on with a posture of love. Let our neighborhoods, community, state, and country reflect the truth of the gospel. Help us to not conform to the ways of this world but be transformed to speak truth to power, to fight to end systemic racism and injustices, and trade in any watered-down religious ideals for a Spirit-filled, embodied way of living guided by you, seeking the restoration of basic human rights for all people and a new, better reality for our brothers and sisters and our country as a whole.
As we learn and journey through this together, help us to be vulnerable, transparent, empathetic, and gracious wrestling together and learning from one another. Help our missteps to draw us closer and our future to be better than our past. For the things that we do not understand, help us to not rush to judgement but instead seek to understand and be strong enough to admit that sometimes we just don’t get it. Enlighten us, open our hearts and ears to hear from you and guide us to individually and collectively work to make change.