taking the words of Jesus seriously

As I scrolled through Facebook after the latest rounds of injustices towards black people, I saw something on my feed that I didn’t in 2016. People wanting to do something about it. People wanting to be apart of the solution. 

From my many talks with white Christians, your silence at times isn’t because you don’t care, but you don’t know how to care. Or you’re afraid to say the wrong thing. Or being called racist. That is understandable. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Questions lead to clarity, and when you have clarity you have confidence—confidence to play your part. Here are some things to consider.

Awareness. Acknowledgment. Accountability. Action.

Awareness: Having knowledge or perception of a situation or fact. 

We must understand first that, Justice is not our (people of color) idea, but it is God’s idea. I say that because the scriptures speak heavily about God being “Just” meaning that God is morally right and fair at all times. God is morally perfect and desires moral perfection from everyone that God has created in their image.

“But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”-Ephesians 5:13-14

The word exposed means rebuke. To refute. Implying that there is an issue. What Paul is saying is that the Spirit helps us see things in our society that others don’t. We become socially conscious because of Jesus. Socially aware of the systemic impact around us. Eric Mason says, “Being woke has to do with seeing all the issues and being able to connect cultural, socio-economic, philosophical, historical, and ethical dots.”

In being aware, this means that you begin the first step towards being fully active in the fight. This means that you realize there is a problem—problems with police brutality against blacks through systemic and systematic racism in our country. And though you may not have ever personally been affected, or completely understand (which isn’t the goal), you are aware these injustices affect not just people, but image-bearers of God and attempts to tear down the unity of the body of Christ. That is awareness.

If we look to the scriptures and ask God to show us how to engage with others around us we will see the opportunities unfold to demonstrate the fairness and equity of God to the people around us! I believe our witness and reach would be strengthened and effective as we adopted and respond to the fact that, justice is not our idea, but it is God’s idea.

Action steps

  • Start with humility.  Ask the Holy Spirit to help you become more aware, sensitive, and active in the fight.
  • Listen. Listen well. Don’t interrupt. Don’t listen to argue. Listen to understand.
  • Diversify your friend groups. What do your friend groups look like?  Do you have different races in your friend groups?

Acknowledgment: Accept or admit the existence or truth of.

Eric Mason says that, “Our history has been hard for people of color and the church must be willing to acknowledge those hard truths if we are to move toward healing.”

When your black brothers and sisters speak of the pain that they have experienced, listen and acknowledge. Acknowledging sounds something like: ” I’m sorry, that this is your reality, I want to be in this fight with you.” In doing so, you have validated the pain and said we are on the same team. You’ve also shown love to your neighbor.

You don’t have to understand to love.

Whenever an unarmed black man or child is shot unjustly, reach out to your friends of color. We are usually grieving and hurting, because we saw ourselves when we saw Ahmad Arbery or George Floyd. Call them. Text them. Email them. Tell them you’re thinking of them. You’re praying for them. You love them. Share their post if they decide to speak. Lift up their voice. 

Silence is not acknowledgment.

We are to take an active role in the fairness and equity of our neighbors. That is our Christian and non-Christian neighbors. That is our Anglo, African American, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, European, Arabic, Christian, Muslim and other neighbors. We are to exercise the righteousness and justice of God all around us because that is how we usher in the Kingdom of God.

Action Steps

  • Love your neighbors. Have neighbors or friends that are minorities? Invite them over for dinner. Get to know them and build a relationship with them and learn about them and their culture. It may be uncomfortable. But necessary.
  • Diversify who you followShaun KingLatasha MorrisonAustin Channing Brown Eric Mason, are a few examples.
  • Share/comment on social media posts about racial injustices. White voices tend to carry more weight. Don’t be afraid to comment or share.

READ: I’ve Had Enough of #Solidarity

Accountability: Subject to the obligation to report, explain or justify something; responsible; answerable.

Where silence has been the main response from Christians in the past, we have the opportunity to change that.

Find someone or a few friends that you trust and love that is a person of color to hold you accountable. It doesn’t have to be a week to week check-in thing unless you want that. But I would encourage you to have someone in your life that is a minority with whom you can be completely vulnerable. Someone that won’t judge you or call you racist whenever you’re actually being curious and accidentally insensitive.

Ask them to point out the times that you may be saying insensitive things, ask them to help you understand their viewpoint on Kaepernick,  or what white privilege looks like. Ask them to share times that they’ve experienced racism. Ask questions.  Remember, clarity leads to confidence.

When you have been made aware, and you have acknowledged it, you are now accountable.

In high school my principal had one rule. Do right. That’s it.

Originally I hated it. Why? Because it made me aware of what was right/wrong, it made me acknowledge what was right/wrong, and it made me accountable for what was right/wrong. It was the worst rule for a freshman boy.

God shows us that we have a responsibility to do right. Also, we have a responsibility to bring people with us on the journey. When we’re called to love our neighbor, it is a very loving thing to help other people walk in love. 

As Christians, we are called to do right.

“If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”-James 1:17

Action Steps

  • Have conversations with your family and friends.
  • Sign a petition. Help hold those that are responsible accountable.

Action: Process of doing something, especially when dealing with a problem or difficulty.

Be active.

I had a student ask me who did I believe was the most influential person of the civil rights era. I responded with two words. “White people.”

That may be a bold statement, but I believe it.

Let’s be clear. MLK, Rosa, Thurgood, Malcolm all played huge parts. Not debatable.  But honestly, equally I would say that white people were just as important.

White people were the voice that helped other white people see and understand that things weren’t right. Things needed to change.

Without the voice of the white person that marched and spoke up breaking systemic racism, ideologies, and methodologies, the same group of black people would be simply perceived as angry black people. 

There are actions steps all around us. Don’t let this time ignorance be the reason you sat in silence.

Action Steps

  • Check on your friends of color. When injustices happen, reach out to your brothers and sisters of color. Text them, call them, DM them, reach out to them. This is a huge action point. We often feel alone and misunderstood and support in this way is life-giving.
  • Share/comment on social media posts about racial injustices. White voices tend to carry more weight. Don’t be afraid to comment or share.
  • Bring someone along with you. As you begin to learn, send that information to them, share your opinion and ask them theirs.
  • Show yourself grace.You will make mistakes. You will accidentally say racist things. You’ll think you’re spot on but you’ll be completely wrong. Show yourself grace. God forgives us, so that means you can forgive yourself too.

Lastly, we can take heart because Jesus has overcome the world. Jesus overcoming the world is not just significant because he defeated death, but because this means that his followers are victorious against the powers and principalities of injustices like white supremacy that harm our world!

Jesus knows that we will succeed, We will unify. We will reconcile. We will win because he has won. And through it all, we will give God the glory forever and ever, amen.

(Eric Mason, referenced above, is the author of Woke Church .)

About The Author


Hey! My name is Levi Yancy, and I’m married to my wife Madalyn. We live in San Antonio where I’m a youth Pastor. My hope for writing is to encourage you to embrace your skin, pursue your passions, and become an intentional follower of Jesus.

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