It can be hard to come to terms with a subject that is just completely outside of your scope of understanding. To have someone think less of you for nothing more than the color of your skin, or your country of origin. To be treated as less than, to have lower expectations on your ability, or marginalized by how you look before someone even takes the time to get to know you.
Something else that is also hard is a willingness to call out sin for what it is, especially when it a sin you don’t want to admit is still present. Even more so when that sin is being committed by yourself or others you know, particularly when you know that they are a good person. From tasteless jokes to out right discrimination, we must come to terms with the fact that racism still exists in our country. Yes, there are areas in the country that are more progressive than others. There are people who have fought for civil rights in the past, and those who are still doing so today, because they believe in equality for all people.
Yet, there are still places where racism exists in very blatant ways. Many more where racism is far more subtle. If we call racism what it is, SIN… then we know exactly what we are supposed to do with that sin. Which is tackle it head on. It can be far easier to justify someone’s sin, by pointing out a persons checkered past or giving a good person a pass for an inappropriate joke. Jesus never gave sin a pass. Nor should we.
As our eyes become more open to the wounds that have not healed, we feel conviction over our thoughts and words. We make the effort to change ourselves, to influence those around us. For others, and for any number of reasons, their eyes are still covered by scales. They can not see the sin, and as leaders we have a responsibility to not allow sin to go unchecked.
What are some practical ways you can be apart of change in your life, Women’s Ministry, Church, and community? To confront sin, we must identify it and then actively work against it.
- Take the time to understand the feelings of others by choosing to be quiet and listen. Ask people who come from other cultures and ethnicities to share their experiences with you, and do not interject your opinions. Allow them to speak, listen to what is being said, and take time to reflect on that conversation before you respond with more questions.
- Read. There are plenty of books on the subject of racism and also on racial reconciliation. You can watch interviews online, panel discussions, and more. Google “Race and the Church” or “Racial Reconciliation and the Church” and you’ll find a trove of useful information. I recommend “UNITED” by Trillia Newbell.
- Challenge your Women’s Ministry team (or church leaders) to go through “The Bridge to Racial Unity” Bible Study as a team. You can access this through the ministry Be The Bridge. Enter this study with humbleness, willingness to listen, and as the leader of the ministry set the tone of respect. If you do not have any women of color serving on your ministry team, considering inviting a few willing women to go through this study with your team. Women who are willing to field your questions with grace and mercy.
- PRAY for your own life to become open to diversity, that the Lord will bring the women to add to your Women’s Ministry team, and convict the heart of your church leaders to create a space that is welcoming to all of God’s people (even when it means getting out of our comfort zones in how we worship) including bringing people of color onto staff positions.