Pardon my French, but I’m pissed off y’all. I am exactly ALL of the DONE right now. I am DONE with the violence. I am DONE with my black friends feeling marginalized and like the world needs to be reminded that they matter. I am DONE with law enforcement officers who have done nothing but protect and serve being gunned down because a somebody thought SOMEONE needed to pay for the sins, whether real or perceived (probably both) of their brethren. I’m DONE with the assertion everything is just fine in our country, racism doesn’t exist, and if we would all just stop talking about it it would go away. I am DONE with the notion that all cops are out to get people of color. I am DONE with the belief that support of #blacklivesmatter and support of the THOUSANDS of good, GOOD law enforcement officers across our great nation are mutually exclusive. And most of all, I am DONE with the way this is all tearing us apart, pitting us against one another, and causing even more division in our nation. EXACTLY. ALL. OF. THE. DONE.
I am done. I am angry. I am ready for a fight. It’s a big fight, a HUGE fight, and as with anything big and huge, I am convinced and convicted that I can’t do it without God. I don’t seem to be able to do much of anything of value on my own without Him and this dang sure isn’t any different. If I’m going to be of any value in this fight, I need to lean into Him and let Him guide me. As I’ve prayed about it this past week, this is the passage of scripture that has been the most convicting for me:
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 6:2 (NLT)
The conviction that I feel from that passage is the reminder that it’s not PEOPLE I am angry with. It’s not PEOPLE who are making me feel D-O-N-E right now- and let me tell you, that is hard to believe in light of some of the vitriol I have seen being spewed all over Facebook this week. I am FEELING pretty done with PEOPLE. But Paul reminds me in that passage that PEOPLE are not the problem- the problem is Satan and the forces of evil. See, Satan loves him some anger and fear. He gets that fear and anger and uses it to twist our hearts and minds into believing untruths. That anger and fear makes us believe bad things about people different from us. Makes us put up walls and block each other out and push each other away. Makes us racist, classist, sexist, and any other prejudicial beliefs we may hold. Seeing others as anything less than beloved children of God- that’s the devil’s work, you guys. It’s not about people, it’s about the enemy of the people’s souls.
And guess what, y’all? This is a COMMON enemy for all of us. All of us who are hurt and angry and scared right now, in the end we have a COMMON enemy. What if we united against that common enemy? What power do you think that would have if we all joined hands and joined forces to fight back the powers of darkness and hate, to thwart the schemes of the enemy? If we recognized the fear in our hearts for what it is and committed to taking it on and ridding ourselves and this world of it. Believers and nonbelievers alike- what if it was fear and hate that we waged war against, not each other?
“Nothing unites people like a common enemy.”
-Anonymous (aka a Google search gave no definitive source for this quote, if you happen to know who the original author is, please enlighten me)
I am convinced that that is the only way *I* am going to get anywhere- I can’t speak for all of you, but it is a pretty convincing idea to me. I need to put down the brick I’m holding (which for me has the words “DON’T YOU SEE HOW RACIST YOU ARE?!?!” written on it in the broad strokes of one of those giant Sharpies), hug the people I was ready to throw them at, and ask them to pray with me.
And we would pray for our hearts to be changed- including and especially my own. We cannot pray away the specks in the eyes of others with planks in our own eyes. It needs to START with asking God to change our very own hearts and THEN turn His attention to the hearts of the others. “ME FIRST!” is not generally a very flattering sentiment and as Christians we aren’t called to it very often, but I’d venture that this time we are. God, change ME first.
For those for whom Jesus is NOT your proverbial homeboy, you are just as important. Oh, how you are needed. Each and every life matters and every voice matters and just because you don’t claim Jesus does not mean you don’t matter to this. Throw ANYTHING you got at the darkness. Spread light, however your own unique vision shows you that it’s needed. You will shake the gates of hell in the way only you can and they won’t shake quite the same without you.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are IN-PERSON BATTLES that need to be fought, in courtrooms, on streetcorners, in our own living rooms, to shine a light on injustice and oppression and MAKE! IT! RIGHT! And there are PEOPLE on the other side of those battles, people who are just as convinced they are right as we are. But what if we remembered, through it all, that it’s not the people on the other side of the battle are not the problem? They are just like us, people dealing with hate and fear in their own ways. What if we reached out to them and hugged them or prayed for them or even SMILED at them? What do you think would happen?
So much would change. Fear would lessen. Defenses would come down- and only good can come from that. What if we took down our defenses and let our actions and our words invite others to do the same? It would change the climate, move the atmosphere, and winds of change could FINALLY blow through and shape us all.
So that’s it for me. I’m going to stop talking about it and start doing it. And these are my battle anthems. Because I need music almost as much as I need Jesus: