Do you consider yourself priviledged?
Last September, my granddaughter and I were discussing the political and racial climate of our country. Our chaotic world. The injustice toward blacks, the protests, and violent riots. I told her I understood the protests, but not the rioting and looting. She said I don’t understand because I am a privileged white woman. I was offended. She didn’t mean to offend me, but I shut down, hurt and feeling misunderstood. But I was without defense. She is right.
I grew up in a poor, hardworking, dysfunctional family, but a privileged one. Yes. Born to a mother who taught me to know Jesus. To be proud of who I am. To know I am a child of the living, loving sovereign God of all. But dare I ask? Why was I born in this time and place in history? Why here and why now?
God created me, made me as I am. Put me in the environment I’ve grown up in, with the personality I’ve developed, the economic conditions, and the city, state, country I was born into. He gave me the color of my skin, the bones that form my height. My very hairs on my head are from the Lord.
For some reason, I was born to this life. Not a Jew during holocaust, not a Russian on the cold plains during World War I. Not a pioneer, or an Indian. I didn’t work among the Hebrew slaves or cross the Red Sea with Moses. Nor was I born a Roman soldier bowing to Caesar. Why wasn’t I born an African in Soudan suffering the tumult of dictatorship or hiding from soldiers during a coup in a war-torn jungle in South America? I could have been born the daughter of a drug addict left to fend for myself on the streets, or an orphan in turn-of-the century England. But I was not.
No. My life is here and I am now.
I accept who my creator made me. A girl, not a boy, not struggling with my gender, race, or ethnicity. Trusting Jesus wholeheartedly, fills us with confidence in who we are. I found my identity in Christ.
White people have committed horrendous atrocities, some even in the name of God. (Forgive us Lord). I’m nearly seventy and just recently learned of the 1921Black Wall Street Massacre in Tulsa. The current rioting, and disrespect for police and the looting during a protest make sense to me now. It isn’t right, but I can begin to see the mindset behind the extreme response. “Your police didn’t respect our people or businesses and so we don’t respect yours.”
I know, two wrongs don’t make a right, but we must begin to see the pain and frustration of those who’s legacy is that of injustice.
The bond created by a history of people suffering together is strong. Years of being mistreated and held down has built a wall of distrust between black and white Americans. Though I didn’t personally hurt or mistreat any one, I feel shame and sadness.
I want to understand, to do better. I don’t judge a person based on their origin, or link them to stereotypes. Yet those who are different than me, judge me based on those very things.
None of us choose our lives. The decisions and choices our parents, teachers, siblings, friends, neighbors–the world make no doubt influence our lives. As years pass, we make our own decisions and choices that shape us. In America, it may be a struggle, but we can choose to overcome the economics we were born into, we can change the state we live in and the personality we convey.
But we cannot erase our history, good or bad.
We can’t change our skin color, as Michael Jackson tried to do. He wanted to look white, but inside he was still a black man. His identity didn’t match his essence. Deep inside is our essence. It’s who we really are, the one God sees. We need to stand proud of who we are.
Like my sweet black friend Dr. Sheri Dark, I believe the distinction of being a Christian should be what identifies me. It is what unifies us. OR should unify us. But even so-called Christians are at odds. How about you? The Bible says, “They will know you are Christians by your love.”
How are you known?
If you are a Christian, I ask, can we not at least stop the division among ourselves? We believe God created all equally, that Christ died for us all. Do our words and actions show it?
You and I may not understand why we were born with this body, into this family, to this generation, and in this nation, but God knows. I may be among a privileged, white middle class America, but I was born—you were born, as God ordained. Whatever His reasoning.
Like Esther, who knows, maybe we were born “for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14).
Remember, you are at the right place when you come to my website and read my blog. Come on back and share a slice of life with me.