Why Faith Is the Answer To Racial Tension

images_Prayerhands32It is no question that our country is in turmoil when it comes to racial prejudice. The media is saturated with tragic stories surrounding the black community of the United States. However, through the unrest, struggling to gain a heavenly perspective I’ve realized a few things about how to respond to these issues both as an African-American and a follower of Jesus Christ.
When I reflect on the lives of the people who created the greatest impact on the abolishment of slavery, desegregation and civil rights, they all have one thing in common; faith in Christ. Harriet Tubman, abolitionist who rescued slaves through the Underground Railroad, was undoubtably a woman who’s trust was in God. In the 1886 biography The Moses of Her People, she says “I always tole God, ‘I’m gwine to hole stiddy on you, an’ you’ve got to see me through.’” She continues by explaining how she listened to God’s voice to direct her every move.
The list goes on. Take a close look at the lives of Martin Luther King Jr.,
Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth… They all relied on faith in Jesus to sustain them.
The early culture of the African-American community as a whole was rooted and grounded in Christian beliefs. From secret praise houses to negro spirituals, history records the connection between Christianity and the progression of a movement towards freedom and equality.
While I would love to conduct a history report, I’ll jump to the main point. Faith is the answer to confronting racial discrimination, and here’s why:
Self-Identity
The Bible repeatedly shows us though stories and verses of exhortation how a person of faith ought to see themselves in relationship to God rather than other people. We’ve all heard that comparison is the thief of joy. Perhaps a greater awareness of an identity in Christ would alter the mindset of people warring against social constructs. If I view myself as a black person, fighting against a system designed to hold me back, what is my response? I’m frustrated, depressed and hopeless. How could anyone be an instrument of change with that attitude? On the other hand, if I view myself as a child of God, beautifully and fearfully made, what is my response to the negative circumstances? I might recite James 1:2-4. I’m encouraged, hopeful and my heart is in the right position to hear God’s voice to comfort and lead me.
Emotions
“Be angry and do not sin” (Ephesians 4:26). Did the Bible just give me permission to be angry, yes. As a person, you have emotions, and that is okay. It is not okay to burn down the homes and business of innocent people. When Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man on the bus, she didn’t raise her voice and cause a riot. She peacefully held her ground to get her point across. This is the same demeanor that Jesus had leading to his death. He patiently endured, and later received His reward in heaven. Righteous anger does not kill, steal and destroy, the enemy does. Righteous anger knows that vengeance belongs to The Lord.
The Resolution
As an African-American, deeply hopeful for the current state of our nation, I have come to a few conclusions. The first, is that without the peace that passes understanding, I will never be able to have a heart soft enough for God to use me as a peacemaker. Destructive rioting and violent protests do not solve problems, they only support the notion that black people are insolent and unable to restrain themselves in the face of adversity. Faith is the key to unlocking a positive perspective on myself, my community and the world. As Dr. King said himself, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
 
 

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