Recently, I have been trying my best to listen and to learn. The tragic murder of George Floyd is once again bringing to light the systematic oppression and deeply embedded racism that has been going on for centuries in this country. Even though this issue is not new one, it is easy for me to not pay attention when it is not directly affecting me. My privilege shields me from realizing the extent of the oppression faced everyday by those who look different from me. As a Christian, I am called to listen to those being oppressed, humbly acknowledge how I am participating in the problem, directly or indirectly, and submit to Christ’s work in me towards racial healing. Micah 6:8 says that the Lord requires me to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God.
To my black friends, I am so sorry for my ignorance. I am sorry that it took tragedies for my eyes to be opened. I know that I still don’t understand what it is like to be oppressed and that my privilege is continuing to allow me to benefit from systems that often cause others harm. I also know my faith calls me to take action, action that I haven’t always taken.
As I am becoming more aware of the racism in this country, my heart hurts. I get angry and confused, as we all should. Watching the rioters and seeing the police brutality that continues, causes me to question if justice and peace will ever come. The divisive arguments, insensitive words, and stubborn hearts that lack empathy, discourage my hope in justice and peace. I start to think the only way this world can be fixed is Jesus. And while that is true, I cannot use this hope as an excuse to not participate in seeking justice, no matter how intimidating it seems. Jesus is bringing the new creation to this earth, and as a Christian, I am called to participate in this renewal of all things.
By believing in the gospel, I am believing that Jesus came and died for my sins while recognizing this world is still so broken. I know that He is making all things new, and that I am called to be a good steward of this Earth, even though sin is still embedded in this world. This is the theological concept of the “already, but not yet” that I learned from Chaplain Huggins Theology of Vocation course (would recommend). The already but not yet refers to the biblical idea that we are already in the kingdom of God, however we have not yet seen it’s full glory. This is a helpful concept that I look to during this time because it points out two things:
When this world seems so broken and I feel like my hope is lost, I can remember that Jesus is making all things new.
Revelation 21:4 says that,
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
I can’t put my hope into this world, politics, people or even myself because Jesus is the only one who can fully restore.
I am called to participate in this renewal.
Jesus, through me, can already begin to bring healing to the sin and brokenness of this world until He returns to restore all things. The balance of the already but not yet concept gives me hope while calling me to action. I am still figuring out what this action looks like in my life. I don’t have all the answers and know that I am still so unaware of the injustice that others are facing. Even so, if this topic is one you have not previously engaged in, I encourage you to listen to this call that Scripture gives us and begin praying, begin educating yourself, and begin listening.
Mark 12:30-31 says to,
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Now is the time to love our brothers and sisters who are hurting and intentionally love them well. When one part of the body of Christ hurts, we should all hurt. Racism in America is not the only battle that Christians are called to fight, and pursuing justice in a world this broken is not an easy thing.
Do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heartZechariah 7:10
Know that you are going to mess up, know that you aren’t going to be able to fix everything, know that Jesus extends grace to you, and remember to extend that same grace to everyone around you. I pray that we all can trust in the hope that He is coming to wipe every tear and make all things news.
– As I write this, I know I have a long way to go and so much more to learn. Feel free to continue this conversation with me –
Michaela Miller is a rising junior PR communication major and religion minor from Naples, FL. She is the public relations assistant at the Chaplain's Office. Michaela is a former barista, loves all things water (soflo baby), plays for the ultimate frisbee team, and enjoys photography. After college, she hopes to pursue a career in the nonprofit communication field.