Chains

Racism, the Gospel, and the Healing We Need

Jun 8, 2020

When Jesus launched his public ministry, he did so by quoting the words of Isaiah 61. Rather than talk about his greatness, he let everyone know who he came for:

The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. (Luke 4:18-19)

The poor.
The prisoners.
The blind.
The oppressed.

Make no mistake: you can not separate the Jesus you love and the Gospel you claim from the work of justice. God has always been on the side of the oppressed. And until you and I are as broken-hearted and moved to action over the oppressed as Jesus was, our Gospel will remain incomplete.

For more than a decade, I’ve used this space to write about faith and suffering. How can I not do the same now? My heart is heavy over all the racism and injustice that continues to suffocate our nation. Our brothers and sisters are suffering. Worse, it is a generations-old problem that we have minimized and ignored and shrugged off for too long. As a result, the racism wound has festered.

And I’ve realized, with great regret and lament: I am complicit. I have been blind, ignorant. And, as a result, I have neglected to actively care for the oppressed, those who have suffered as a result of racism.

Although I see hope of change, I’m grieved that it has taken me and too many others this long to see it for what it is: sin. Every human is the imago dei—made in the image of God. And when we disregard, defame, diminish, and dehumanize any of His own, we disregard, defame, diminish, and indignify HIM.

God, have mercy.

I’ll spare you any more of my words for the moment, as there are others whose voices and experiences need to be heard more than mine right now. But this you and I must accept:

Healing begins with humility. We must own our complicity, in whatever form, and confess it.

For those whose hearts remain tender to conviction, who are open to confession and growth, who desire to learn and understand and seek to love the way God himself loves, here are some resources that I have found helpful in my own journey of seeing and identifying my own role in racism and learning to become actively, unashamedly, courageously anti-racist:

There are so many intelligent, thoughtful, gospel-based resources available. This is only a fraction. But it’s a start. Please, please let us start. May we grow in compassion and confession and character and Christ-likeness together.

With love,

~Michele 

16 Comments

  1. Yvette Mason

    Thank you so much for taking a stand. I know this is a sacrifice. The Lord will reward you for taking a stand. I happen to be Eric Mason’s wife. So as I read your blog, I had a proud wife moment!! Lord, awaken the souls of those who don’t understand that this is sin. We are ALL CREATED in the image of God!! Thank you for this sister taking a stand!! In Jesus Name Amen!!

    Reply
    • Tara Aricha

      Thank you for taking on this issue and helping us examine our hearts. I pray we get to love like God and see one another as God sees people.

      Reply
      • Michele Cushatt

        Thanks, Tara. All change begins with self-examination guided by God’s presence in us, the Holy Spirit. May He do a powerful work in all of us!

        Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      Yvette, what a sweet grace to see you here. Thank you for your voice, your kindness to me, your courage, and your encouragement. A true gift. And I pray in agreement with you. Much love for you, sister. (and tell that man of yours THANK YOU for his great resource!).

      Reply
  2. Claudia Batke

    It is not a skin problem,it is a sin problem . Lord Jesus You died for the sins of the world. Help us to forgive one another and to love one another.

    Reply
  3. LOUISE PRUCHNICKI

    Thank you, Michele! I join you in this cry for heart searching and reform!!! I have seen so much hurt in my lifetime and it is way past time for change! When I was a young girl growing up in the middle of the South and the changes we began to see in the 60s, I hoped that the next generations would be different and this would finally end! Sadly, it has continued and is just as bad as ever, only less open! God open eyes and spur us to truly change…inside and out!

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      Sister, I see you. And I’m with you. As you prayed, may the Father of us all open our eyes and spur us on to true Christ-like transformation and change! Much love, Louise. So grateful for your life and witness.

      Reply
  4. Bernadette

    Thank You Michele
    God will use this for His Glory.

    Reply
  5. Susan

    Totally disagree.
    You’re not a racist, and it’s not about racism.
    What I see is evil rearing its ugly head–hatred, divisions, destruction, chaos–and we are being coerced to “take a knee” to a false narrative.
    I see many protests devolve into violence, looting, destruction, arson, assaults, murders. Many black owned businesses and neighborhoods destroyed.
    The politician pandering is sickening. As is the calls to defund the police, which would hurt the most poor and vulnerable.
    Yet we are to wring our hands and take the blame for the evil actions of thugs? I see this coming right out of the pit of hell.
    Let us pray for discernment, wisdom, and courage to do the right thing and stand up to B.S..

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      Hi there, Susan. Thank you for sharing your perspective. I appreciate your point of view, and I know it isn’t easy to show up and share it honestly, especially right now.

      Over the last several weeks, the one passage that God has brought to mind, again and again, is Philippians 2. Jesus knew NO sin. None. He was perfect, in every way. In thought, in motivation, in action. And yet He willingly, repeatedly, consistently took the posture of humility. If He could adopt such a posture, in spite of His absolute holiness, how can I not follow His lead?

      I know, only too well, my capacity for criticism, judgment, pride, envy, insecurity, and my inclination, even if unconscious, to do whatever I can to self-protect and self-promote and then to justify it. Goodness, my self-righteousness sneaks up on me in the most sinister ways. Even on my best days, my obedience toward and service of God can be more selfish than I care to admit.

      Rather than the church leader who said, “God, thank you that I’m not like one of them!”, I’d rather be the tax collector who fell to the ground and cried out, “Have mercy on me, God, a sinner” (Luke 18:9-13). Whether I participate in overtly racist activities or not, I have never loved the whole of God’s children as sacrificially and sincerely and unselfishly and unconditionally as He has. And if I want to truly be like Christ, the only position I must take is one of a servant.

      I wish you all the best, Sister, as you navigate such complicated and painful times. May our Father love and comfort and guide you in all things.

      Reply
      • Susan

        I appreciate your kind response. Examining ourselves is good advice in any season.

        For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
        I Cor. 11:31

        Reply
  6. emily

    Yes yes! I’m on pace with you! Though not everyone is on the same place of this journey, which is tough when they want to argue with you. But I have to keep going back to Jesus and his example. Your voice is good and important. Thanks for being vulnerable.

    Reply
  7. Brenda Jank

    Dear Susan, Sin reigns in all of us. No one is immune. Jesus asks us to navigate life with a humble heart – much more concerned about the log in our own eyes. Jesus’ harshest words were reserved for those who knew God, not those who did not. May I ask? Do you have many friends whose skin is darker than yours? How many meals have you shared? Homes visited? Prayers prayed hand in hand? I know many who live in communities where white is the norm. I know many live in communities where brown and black are the norm. Step number one as believers is to intentionally connect. Listen. Pray … even if it means a trip across town or a trip across the state. I have five children. Below is a note from my 25 year old son, Sam, who is a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army. “I’ve been debating what to say for the last few days but here’s want I want to put out there. I am a black male who was adopted. Both my parents are white and I grew up in a mainly white town. I have experienced more than my fair share of racism from the time I was little. I’ve also experienced my fair share of racial profiling from police. I’ve been handcuffed while running because “they wanted to know what I was doing in that area”. I’ve been asked out of my car at gun point and I’ve been ordered to the ground by gun point in front of my children because my truck looked “suspicious.” I have love for my brothers in blue. I’ve deployed and trained with ex police officers and I’m happy to call them my brothers. I also have experienced officers who don’t deserve to wear the badge. Yes there needs to be a change. Yes there are terrible injustices that happen everyday in America. Yes I fully support people letting their voices be heard (peacefully). Yes I pray my kids don’t have to go through the same things I have. But no I do not hate the police. There are good officers out there and I pray you guys hold your counterparts that do not do the right thing accountable. All lives matter. We are in this together. To my brothers in blue stay safe and please remember to not judge a book by its cover?” 3 of my 5 children are black. In our white community they were dearly loved by many, but also hideously hated by others simply because their skin was a different hue. I never realized the racism in our world, in my own white community until I “did life” with people of color. Blew me away. Broke my heart. As we journey forward may our hearts be broken by the things that break the heart of God.

    Reply
    • Susan

      In response to: Do you have many friends whose skin is darker than yours? How many meals have you shared? Homes visited? Prayers prayed hand in hand?

      Judgment goes both ways as you don’t know my story.

      I worked many years in Silicon Valley for a large aerospace company. I had the privilege of knowing so many from all over the world. Diverse races. Religions. Political views. Boat people. Those from oppressive communist countries. Every race you can imagine.

      So many were my friends. We worked together, ate together, and yes, got together in Bible study and prayed together. Still remain friends. Many still my friends on facebook.

      And I lived in neighborhoods where I was the minority.

      I am well aware of the troubles you faced. As a working woman, I had hired a house cleaner. Used her services for 11 years, She was white–married to an African American professional who worked in high tech. She had a Hispanic son from a previous marriage. We were friends with them. Did some sports together. And she shared the profiling and discrimination that they very inter-racial couple faced with their Hispanic kid.

      Just saying…

      Reply
  8. Doreen Eager

    Thank you Michele for being so honest with your feelings. I know it is difficult but necessary. I too have taken a look at where my heart is regarding people of color and other nationalities and have found myself in lament. I am in a small group at church studying Racial Healing. I have found it very insightful and know I have more work ahead. Thank you for sharing your gift of writing with the world.

    Reply

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