I love being black. I love the camaraderie between us. I love that I can walk into a room and start quoting from "Martin" or start saying, "First giving honor to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ," and people in their best church mother impression will chime in, "who's the head of my life." I love us. But then there's this tension I sometimes feel between being a proud black woman and being a Christian.
Does being a black woman change the type of Christian I am or does being a Christian change the type of black woman I am?
It shouldn't be a question, but I've been faced with it more and more as things happen in our world that contributes to racial tensions.
We have a president that continues to stir up strife which reveals the hearts of many of our neighbors, but we're called to pray for him and love those who hate us. We have a judicial system that continues to oppress African-American brothers, but we're supposed to pledge allegiance to it. That's just one part of it. Our culture doesn't always get it right, either. We saw this divide recently as the family of Botham Jean forgave his killer. In a statement, Brandt Jean, Botham's younger brother, made a victim impact statement to the court and made a powerful gesture. "If you truly are sorry," he said. "I know I can speak for myself; I forgive you." Brandt and his family are Christians. He urged Amber Guyger to turn to Jesus and hugged her. I saw many reactions to this. I even saw a Christian influencer say, "Why are black people always expected to forgive? I wouldn't have." To which I answered, "Black people aren't, but Christians are." This is what it means to do it for the kingdom. We are some of the most influential people because we can show these displays of Christlikeness.
In our call to be influencers, I don't want our pride in being black to overshadow being like Christ. Yes, there is so much to be done in our world as corruption continues. Being Christ-like doesn't erase the pain of the very real wrongs we have to endure, but the story of Jesus reminds us that even the Cross covered His accusers.
Black History Month reminds me of the resiliency of our ancestors. It reminds me of how they overcame the impossible. As we continue to make history, I am encouraged by the excellence of our people in different sectors from business, pageants, science, and technology. When we couple these traits with who we are called to be as a Christians, we are unstoppable because not only are the ancestors cheering us on, but we have been approved by God to be entrusted with carrying the gospel and doing all the things He uniquely created us to do. Everything we do points back to the One who empowers us to do it. I'm learning that it's not either/or in being black or a Christian. It's both/and because we are sophisticated and complex individuals. Therefore, let all that we do be for the culture and in the name of Jesus.
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What inspires you the most in celebrating this Black History Month?
Writer: Terasha Burrell, BCI Co-Blog Director
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