I had an entirely different post I wanted to share with you, one that was sweet and funny, but then a man was suffocated as he cried out for his mama. . .
I’m in tears as I write this. Some of you will be tempted to delete this post by that first line alone. I understand that, but will you please pull up a chair, draw close, and let’s talk together, friend to friend.
Racism has no place in the world, but it truly doesn’t have a place in the heart of a Jesus follower. Can we acknowledge that together?
Jesus himself broke all the cultural “norms” that divided people from one another. He flipped what was expected of a man who prayed for the dying and lame, and they were healed. He could have basked in the accolades or even embraced the words hurled at him by people who didn’t understand his mission. He did neither. He stayed on task by loving people. He taught about the Father’s heart. He listened for the cry of those who were blind, broken, and overlooked and made his way to them, and they walked away different because of it.
The problem with talking about things like racial injustice is we may do one of two things.
1) We disassociate; or we 2) justify.
We look at what happened and say, “I’d never do that,” ignoring that this has gone on for 400 years. We ignore that racial injustice doesn’t always look like a man dying, but a soul being chipped at day after day. We ignore that mamas have to tell their sons to act differently than their white friend, because there’s a high likelihood that one will be seen as a threat while another is not — regardless of their character.
We need to listen to those who are on the receiving end of racial injustice.
We can’t dismiss their stories because it doesn’t match our reality.
We disassociate and we justify.
A few weeks ago I sat in my living room and watched a video that stole my breath. It was of a young man being pursued down a street and blocked in. The guys in the truck with guns commanded him to stop. I can only imagine the terror of that moment. He was shot and killed in seconds. Why? They thought he was involved in local break-ins. They saw him go into a house under construction. Though the security video revealed that he didn’t take anything, but a drink of water from a sink.
One person, when I shared my heartbreak of Ahmaud’s death, said, “Suzie, you haven’t got all the facts. He went into a house under construction that wasn’t his.”
Which made me think of all the times I have walked into houses under construction in my own neighborhood and those nearby. It’s something I love to do. If the walls are open (like this house was) I walk through and upstairs and all around, imagining what this new home will look like. When the owner of the home went back through the security footage, they found several people had done the same. Just like me. Just like Ahmaud.
Only one was killed for it.
I’m pretty quiet publicly when it comes to politics and topics that divide.
It’s not that I am afraid. I am not.
It’s not that I don’t care, because I care deeply.
It’s because I feel a sense of responsibility with my words. While I talk with those closest to me, sharing publicly can be misconstrued and torn apart . . . or we can share so many words that they get lost.
Every time I’ve prayed about what to say, I’ve sensed the Lord challenging me.
Love people, Suzie.
Show them who I am.
Show them how I loved the world.
Let the change begin you.
But I sense such peace today as I share this, even awkwardly, because I think a conversation about this is doing all those things above.
It’s time for a new normal. It’s time to acknowledge that 400 years of racial injustice is 400 years too many. It’s time to listen to those who are so very tired of carrying the burden of prejudice. It’s time to widen our circle, go to churches that aren’t filled with people who look and sound just like us, and to reach out to a friend or potential friend and simply say, “I love you. I am with you. How can I love you better?”
Jesus’ normal was to love. It’s our call as well.
I recently shared a video on my FB page when Ahmaud was killed, sharing my grief and asking us to pray. I lost a chunk of followers that day and that’s okay. I’m not in ministry so that people will follow me. I’m in ministry so that we can follow Jesus together. Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts, sweet friend. I treasure that you read all the way to the end. I truly believe we can make a difference, not by fixing anything or anyone but by loving like Jesus.
This is a powerful conversation between Dr. James Hawkins and three friends about the shooting of Ahmaud, and how to wrestle with the conversations we need to have as believers. It was a live conversation on FB.
Today’s More Than Small Talk podcast
When we recorded today’s More Than Small Talk, “A New Normal,” the events I’m sharing in this post hadn’t happened yet. We record ahead of time. In this episode we talk about the new normals we want to take away after the pandemic, and I think that’s a good conversation to have as well. However, when I referenced angry conversations on social media, I had no idea that some truly honest conversations would be taking place and anger would be so justified.
I’d love for you to tune in to More Than Small Talk each week, joining Holley Gerth, Jennifer Watson, and myself as we talk about those things as friends, believers, and as your friend.
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Thank you, Suzie, for your words that have me thinking even more deeply. I have stopped watching the news for the most part…I believe I probably land in the dissociation category. My heart hurts, I do no understand…how do you begin?
Love you, friend.
I absolutely and completely agree with every word xx
Love this. Thank you for writing. This has been heartbreaking. Praying to love like Jesus always.
I commend you for brining this subject to light and wanting to share what the true meaning of loving Christ looks like. This world can be a very dark place. Sometimes I believe social media is the enemy at work. Keep sharing your thoughts. There are many of us needing to hear them.
Thank you so much for this post! I am so glad that you, specifically, trusted God’s urging to share your thoughts on this topic. My heart breaks, my stomach churns and my blood boils literally every time I see the video of George Floyd begging for someone to help him, and I just want to DO SOMETHING! I find myself asking God over and over again what can I do??!! What difference can I make all by myself??!! I feel beyond frustrated, and completely POWERLESS. But I know that “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Your post reminded me that I’m not living in MY power but in HIS!! Something as simple as earnestly listening, sincerely validating, and genuinely loving – as much as I can like JESUS loved – I can DO that!!! Thank you for the much-needed reminder!!
We have read this as a family and I am so grateful to you. May the Lord bless you. May we all stand together as brothers and sisters in Jesus family. He loves us all equally.
Good Morning. THANK YOU. I’ve read several of your books, and have followed you for years. I shared your cancer journey with a dear friend diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer at age 49. I listen to More Than Small Talk” each week and have shared it many times with others. But, never have I been more grateful for your words, for your authenticity, for your heart, and for your willingness to sit in the tension and have the kind of open dialogue that can definitely be very awkward, but is so very necessary.
I believe this statement from your post is a crucial starting point. “We can’t dismiss their stories because it doesn’t match our reality.” Yes to this! We invalidate the lived experiences of others when we attempt to view their stories through our own cultural lens. I am speaking to myself, first and foremost. I am praying to be willing to examine my own thoughts and beliefs and to fully acknowledge the times when I have been content to remain unaware, frankly, because as a middle- class white women, I could.
I don’t pretend to know the answers, but I do know they can’t be found in denial or complicit silence. As Followers of Christ, we have the very Spirit of God to guide us in love and in truth. I am praying in belief that He will stand in the gap of our awkwardness, fear, and hesitancy, so that we can have these conversations in a way that will honor Him while honoring the names and the lives of young men like Ahmaud Arbery.
Susie I totally agree with you! When I watched it on the news it just tore my heart apart! He was helpless…arms handcuffed behind his back…asking for mercy…… I just can’t believe that is where we are as a society…..where is the love, where is the compassion and the police officer who is to protect life is definitely NOT doing that….I pray prejudice will come to an end some day. We have to PRAY!!!
These events sadden me too. Just this morning my husband and I discussed it. I told him it saddens me as well as all the hatred associated with it. I am sure it saddens Jesus too. I pray that by loving others we can be part of God’s solution. Thank you for your message on such a difficult topic.
Thank you Suzie for speaking Truth … we must Love like Jesus!
You are RIGHT ON sister!!! My heart grieves over this horrible accident. It is totally uncalled for. Thank you for your words and your example.
Pam, I believe the hurt in this is that it wasn’t accidental. A life counts for so much. As hard as it is for us to grasp, evil exists. The only way that evil is confronted is by bringing it to the light. Thank you so much for showing up today. Thank you for coming around the table.
I’ve been praying that when I look at someone God will let me see a soul, his loving creation, instead of the color of their skin. I want that variable removed. It serves no place. Thank you for your direct words. They need to be spoken and heard. Praying for your ministry. ❤
thank you for sharing your words Suzie. I am so grieved over all of this. I can only imagine our good Father, His children, whom He loves so deeply, being mistreated and killed by His children. Lord – forgive us, heal us, restore us, help us, lead us, guide us and fill us with YOUR love to share to ALL YOUR children. Amen
100% amen. Thank you for listening to the Holy Spirit. I have felt the same things on my heart. We need a new and improved normal. ❤
Thank you Suzie for this! Indeed we need to love our neighbours as we love ourselves.
So beautifully said, Suzie.
Thank you for being obedient to His Voice, Suzie. You shared beautifully what is in my heart and the hearts of many others. Love, His love, is THE answer. Thanks for reminding us!
Beautifully written, God given words .. thank you for sharing.. we will continue to keep praying ….
Thank you for your honesty and for sharing the love of Jesus. God bless you and keep you.
Suzie, Your words capture the heart of so many of us. Thank you for being obedient to the leading of the Lord. LOVE conquers – when we open our hearts and minds to all of God’s children and treat each other like Jesus treated people. Thank you.
Suzie I agree with you 100%. We need to love everyone regardless of their color. Like the song we sang in Sunday School as children. Jesus loves the little children, red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world. Lord help me to Love like you do in Jesus Name I Pray.
This is perfect, as a Black Christian woman thank you so much. And thank you to the followers who do stay and read all the way through. That demonstrates hearts ready to follow Jesus.
Thank you, Erika.
Beautiful words from a beautiful heart. Thank you for voicing what so many of us feel right now. We need more leaders like you in this world.
I’m in learning mode, and I appreciate your passion mixed with peace, Suzie. I’m ready now more than ever to say, “I love you. I am with you. How can I love you better?” Thanks for sharing your perspective and your heart.
I agree with everything you said Suzie. Thank you for your faithfulness in speaking the truth. I’m no better than anyone. I’m a sinner saved by grace and he loved me in spite of who I was and still loves me even though I still fail him at times. In showing our love for Jesus, we have to love as Jesus loves. Jesus is our example to follow. Prejudice is no place for a Christ follower. Love you sis!
Thank you for being bold and obedient enough to share this. May God continue to perfect His work in you and the Ministry He has given you, Amen
Thank you. Amen.
Amen. God bless you. I want to tell you how much I admire your courage and strength in writing this. And yet at the same time I am heartbroken that anyone would NEED courage and strength to write this and that there would even be an occasion when she would feel the need to do so. Satan is running rampant in the world, and unfortunately some of his centuries-old lies are still deceiving even the godly.
Thank you for this post, Suzie. I keep asking God what can I do? The place I keep landing is, begin with repentance. I’m naive… I live a sheltered life. Perhaps, I fall into the disassociated category. “God, have I been blind? Have I been insensitive? Show me, Lord.” In the meantime, I pray. “Forgive us, Lord. Protect those who are suffering… on all sides of this issue. Protect those who experience discrimination—it’s so very wrong Lord. Protect those whose jobs call them into public service and are caught in the middle of the violence. Protect those on the receiving end of the violence… small business owners whose livelihood is still reeling from COVID. Help them recover Lord so they can take care of their families. Forgive us, God. Forgive me, God. Heal our hearts, heal our land as only You can. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and heart ❤️. I am here to listen to 😇🕊and 🙏🏽 With you for our brothers and sisters.
That was a horrible incident. I felt it.We need God’s heart for others. Suzie thank you for reminding me that I owe man nothing except LOVE.