In the week since the Charleston shooting I’ve been trying to find words. Honestly, for the last several years, as black lives have been taken and communities shattered I’ve been trying to find the words. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had plenty to say to friends and family around me.
I’ve been angry, frustrated, sad…and angry all over again. I’ve looked at my son, my beautiful brown son, and I’ve been scared of what future many of my own family members think he deserves.
But I’ve struggled with what to say publicly. As someone who frequently pours my heart out in blog posts, I’ve been puzzled by my inability to write about this.
I’ve been inspired, humbled and amazed at the response of the victims of Charleston. As my white friends have argued about a flag, our black brothers and sisters have been showing us Jesus. As the tragedy was still fresh, wounds not healed, grief immense, they have offered forgiveness. They have shown love. They have extended grace.
And I haven’t known what to say. And I think I know why.
White friend, relatives, countrymen: it’s time that we sit down, shut up and listen.
That’s it: Shut up and listen! Starting now.
Our black brothers and sisters have earned the right to speak. [We should have been listening better long before now. ]
So, instead of defending ourselves, distancing ourselves from the hateful shooter, debating the meaning behind the confederate flag, excusing away the actions of police officers or posting ridiculous facebook memes that try to suggest that our country isn’t nearly as racist as this hateful, racist act has suggested…
Shut up and listen.
The time will come for us to speak. And, it’s not that you don’t play a role in moving forward. You do. I do. We do.
But right now, it’s not our turn. If we are to be a part of necessary change, we’ve got to take time to understand the suffering of the African American community. We’ve got to take time to understand what it’s like to be a person of color in America. We’ve got to stop putting words in their mouths and taking away their voice.
We’ve got to stop.
We’ve got to listen.
Jesus is on display right now. And if we can be quiet, look around and pay attention, we just might see what He’s up to.