I’m a white 42-year-old-woman married to a retired police officer, and my boss is a black male in his twenties. I love my husband, and I am very proud of his 20 years of service as a police officer. I respect and appreciate my boss as an incredible leader, mentor, and friend. And I feel the world is asking me to choose between my cop husband and my black boss, and I don’t want to choose. I just want to be freaking Switzerland.
I know God isn’t calling me to be neutral, but if I’m called not to be neutral, does that mean I have to pick a side? Blue Lives or Black Lives? And it finally hit me, maybe that’s the point.
Maybe God is calling me not to choose.
Maybe God is calling me to be a person who will stand side by side with my friends of color, understanding, and believing the racial injustices that are happening and a system that needs to change. Maybe God is calling me to stand by my husband and his colleagues—understanding and believing there are still good cops who are doing a great job.
I have been really wrestling with God on what it means to not pick a side, especially when the world we live in is screaming at me to pick. But that’s the keyword—the world is asking me to choose, not God. Being able to define the difference between the two is astronomical. James 4:4 states, “Therefore anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”
Holy crap, those are some intense words from God. What the heck does it mean to be an enemy of God, and what does it have to do with me? Luckily, God gives us some words of wisdom on what it means to not be a friend of the world. In fact, He tells us the same thing seven times in the Bible. Seriously, seven times.
James 4:6 also states, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
We can’t stand in the tension of both sides and not humble ourselves. We have to look to God for guidance. Humbling myself means I have to listen to stories of friends who don’t look like me and not only listen but lower my defenses enough to believe their stories are true.
I remember the first time I was tested in humbling myself in this. I talked to my boss, and he told me about his encounters with police officers, and it wasn’t good. At that moment, I felt physically ill. I badly wanted to say a big fat, “BUT….”
I wanted to interrupt with my stories of cops doing good work, but I heard God say humble yourself. So I did. I listened to his stories, and I believed him. Let me say that again, I, Kacie Bryant, had to listen and listen without interrupting—without saying the dreaded, “but.” As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t because that dreaded word negates what someone is trying to say so I can try to prove I’m right. And sometimes being right is all wrong. Sometimes I just need to be present.
Not only did that make the first conversation more productive, now it’s easier for the conversation to continue both ways. It’s opened the doors for my boss and me to have open and honest discussions on what it means to be a cop’s wife and the fear of my husband not coming home, which brought on times where my husband and my boss were able to talk too. It doesn’t mean we have to agree on everything. It just means we agree on being kind and honest without any judgment.
What I have realized is when I choose to stand in the tension between two sides, and it can’t be done without God. Trying to solve a worldly problem with worldly solutions will never work. One of the worldly solutions I have seen more and more is the constant fighting on social media. Someone posts something extreme one side or another and let the comment fighting begin.
My gosh, it is sad how fast things spiral out of control. There are times where someone close to me has posted something that really hurt me. But instead of commenting on their post, I did something radical. I picked up the phone and had a conversation. I listened to their point of view, and they listened to mine without anger or contempt, but because we were willing to humble ourselves and listen.
I don’t know about you, but I want to do better. I don’t want to live in constant anxiety, because that’s what I live in when the world tells me to pick. I want to do better for my husband. I want to do better for my boss. I want to do better for God.
So I choose the side of God. I choose to be willing to listen. I choose to speak not out of hate but out of respect and empathy. I choose to be willing to admit my truths aren’t always right and recognize when my perspective is incomplete. I don’t know what it’s like to be a person of color in this world. Heck, I don’t know what it’s like to be a cop.
But I do know what it means to stand up for truth, to stand up for justice, to stand up for reconciliation, to stand up for God. So I will continue to stand in the tension of both sides, committing to not choose a side, and instead, I’ll try to unify.
What strikes you most about Kacie’s article? Why?
Which side do you fall on in this conversation? Have you ever listened to someone on the other side? Like really listened? Why or why not?
What you see depends on where you sit. Think of someone you know that has a different perspective on this topic than you. Schedule a time to talk to them about it. Go into the conversation with the pressure off—intending only to listen and not to be heard. Ask God for the humility to do it well, and see what happens.
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