I’ve often asked myself, why would God place a 28-year-old black man from Louisville, KY, as a pastor of a mostly white church? I think I’m finally starting to get an answer. If you’re a person of color, what I’m hearing might be empowering for you too.
As I scroll through my social media feeds and look at the current state of our world—I have to admit, I am not OK. And I ask God that question once again—why am I here? How am I supposed to respond?
As a Pastor, there’s pressure always to appear OK. To have it all together. To always have the answers. And as a black man, there’s additional pressure to keep everything “contained.” I’m forced to stay calm and calculated, or else situations can escalate beyond repair. Those pressures are real. To combat them, I try my best to always put my hope in Jesus above everything else—and yet I’m human.
As a human, I hurt. I grieve. I get angry. I get frustrated. I have doubts. I have fear. I LOVE Jesus so much, and yet I HATE this broken world.
When I look around, it seems clear the world that sees me as a weapon:
My voice is a weapon.
My stature is a weapon.
My intelligence is a weapon.
My passion is a weapon.
My skin color is a weapon.
If wielded carefully, a weapon can be a useful tool for comfort and protection. But unfortunately, I often feel like I’m a weapon with no ammo. Inoperable—forced to be silent.
If I speak up, I’ll be put in a box. If I speak up, I’ll be seen as being useful in only one way. If I speak up, I’ll be just like all the other weapons. What’s worse? Not using a weapon to protect yourself when you need it most, or that very weapon being accused of abusing its power?
Those questions have kept me silent in the past. Fear has convinced me it’s better to stay in the background. It’s better to be safe. It’s better not to rock the boat.
But I can’t bow down to the voice of fear. And I don’t want to break under the oppressive nature of the system. I only bow to one! JESUS.
The identity and value He gives me overcomes the identity and value society pressures me to accept. My rooted identity in Jesus FIRST moves me to speak up.
As a Christian, as a pastor, and especially as a black pastor that leads a predominantly white community—God has presented me with a unique and challenging opportunity. I believe He has given me a gift—a weapon to take that opportunity head-on.
A weapon to fight the racism, prejudice, and discrimination that is affecting our broken world. My voice, my life, who I am, how God has made me, and the sphere of influence I have—it’s all meant to be used for His purposes. As I read the Bible, I see His purposes are for justice—to restore the identity that every human carries the image of God. That everyone is worthy of life and freedom.
I’ve been letting this weapon collect dust on the shelf. God wants me to use it.
God, I hear you. I don’t know what that looks like, but I know you’re calling me to it. I’m ready to fully be part of the solution.
I don’t have a perfect plan. But I’m ready to take one step at a time. I’m going to use my voice without worrying if it doesn’t seem to “work” at first. My faith is not in my ability to do it on my own. My faith is in the God of justice.
When I feel afraid, I’ll give it to Him. When I feel angry, I’ll give it to Him. I’ll keep processing the emotions as they come, and taking another step as best I can. The only fear I’ll hold on to is the fear of not following Him—of not living into all He made me to be.
Racism does not define me. Only He does. I’m ready, God. Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. Start with me.
#breonnataylor #ahmaudarbery #georgefloyd #toomanytoname Rest easy friends…
What strikes you most about this article? Why?
Try to identify how God has positioned you at this moment. What your gifts and spheres of influence? Write down or share with a friend as many as you can.
How can what you have be used for good? List as many ideas as you can.
What barriers stand in the way of actually doing it? Fear, comparison, insecurity, passivity, and so many other strongholds will try to hold you back. List them, and imagine handing them to God. Ask Him to strengthen you, remove barriers, and fill you with the courage to live into the fullness of who He made you to be so you can be a part of making the world one that reflects Him.
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