Category: Justice

Hope for the Oppressed

This is Day 10 of 31 Days of Hope-filled Living. To start over with Day 1, click here.

God remembers those in need. Though they might feel disappointed today, their hopes will one day come to reality.

– Psalm 9:18

Yahweh, you have heard the desires of the humble and seen their hopes. You will hear their cries and encourage their hearts. GOD, you’ve taken notice of these small, hopeful people. Even when they cry out in need, you’ll hear them and answer.

– Psalm 10:17

There is hope for the oppressed and needy

The mere idea that the Maker of the Stars would listen to the cries of the needy is humbling. Twice in one verse, the Psalmist repeats that God hears the desires and hopes and needy cries, and that He will answer. This was a big deal in Bible times, just as it is today. 

The Hebrew word for “oppressed” in Psalm 10:17 is the word anav, which means poor, afflicted, humble, meek. In the Bible, we see God labeling these people together with the oppressed: widows, orphans, poor & needy, heavy-burdened, strangers/foreigners/immigrants, prisoners, sick/afflicted, weak, destitute/homeless, and victims of violence. God saw, heard, and listened to the cries of these people. He was not unmoved. 


Today we see the same kinds of oppression and the people who suffer it all around us. God hears their cries and He is moved to compassion with action for justice. We see it in every ally who stands up to defend the oppressed, bring justice to the defenseless, and provide generously for the needy. We see God working through people who care for one another. He is not unmoved. 

But it does get hard sometimes, doesn’t it? Hopelessness sets in as we see an endless stream of oppression in every direction, if we open our eyes and hearts. Ecclesiastes 7:7 says, “Surely oppression drives the wise into madness,” and who among us isn’t mad from the oppression piled high as the sky, like bodies piled next to redwoods. 

I read recently that the proliferation of men who abuse women has made an entire society numb to this violence. We don’t even see the oppression. We don’t hear the cries of the oppressed.


“For women and men involved in the battered women’s or rape crisis movements, especially those who deal daily with victims, convincing people—especially men—of the urgency of the situation may appear to belabor the obvious. Doesn’t everyone already realize how big a problem this is? Don’t they know there are survivors in their own families? Well, not necessarily. A lot of people cannot face the ugly reality—or don’t want to. It is important to remember that coming to terms with the extent of the problem can be disorienting, and profoundly disruptive. As a man, once you are aware of the degree to which women suffer from gender violence and all forms of sexism, you can’t simply go about your business and pretend everything is fine. You have to do something about it, or else risk losing your self-respect. This is where denial comes in. Denial is a tried and true method of coping with disruptive, traumatic, or discomforting information; it is much less painful than facing the truth. Not to mention that many Americans are so desensitized by repeated exposure to violence of all kinds—in their own lives, on the news, and in the popular culture—that denial isn’t even necessary.”

– Jackson Katz in The Macho Paradox

And so maybe we’ve felt the madness as wise people who are surrounded by oppression in a culture of fools who deny and are desensitized to it. Maybe it’s gotten painfully maddening to look at the women around us who are brutalized, or the homeless that line the streets in tents, or the orphans on the streets longing for someone to accept them for who they’ve chosen to be. Maybe we’ve lost some hope that God even hears our own cries of suffering above the cacophony of the oppressed.  

Let me be the one to remind you today, Beloved Friend—God is here and He is listening. This verse is true, I know it. I see Him rescuing the orphan today as my husband shows me the photos and tells me to pick one to sponsor. I hear him comforting the cries of the battered sister as she is set free from her abuser. I see Him providing freedom to the sex slave through organizations and restoration homes around the world. I hear Him sending ambassadors like me into prisons to give encouragement and love to men and women behind bars. And I feel Him listening to my prayers and answering them over and over on behalf of the oppressed. 

I am not forgotten. You are not forgotten. She is not forgotten. Remember that God sent a messenger through space and time to tell you about His love, and because you are reading these words, He reminds you to hold onto hope today. To hold onto the One who holds you, for He hears you. 


Hope How-to: I know it’s hard to keep your faith when oppression prevails all around you. It gets tempting to believe that maybe God doesn’t really care. The times when I face this most is when I’m disengaged from participating in fighting for justice for the oppressed, when I’ve failed to help or give or speak. The truth is, God works most often THROUGH His kids and His Church and through people who care enough to take action. Why? I think it’s because He wants us to have the joy of bringing justice with Him. He wants to share the happiness that comes with generosity. Today, reflect on one or more things you can do to cooperate with God on behalf of serving the oppressed in your community. Can you donate time or money to a battered women’s shelter? Can you sponsor rescue for sex slaves? Can you sponsor food, clothing, and schooling for the poor? And the next time you’re feeling like you’re the oppressed one, remember how much God cared for the ones He allowed you to help. He loves you. He hears you. He listens to your cries. 

Prayer:  Oh, God. We are overwhelmed, and even sometimes numb to the oppression we witness and experience. I pray for my reader, Lord, and ask that you would speak to her heart in Your unfailing lovingkindness. Remind her that You are not only the Maker of the Stars, but a God who listens and cares. You hear her cries and you send compassion and help through her to others and through others to her. Remind us all of the hope we have in You and in Your justice. Even if we don’t see Justice now, we know there will come a day for it. Help us to trust You and recognize your work in our world. Show us how to not only pray for Your will on earth as it is in Heaven, but to cooperate with You in the ways we can make it come to be. Amen

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Wishing you joy and hope from my Nest,

Robyn

When Hope Gets Lost

Day 5 of 31 Days of Hope-filled Living. To start over with Day 1, click here.

One day Jesus taught the apostles to keep praying and never stop or lose hope.

-Luke 18:1

Sometimes our hope is failing and the only way to get through is to pray through.

The Greek word at the end of this verse is ekkakeó, which means to “to be negatively influenced with the outcome of experiencing inner weariness”, to faint, grow weary, or to lose heart. The single word encompasses both English words: lose hope. Essentially, Jesus thought it was important to teach His followers the importance of persistent prayer and enduring hope. One was inextricably linked to the other, and He ended his admonition-parable with this question:

“But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on earth who have faith?”

– Luke 18:8

The implication was that not everyone who could have put their trusting hope in Jesus would actually hold onto it until the End, when He would return. 

The parable He told in between those two phrases holds a key for all of us who follow Jesus: don’t give up, even when you don’t get what you want; keep praying in faith and hopefulness. The way He explained this concept was to tell a story about an unfair judge and a persistent widow. Because the woman kept going back to the judge for justice over and over again, he finally granted it to her, just to get her to stop coming around. And His point was that God is infinitely more kind and fair, and yet He might NOT grant everything we hope for right away, so keep asking. Don’t give up. Don’t lose hope. Not that you’re bothering Him or He’s being unfair, but sometimes the prayer that gets answered is the one prayed for the long haul. 

This woman did two things that Jesus wanted His disciples to emulate: 

1. She believed in justice and wasn’t ashamed to ask for it, despite what she knew of the judge.

2. She didn’t lose hope that one day her request would be granted, even though it took longer than she wished. 

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words — And never stops at all.”

-Emily Dickinson

I once read a story about a young woman named Maya from the brothels of India’s Red Light District whose mother had been trafficked since the age of eleven. Maya’s own mother was forced to turn her daughter into the madam also when she came of age, and Maya had been abused and raped as a child in the hostel where her mother sent her to live, thinking it would be safer than the brothel. Maya was trafficked for sex until she could take no more and escaped from her captors and abusers. When she sought refuge in a Christian safe house, she was hopeless and numb. She didn’t picture a bright future; she was merely trying to get away from her traumatic past. But when compassion from the volunteers at the home began to warm her heart, hope awakened. She wondered if she’d always feel so terrible, and the volunteer replied, “You will always remember, but in time it won’t hurt as much. Keep giving your pain to Jesus and ask Him to help you forgive those who have hurt you.” Maya wasn’t convinced, but she didn’t lose the spark of hope that was struck. After many weeks and months in the safe home, Maya began to smile and her dead eyes came to life. She found hope in scriptures like Ezekiel 36:25-27 and Isaiah 54:4, and took healing and joy from the love and hope she had found in Jesus Christ.

Maybe like Maya or like the widow who had to keep pleading for justice, you’ve found yourself waiting a very long time and now you’re feeling weary. Maybe it feels like the hope that was once a flame is a dying and cold ember and you’re losing heart, numb and hopeless. Hang on, Dear Reader, you’re not alone. I’ve been there too, and it does feel miserable to have to keep asking without any sign that your dream will come to pass. I believe Jesus would say this to you: I know it’s hard, but don’t stop asking. Don’t give up, because the answer is on the way. Hang on just a little longer and stay faithful to what you know is the Father’s love.  

Hope How-to: If you’re feeling weary and hopeless today, let me give you some courage to ask once more again in prayer to the Father for help. If you’ve felt weary before, and you saw God come through in the eleventh hour, or even in a way that you didn’t expect but that was wonderful anyway, ponder on that time in your life and how you felt. Have a heart to heart with Jesus or another close friend about those emotions and circumstances. Risk the vulnerability required to connect with someone about that weariness on the verge of losing heart, of losing hope. Don’t hold it in, Dear One. You’re not meant to face it alone. 

Prayer: Sweet Jesus, I ask you on behalf of my reader to give her the strength to keep praying, keep asking, and keep hoping, even when it feels like she’s about to lose heart. We know that You taught Your friends to pray through every difficult and unfair situation, and keep asking without losing hope. Jesus, You know what it feels like to endure hardship while keeping your eyes on hope. Give my reader the guidance and ability to follow your example. Thank you for always hearing our persistent prayers and for answering them in Your perfect timing. Amen. 

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Thanks for joining me in the Nest today,

Robyn

Quotes from MLK Jr. to Honor his Legacy

*Disclaimer: opinions are my own and not necessarily reflective of my husband, nor the church he leads.

Can we talk about progress? I think progress is equated to gradual movement toward success. 

And progress is not a bad word. Progress is progressive. Change in a positive direction for the whole of an organization, institution, or nation is progressive. Can we adopt a more literal definition of that word again, please? Can we agree to stop demonizing it and others who wear its badge? 

And on that note, let us discuss one of our nation’s great progress-oriented heroes, whose birthday we honor today, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Last year, before the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breona Taylor, and George Floyd happened within a span of three months (Feb 23-May 25), MKL Jr. day came and went in January and I may have posted a quote graphic with a short quip. However, this year, that somehow seems insufficient. (No judging if that’s what you did this year. Let’s all celebrate in the way we see fit, and follow our convictions to their appropriate actions.) In the aftermath of those murders of black people by white police officers (a retired police detective, in the case of Ahmaud Arbery), and since that time, racial tension has grown, and many of us have seen the need for an inner reflection and reckoning of our own implicit biases. 

This tension is a stretching, a making-of-room for the growth we need to accomplish. It hurts like hell, like all growing pains do, and yet we dare not try to stop it. Without the stretching, we would stay small. Small-minded, small-faithed, small-hearted.

To welcome the necessary stretching, and to honor MLK Jr., I hope you’ll join me in reflecting on a larger number of his words this year, with the purpose of real progress toward justice, equality, and ultimately, godly love.

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Robyn’s Take: Many Americans take pride in an idea called “rugged individualism,” which in its best form looks like personal freedom and in its worst looks like selfish greed. If this individualism is a spectrum of concern, MLK Jr. was encouraging us all to lean away from the greedy end, for the sake of everyone. It’s a Christ-like ideal I believe most people embrace from copious faith or ideological backgrounds.

“Make America the America that it ought to be.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Robyn’s Take: America hasn’t yet reached her original ideal of “liberty and justice for all,” but that is no reason to stop trying. It will take our continued efforts, and may never be fully realized. Which reminds me of the process of sanctification, which is just a fancy church word that means progress toward holiness. America once set out a holy goal of equality for every person, and though we have not yet experienced that reality, it is no reason to quit now.

“Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, ‘Love your enemies.’ It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. Just keep being friendly to that person. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Robyn’s Take: Many of us have seen hatred at work recently, and our human inclination, like a jerk of the knee, is to react with hate. King urges the more noble, more difficult, more measured response of love instead, as Jesus once did. Hate can never transform or redeem or restore. But love can do all of those things. And so we continue to choose love. Not because it is deserved. A thousand times, no. But rather, because it is what progress toward success (read, peace and justice) requires.

“The God whom we worship is not a weak and incompetent God. He is able to beat back gigantic waves of opposition and to bring low prodigious mountains of evil. The ringing testimony of the Christian faith is that God is able.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Robyn’s Take: Unfortunately, a false christ was represented in the seat of our capitol on January 6. Of all the harrowing images and sounds I’ve seen come across my screen about that day, the ones depicting the representation and affiliation of Jesus Christ, my very own God, to the lies and acts of violence and desecration have broken me worst. I must declare to those who will listen that I do not serve the same Jesus that was represented there. My Jesus could have taken over the Roman government when He came the first time, but He chose not to, and I do not believe He would have marched in an insurrection against this American government either. I know He would not have condoned threats or violence or looting either, just as I do not believe he would have condoned violence or looting in the name of racial equality over the summer or in the 1960’s. For all of these reasons, MLK Jr. advocated for nonviolence throughout his lifetime, but he did explain the mentality of rioting at times. More on that in a bit. I have much more to say on Jesus Christ and his representatives, but suffice it to say here that I do not believe that followers of Christ ought to use violence or threats as means of progress. God is able to help us achieve it in methods otherwise, and He is able to help us curb all of our temptations toward violent means.

“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But… the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?’”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Robyn’s Take: MLK Jr., as Jesus did, encouraged us to consider the needs and desires and health and wellbeing of others, not only in addition to ourselves, but ABOVE ourselves. This concept runs in the face of selfishness, greed, and even that rugged individualism we covered before. The injured man’s welfare and fate took precedence over the good Samaritan’s, whereas personal welfare was of utmost importance in the case of the priest and the temple assistant who passed by on the other side without a second thought. How often do I resemble the temple assistant and how often do I resemble the good Samaritan? Too often the former, I’m afraid, yet Christlike progress would mean that the longer I live, the more often I ought to consider the needs of others MORE than I consider my own. And if we all who claim to follow Jesus (imagine that Love Army!) were to do that as well, this nation, even this world would be a very different place.

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Robyn’s Take: I believe King ascribed to free speech and free choice for the individual. It is not the part of religion or government to force people to be a certain way or enforce progress. Like it or not, humans are gonna be human. The empowerment lies in the hope that we might increasingly choose light instead of darkness. Another wise black man once spoke of the audacity of that hope.

“Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Robyn’s Take: God is not opposed to science, and faith is not opposed to facts. God created our universe with its laws of science. Science helps us find measurable, quantifiable, and qualifiable truth, and faith helps us know how to and muster the strength to respond morally to that truth.

“We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Robyn’s Take: Ripe to do right. Here, in America, many of us believe that right matters. And so we behave accordingly. We vote accordingly. We legislate accordingly, and sometimes we protest accordingly. Regardless of your cause of protest, King believed that righteous dissent meant nonviolence, and it behooves us all to follow his advice. Though many have felt that justice has been too long in its arrival, it’s never too late to do the right thing. It’s also never too early, and so we need not wait on others or for the law to catch up to us. We can behave and advocate for equality and justice and fairness and for one another’s welfare today. And while we’re on the topic of right, let me be clear that “right” does not equal radical-ized. If your mama raised you right, that unequivocally means that she did NOT raise you alt-right, racist, bigotted, or to be a bully.

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Robyn’s Take: I can admit that this past year was a wake-up call to the unseen, implicit bias, and in some cases actual racism I’d held for my first 40 years. My intentions at color-blindness had become numb blindness to oppression and struggle I’d never chosen to learn or see, and in part I blame my education. I’ve learned history and undisputed facts in 2020 that I should have known. Things like massacres in Tulsa and red-lining that still affect black and brown folks today. And had I been taught these things, I do not believe it would have provided a fuel for racial fire, but water for racial unity, whether it had been in my 9th grade classroom or my college one. I truly wish I’d asked more questions, researched more history, and known more truth. It would have been the true development of a greater character within.

“If any earthly institution or custom conflicts with God’s will, it is your Christian duty to oppose it. You must never allow the transitory, evanescent demands of man-made institutions to take precedence over the eternal demands of the Almighty God.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Robyn’s Take: I’ve been thinking a lot about politics for the past two years. Something awoke in my brain to interest me, and now it’s become a lot of my thoughts. And while I’m glad for the fresh awareness, I’m also not glad about the state of politics in America right now. We are more divided than we’ve been since the Civil War, and maybe even more so. I wonder had one side had been geographically separated if a war would have broken out before this. But none of this usurps my priority of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ and living it out in my daily life. I am a citizen of heaven first, and live by the law of selflessness and love before I live by the freedoms the US Constitution grants me, be that free speech, the right to bear arms, or the right to dissent. Titus 3:1-2 says it this way: “Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good. They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone.” In the past when certain leaders have lost elections that I would have preferred, I was admonished to submit to the government and honor God. I believe the same applies when those I prefer win. Those of us who call ourselves followers of Christ are warned in the Bible to honor our government and not to rebel against our leaders, no matter how harsh or how vehemently we disagree with their ideologies.

“A lie cannot live.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Robyn’s Take: Truth always prevails, even when those who fail to protect it are loudest in their falsehood declarations. God prevails. He reveals truth, and he is bigger than social media platforms or mainstream media. We can count on Him to speak truth to our spirits, even when He is only found in the whispers. [1 Kings 19:11-13]

A few quotes specifically about riots and wars …

“The past is prophetic in that it asserts loudly that wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“There comes a time when people get tired of being pushed out of the glittering sunlight of life’s July and left standing amid the piercing chill of an alpine November.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“The limitation of riots, moral questions aside, is that they cannot win and their participants know it. Hence, rioting is not revolutionary but reactionary because it invites defeat. It involves an emotional catharsis, but it must be followed by a sense of futility.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“A riot is the language of the unheard.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“The more there are riots, the more repressive action will take place, and the more we face the danger of a right-wing takeover and eventually a fascist society.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Robyn’s Take: These are haunting quotes, especially after what we have seen since the end of May, 2020. We’ve had riots where Dr. King would have called for protests, and we see how it crumbles us to turn to violence and destruction. It causes a reaction from the other side that ends up in revenge and one-upping. It’s not pretty and becomes anything but productive. And yet, I can’t help but see King’s nuanced approach. He knew that when people feel the frustration of being long ignored, it’s only a matter of time that frustration becomes physically manifest. It happened in 1968. It happened in 1992. And it’s happening as we speak. So what is the remedy for this? I can only imagine it’s listening to one another and bearing one another’s burdens. Looking into each other’s eyes past the rage and under the hate and seeing the validity of emotion buried so deep. Whether frustration over votes not counted or sons coldly murdered, our voices have been silenced, and unity will come with justice and listening. Can we truly hear one another’s plight and find a selfless way to unite? If King believed it was possible, then so do I.

“It is not enough to say we must not wage war. It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Robyn’s Take: The time of sacrifice is not over, but merely beginning. Do we love peace with our sisters and brothers who call America home, and are we willing to sacrifice our own comfort or privilege to see it come to pass? There is a dream that was once America. Make us believe it again. (A spin on a quote from the movie Gladiator)

“Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Robyn’s Take: King had many more quotes I’d love to honor today, but for now I’ll finish with this one. These past weeks and months have unearthed emotions I didn’t know I was capable of. It feels as close to hate as I remember ever feeling. Watching people get murdered will do that to a person, you know. And so will seeing an attack on truth and democracy. But there is something higher, when we’re pulled down toward hatred. There is the love of the Father, who reminds us that we are citizens of an eternal nation called Heaven, where the law is Love and brothers and sisters put each other above themselves. And because our final passport will hail from that place, we practice that law while we’re here.

Blessings,

Robyn

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Dear White America

Dear White America –

Sit down and listen for a minute before you use that entitled, privileged, holier-than-thou voice of yours.  

Truth be told, everyone knows you have an opinion, they already know what it is (Karen), and frankly, no one asked you to give it. Not on social media. Not on the news. Not even in church. 

I’m embarrassed of my whiteness, if I’m honest. And your tonedeaf words are making me turn an even deeper shade of red. So please. Just be quiet. 

Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words.

Job 2:13 (NLT)

Dear White America – 

You are being asked to listen. Listen to the outcries of those long oppressed. To those who have been shamed for peaceful protest and are now asking to be heard in their outrage. 

Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.

Proverbs 10:19

Dear White America – 

You were once enraged to violence as well, when a privileged, calloused king denied your rights to live freely in peace. You started a revolution. You fought. You killed. You stood up for the right to breathe. You are now being asked to lay aside your hypocrisy and listen. So listen up. 

Listen without reply, except that of compassion and justice. Listen without argument, blame, or whaddabout-ism. 

We (white people) are not forced to live in subhuman conditions. We are privileged, though we rarely feel it. Privilege is blinded by ignorance. That you can pass a policeman on the road or sidewalk without a panic attack is privilege. 

That you don’t have to teach your children how to be overly, extra, abundantly compliant, cautious, and non-threatening because one day when they are 12 or 17 or 24 or 44 they will not be assumed as a threat and cut down just because of the color of their skin, is privilege.

That you and your children will not be followed around in a store by a clerk or a guard who assumes you will steal something is a privilege. 

That you most likely own a house which you qualified to borrow money for by your whiteness, and can bequeath it to your children is a privilege. 

That you live in a place, went to school, and probably hold a job based on your merit and people never assume that you got it because of “affirmative action” is a privilege. 

That you can purchase and carry a gun as a right, even protesting with it in front of a capital building without being killed on sight for “being a threat” is a privilege.

That you can earn a fair wage and not wonder if it is being offered as less than others because of the color of your skin is privilege. 

That you can post whatever you want without being accused of “whining about slavery that happened a long time ago and has nothing to do with us” is a privilege. 

That you can forget about all of this turmoil next week because looking in the mirror won’t remind you of the horror is a privilege. 

That you can live without a daily, lifelong feeling of powerlessness is a privilege. 

“I think that we’ve got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard. And, what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the economic plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity. And so in a real sense our nation’s summers of riots are caused by our nation’s winters of delay. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again. Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.”

– MLK Jr

Dear White America – 

You have the potential to make this 1000 times worse by saying “I get it, but …” Whatever you do, do NOT complete that sentence. You do not get it. And there is no but. For once, your voice is the one that needs to be silenced. 

You’ve turned the other way as if this is not only acceptable, but normal. 

And worse, you’ve defended the actions of the oppressors, saying, “maybe they deserved it” or “the cop thought his life was in danger” when everyone can see from the video it was not. 

Yes, you can agree that this is wrong now, but realize that this is not new. It’s just now being filmed, as Mr. Smith said. And your sadness now, after your recent defensiveness and “all lives matter” posts, is falling on deaf ears. It’s too little. It’s too late. And it’s too disingenuous. 

For once. Please, just listen. 

Listen to the mamas who have lost their babies. Listen to the outrage at injustice. Listen to the anger, yes even the rage about having to live a life of powerlessness and fear. Listen to the grief without adding your two cents. Listen to the pain long enough to acknowledge that it matters. 

If and when you do speak again in the future, let it be with the voice of an ally. With the voice of someone who has sat in the ashes with the broken and now understands the pain. It’s clear that we still don’t get it, and that we need more understanding before we speak up.

Dear White America. Until then, Just listen. 

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;

    ensure justice for those being crushed.

Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,

    and see that they get justice.

– Proverbs 31:8-9