This week I challenge you.
This week I challenge you to allow words and others experiences to disrupt your perception of the world.
This week I challenge you to listen to the Word of God and ask, “What is this truly saying?”
This week I challenge you to stop listening to the media outlets, who at the end of the day, are businesses with viewer and ratings goals, who choose their topics based on that, and more times than not, tell you what they know you already want to hear. Instead, listen to the voices of people on the front lines, listen to the voices of people unlike yourself, listen to the voices of those whose experiences are so foreign to your own that it is uncomfortable.
This week I challenge you to not disengage because you don’t like what’s happening, which is a privilege that so many of our brothers and sisters do not have, but instead be more energized to seek change, justice, and peace.
This week I challenge you to reframe your own narrative. Ask yourself if you are more outraged at property damage than death, and if so, why? Ask what changing our sentence from “The death of George Floyd is terrible, but the senseless looting and rioting must stop,” to “The looting and rioting is terrible, but the senseless deaths of black men at the hands of police must stop,” does to refocus our efforts.
This week I challenge you to read Micah 6:6-8 and truly ask what God desires from us. Posing as Christians when it is beneficial to our goals? Acting the part when it’s convenient? Or, is it something deeper. What does it truly mean to do justice? To love kindness? To humbly walk in the way of the Lord?
This week I challenge you to see the story of Jesus turning over the tables in the Temple and ask, “Why is that revered and other stories of public disorder are reviled?”
This week I challenge you to see the systems and principalities that bring about such acts of desperation, destruction, and defiance and be as angry about those as you are about the acts themselves.
This week I challenge you to stand with the oppressed and say that George Floyd’s life mattered, that Breonna Taylor’s life mattered, that Ahmaud Arbery’s life mattered, that Tamir Rice’s life mattered, that Eric Garner’s life mattered, that Michael Brown’s life mattered, that Laquan McDonald’s life mattered, that Freddie Gray’s life mattered, that Alton Sterling’s life mattered, that Philando Castile’s life mattered, that Botham Jean’s life mattered. That in a society that so often shows through violence, unfair systems, biases, and racism, that they don’t matter, I challenge you to say and truly believe that Black Lives Matter, not because they are more important than other lives, but because for so long in the history of this country we have been told that they don’t. I challenge you to say this without fear of who is offended. When a friend is in pain and needs support, needs reassurance, you don’t tell them that everyone is great. You say, you are strong, you are special, you have worth. This is what BLM is, it is saying to Black and Brown people, “You have worth, you matter.”
And at the end of this week, I challenge you to see that all of these challenges were internal ones and I challenge you to go out into the world and seek true justice through kindness as you humbly walk in the way of the Lord.
These are my challenges to myself, and I hope that you might be challenged as well.