Editor’s note: Amanda Cave, who participated in a panel discussion on millenials earlier this year at Narratives Church, is an advocate for racial reconciliation. In this guest article, she shares her insights on this weekend’s devastating racial violence in Charlottsville, Virginia.
By Amanda Cave
Over this past weekend, I watched our country’s continued issue with race erupt like lava as white supremacists marched in Charlottesville, Virginia chanting, “white lives matter” and “you will not replace us.” Despite the violence in Virginia—in which one woman lost her life, and many others were left injured—rallies continued in Seattle on Sunday.
As a herald of the gospel, my heart breaks for the racism I continue to see and have personally encountered in my lifetime. Throughout my Christian walk, I have listened to biblical teaching-after-teaching on abortion, sexuality, marriage, child rearing, politics, identity, discipleship, eternity, and practically every other topic EXCEPT racism.
It’s time friends.
It’s time to move beyond looking to famous pastoral leaders and Christian figures for insight on racial tensions and start looking to the pages of our Bibles. As warm partisans of the gospel we must equip ourselves to stand as healing agents of racial reconciliation.
Because we bear the name Christian, we must use our voices in our circles, both private and public, to boldly bring a gospel-based influence when this topic arises—and it will arise. There are moments when silence is wrong. Conversations that excuse racial insensitivity, or demean another race are moments in which we must speak up.
Through the gospel, we see a progressive change in our view of God, our view of self, and our view of others. Let us fix our eyes today on how the gospel fundamentally reshapes our view of all people.
Genesis 1:27 inspires our hearts in this as it expresses that we all have been made in God’s image. This means that every person possesses an immense amount of dignity and worth. Every skin shade, hair texture, language, gender, height, and physical design have been fearfully and wonderfully crafted by our God (Psalm 149:14).
To dishonor or demean any culture, tribe, or tongue is to demean the infinite beauty of God Himself. To condemn a race because its appearance differs from our own is to insinuate that God in His omniscience has made an error in His creation. Racism does not simply belittle a people group, it dehumanizes them and, in the process, it arrogantly assaults the very the wisdom of God in how He determined to form His creation.
This truth reigns not only in matters of ethnicity but also in matters of mental health. Individuals born with special needs or disabilities are beautiful people crafted in the knowledge and understanding of our God and ought not to be disregarded or mistreated for any reason.
Our view is next shaped by Romans 3:23, which expresses that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Every person is a sinner—period. This truth demolishes superiority, classism, and elitism in its totality. We are all in just as much need of God’s grace as the next person.
No matter how much money you make, which career you possess, titles you hold, or degrees you’ve achieved, Jesus still had to die for you. Whether you are a goodie-two-shoes or a rebel, whether you come from the slums or the upper echelons of society, redemption is found in Jesus alone. Because of this truth, we can by no means look at anyone with an air of dominance.
You are better than none; you are beneath none, sin equalizes us all. This axiom humbles us to the dust and at the same time lifts us to the clouds, for Christ offers salvation from our sin by grace through faith alone.
Next, our view is shaped by Matthew 28:19, which calls us to make disciples of all nations. We can, by no means fulfill the great commission without engaging in ethnic diversity. In our pursuit of being missional, we must remember that we are making disciples of Christ, not disciples of our ethnic preferences.
As we seek to impact other cultures with the gospel, we do so with a heart that respects and esteems their culture. We must not look at discipleship through the lens of Colonialism, which dangerously blurs the lines between teaching people to follow Christ and follow our own cultural ideologies.
Next, our view is shaped Galatians 6:2, which entreats us to bear one another’s burdens. Because racism is antithetical to Christian doctrine, we are all called to bear racial burdens. We cannot say that we, in all solemnity, are concerned about the eternal souls of men without also being distressed by the toxic injustices that plague that soul, or the racial oppression that violates that soul.
Sitting in silence during moments of racial tensions or escalating racial disputes by no means reflects the faith we possess. We must give people the space to express their hearts, validate their experiences, and acknowledge the systemic sin of racism that plagues our nation.
May we stand with resolve to both say and do that which expresses a gospel-driven bridge to heal hearts that have been wounded by racism. In this, may we also, both publicly and privately, stand against people and messages that promote white supremacy, racism and neo-Nazi ideologies as the Alt Right has done this weekend.
We are the fragrance of Christ and are known to be His disciples by the love that we possess for all. May your heart continually be awakened by the realities of God’s love for you, and may the experience of this be what compels you to show unconditional love to others. You are light in a dark place, let your light shine my dear friends, let it shine without fear or timidity. Recognize both the power of your words and the power of your silence. Your influence is so deeply needed now; you have an important role in racial reconciliation.
Like you, Amanda has a hunger for exploring Biblical truths while applying them in the natural rhythms of everyday life. She is a proud wife and mother of six and is deeply passionate about healing racial tensions as a warm partisan of the gospel. She believes we each possess a profound role as advocates of racial reconciliation and is committed to equipping hearts to lean into racial tensions with the healing truth of the gospel.
She is the founder of Furthermore Ministries which exists to help women discover Jesus further and enjoy Him more and speaks multiple times a month at Las Colinas Women’s Prison. To read more from Amanda follow the Furthermore Ministries page to which she writes daily, you can connect with her at @iamamandacave.