But you

a-woman-that-cant-see

I remember when the conversation began years ago.  I felt frustrated, as if someone was telling me the world was round when I could clearly see that it was flat.  I wanted to see what they saw, I wanted to understand, but I didn’t.  I didn’t see that my whiteness gave me privileges that their blackness didn’t.  I couldn’t conceive that there could be this massive invisible thing that existed if I couldn’t see it.  I even felt somewhat attacked by people of color for being white and having these supposed privileges. Oh the irony.

Fast forward many years to today.  Thankfully, I took this issue to the Lord and asked him to show me…to show me what I couldn’t see on my own.  Not surprisingly, that’s when I began to hear them.  People of color that I know personally began speaking out about their own experiences.  They told of unfair, unkind and even cruel treatment by others who didn’t know anything about them except the color of their skin.  It began to open my eyes.  And it was hard. Hard to realize that this racism had been here all along… in the world I live in?!  Hard to realize the pain and death that has been unjustly handed out to those not born white.  Even harder to watch it persist.  I  wondered if I had unknowingly contributed to this dysfunction somewhere along the way.

But I was also grateful… and I continue to be grateful.  I am grateful to see it now, even if I only see in part.  I am grateful to now have the chance to teach my children about it, and be a voice for truth and love in the places God gives me to be his light.  I am grateful for those voices that kindly, but firmly spoke the truth about the differences in their lives and mine.  I am grateful they did not give up and retreat to silence.

In processing all of this, I wrote a song.  While the lyrics are at the bottom of this post, I wanted to explain them a little.  The first verse is about my non-white brothers and sisters who have had to endure the brokenness in a way I have not. They have been crying out for so long, through tears, hurt and anger, to try and tell me their story.  The second verse is my perception of some of the white community’s reaction.  We have refused to see it for so long.  Instead of opening our hearts and minds to the possibility it is true, we have retreated in fear, which is the opposite of love.  If our white voices have privileges that currently many non-white voices don’t, then it is our voices that must speak up, in harmony with our non-white brothers and sisters.  Instead our “mighty” voices often go strangely silent at a time when they are needed most.  The chorus speaks about the story in the gospel of John where Jesus stands up for a woman caught in sin.  Jesus could’ve not involved himself.  He could’ve left her to her punishment, as she was caught in the act, and therefore deserved punishment.  Jesus did neither of these.  Instead he put himself in between the stones and her.  That’s the same thing he did for me.  And you.  He could’ve left me in my sin, in my mess.  But he didn’t.  God is love, and love is what he did.  As a result, he could’ve easily been caught in the crossfire of some stones.  He probably lost some friends or followers that day.  He counted her as more valuable than any possible personal pain.  He stood up for the one that couldn’t stand up for herself.  He calls us to do the same.

God, you healed literal blindness when you were here on Earth.  We believe this and know that you can heal our blindness when it comes to racism in our country.  Father, we know that we can trust you because you are good and you love us deeper than we can imagine…so we can trust you when we ask you to open our eyesOpen our eyes to the truth of the world around us.  Open our eyes to our part in it.  Break through our pride and our idol of comfort…bring us to life-giving repentance.  We are all created in your image and we would all be hopeless and worthless without you.  Thank you for stepping between the “stones” of condemnation for me.  Thank you for sticking up for me when no one else would.  Make me like you Jesus.  Give me your eyes.  Give me your heart.   Amen.

Video of the original song, “But You”

“But You” lyrics

Broken-hearted, tears are falling all around

Feet are scrambling, hands are grasping…now

A people was, a people is, crying out

Tired voices, straining hard to make a sound

 

But you, you stepped between

All those stones and me

Yes you, made blind men see

Will you, do the same for these?

 

Eyes won’t see it, ears can’t hear it, can’t be real

News is mounting, fear is rising…here

A people was, a people is, passing blame

Mighty voices quiet now, they slowly fade…

 

But you, you stepped between

All those stones and me

Yes you, made blind men see

Will you, do the same for me?

 

So throw off my pride,

And take a good look inside

Don’t let me hide

In a comfortable life

 

(Written by Lindsey McGee 2020)

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