Ephesians 2:11-22 – Racial Reconciliation

African-American professor Dr. George Yancy writes: “Don’t tell me about how many black friends you have. Don’t tell me that you are married to someone of color. Don’t tell me that you voted for Obama. Don’t tell me that I’m the racist. Don’t tell me that you don’t see color. Don’t tell me that I’m blaming whites for everything. To do so is to hide yet again. You may have never used the N-word in your life, you may hate the KKK, but that does not mean that you don’t harbor racism and benefit from racism. After all, you are part of a system that allows you to walk into stores where you are not followed, where you get to go for a bank loan and your skin does not count against you, where you don’t need to engage in “the talk” that black people and people of color must tell their children…As you reap comfort from being white, we suffer for being black and people of color.”

“…we suffer…”

That’s what he said. …we sufferWhenever these two words are uttered, the gospel demands open ears and open hearts. The gospel demands careful, humble, non-defensive listening to the history and wounds beneath the words.

Can I make a confession to you? Ten years ago, Dr. Yancy’s words would have bothered me. I might have even dismissed them as unfair and unreasonable. I would have assumed, wrongly, that his chief goal was to make white people feel guilty for being white.

But over time, and because of the courage and truthfulness of friends whose skin hue is different than mine, my perspective has changed. These days, I find myself more sympathetic toward, and not at all provoked by, words like the ones written by Dr. Yancy. Largely through friendship and a lot of personal mistakes along the way, I hope that I am growing in my understanding of the minority experience in the modern West.

The love, patience, and candor offered by people of color in my life has given me a new set of ears for Dr. Yancy’s outcry. When I listen to him, I do not see a chip on the shoulder, unfounded anger, guilt mongering or some sort of “reverse racism” happening. Rather, I see a man representing the minority voice, appropriately fatigued from feeling unseen, unheard, misunderstood, misjudged, and injured by a world that is set up for some races to thrive and others to languish.

Pause here. Go back and re-read the statement from Dr. Yancy. Whether his words make you say “Yes!” or make you feel upset, can you hear the pain in them? Are you listening carefully to the alienation and “otherness” that he feels?

Am I?

Scott Sauls

Read Ephesians 2:11-22.

How does Dr. Yancy’s words help us to consider the pain and alienation that can be felt by many minorities in our country and begin to empathize with them? How does the gospel in Ephesians 2 speak to solving this divide? How can you help to bring the gospel to bear on this issue in your community?

All We Sinners by David Crowder

Posted on: January 14, 2016 - 10:00PM

Comments are closed.