(Today’s guest post was written by my friend and fellow HelloMornings leadership team parter, Ayoka Billions. I’m very thankful for her words of wisdom and her willingness to share her thoughts with us on this very important topic!)
The racial tension that has gripped America in recent months has grieved my heart. And, I am not alone. The sixth chapter of Proverbs tells us:
16 These six things the Lord hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
17 A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
18 A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
19 A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren. (NKJV)
Websters.com defines pride as a high or inordinate (excessive) opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc. THIS is the heart of racism. Pride. Simple and ugly pride. It is what caused Satan to fall from heaven. It is causing good men and women to fall today.
WHY? Our deep insecurities (caused by sin) leave us forever searching for significance. Among billions of people alive today, why do I matter? If I can exalt myself above a stranger (I would never let my kids do that.) or a neighbor (I can’t believe they won’t keep their grass cut.) or a friend (I would never let my house get that dirty.), I can feel better about ME. If a collective WE can exalt ourselves above an entire group of people, we can feel better about WE. And using skin color to establish our groups makes this WE very easy to identify, right?
WHO does this happen to? It can happen to some of the best. On both sides: those causing hurt (either out of ignorance or pride) and those allowing the hurt to turn to bitterness. How in the world does that happen to otherwise “good” people? For help answering this, refer back to Proverbs: false witnesses who spread lies and those who love to cause arguments can be found everywhere. And the harm that they cause cannot be measured. Why does God take such a strong stand on these behaviors? Because He knows the deep, deep consequences for individuals, families, communities, and countries.
WHAT do we do now? The Word gives us the answer: If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14 ESV). God’s people come in every color. He is challenging us to refuse to watch our nation be destroyed by pride. He is calling us to action:
- Humble ourselves – Say it with me: I am not better. My culture is not better. My lifestyle is not better. (Yes, it is easier said than done sometimes!)
- Pray – Ask God to search your heart and identify those deep areas of pride. Ask for healing for hurts caused by those walking contrary to how Jesus lived.
- Seek His face – Truly ask the Lord what actions he would have you to take. He might surprise you.
- Turn from our wicked ways – Look for ways to serve those in groups where your natural inclination is to look through a prideful lens colored by dislike. Or distrust. Or disdain. Choose to turn the other cheek and forgive…up to seventy times seven.
Ayoka Billions is a Registered Nurse turned Casting Director (finding actors for commercials, TV, & movies). A true G.R.I.T (girl raised in the South) minus a few years in California to see the world and marry her soulmate, she loves running, reading, gardening, watching old movies, board games, and playing with her three sons. Her passion is to see women rise above daily struggles to walk in victory.