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@HOME – 5/12

Talking To Your Children About Race


Obviously you’d have to be living on another planet if you are not aware of the name of Ahmaud Arbery, the 25 year old young man who was jogging unarmed, and was shot and killed in his own neighborhood outside Brunswick, Ga. in Glynn County. The travesty of this murder it seems is that it wasn’t until 10 weeks later because a video tape of the shooting that went viral, that 2 men, a father and his son, Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael were arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. According to a Glynn County Police report, Gregory McMichael later told officers that he thought Arbery looked like a person suspected in a series of recent break-ins in the neighborhood. They claimed they were trying to make a citizens arrest, but according to the “Rule of Law,” 2 things have to be present to do that. They must be an eye witness to the crime, and they must not be engaged in any conflict in their action, an obvious omission in both actions.


What has brought this travesty front and center are discussions the body of Christ cannot ignore if we are to be engaged in the culture in which we live. Those discussions must be met head on in our churches, in our community, and especially in our own families. The pink elephant in all of those rooms is really an issue we must be wise in commenting on, and drawing conclusions to, and that is the glaring issue of race. Was this murder, racially motivated? Was the delay in making the arrest motivated by the biases of the color of a mans skin? And if it is, shouldn’t the people of God, who are motivated by truth, and justice, and racial equity, stand up and say, “Enough is Enough? We do not know the answers to these questions, and only time and the law of justice, will give us those answers. And doesn’t God’s Word instruct us to, “weep with those who weep?” The intention of this blog is not to persuade, inform, or bias you with the details, and the complex issues of this crime. My unveiled heart is to challenge you to use the culture and the situations that confront us to give your family a biblical worldview, a theological Imago-Dei, and answer the questions your children have but are not able to articulate. Very few topics of conversation are as polarizing as religion, politics, and increasingly race and ethnicity. Most people feel they have to walk on eggshells when it comes to race, and others, feel it doesn’t really apply to them, so they apathetically avoid it completely. But not only should we as Christians be talking about race, but we should be the ones best equipped to be at the forefront of the conversation, and championing the challenge to be teaching our children about it as well. So why are we not having these conversations? Let me give you 3 reasons what we may not be teaching our children about race, and ethnicity.


They Won’t Understand


Our children pick up things things earlier than than we think. They will either learn from a godly perspective, or from others who have a secular mindset. Don’t wait. Children may not be ready to learn a full theology of the imago Dei, but they can understand that every human being is made in the image of God. They may not totally grasp that one day in heaven praise will sound forth from every tongue and nation, and tribe, but they can look at pictures of different people and celebrate the differences. Jesus died for everyone. They may not understand what you understand, but surely they can celebrate that in the family of God, they have a very colorful family of brothers and sisters in Christ.


We Don’t Discuss Politics in Our Family And Race Is A Political Issue.


Race is not a political issue, it’s a spiritual issue. We are all made in the image of God. It’s a gospel issue. Paul tells us in Ephesians 2, “that we were once far from Christ, but we have been brought near by the blood of Christ. He has broken down the wall of separation and reconciled us to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.” ( Eph.2: 13-16) Lets rescue the topic from the culture and politics, and be leading voices in racial unity and what the Gospel has given to all of us.


We Want Our Children To Be Color-Blind


It’s a term you hear often. Well-meaning parents desire this to be true about their child. “ I’m “color blind,” they say. “ I don’t see color.” We don’t want our children to see “color.” Beside this not being realistic, I must add it also is not necessary. One of the reasons to recognize the precious colors of Gods creation in human beings is that God doesn’t erase distinctions in scripture. God has “reconciled us to Himself, and has reconciled us to each other.” Heaven will be filled with all races, and won’t that be a great day we will all enjoy? So instead of avoiding the subject, let’s teach our children the beauty of race, diversity, and ethnicity. Let’s teach them the biblical worldview of creation, and harmony, and help them to long for the day that all of us are looking forward to. The day when every tribe, every tongue, every nation will be gathered together to celebrate what our Sovereign Lord did for us on the cross. And if we witness injustice, or prejudice, use that to teach the truth from Gods Word, that those attitudes should never accepted in this world, or in scripture. Go ahead, start that conversation today. They are more aware of what’s happening in this world than you think. Use it to talk about the value of life, and the heated issues of injustice. Talk about race and our responsibilities to love, treat people with kindness and love, regardless of whether they are White, Black, Latin, Indian, or Asian. Spend time as a family praying for the Arbery family. They have suffered a horrendous loss. It matters not the color of ones skin. All of us bleed red, and all of our tears are wet and salty. “Weep with those who weep.” Stand up against bigotry, unfairness, and injustice when you see it, or know others who may be experiencing it. Love like Jesus. Live like Jesus. Our churches and communities need it. Our state needs it. Our Country needs it. But most of all our Families need it. As Ken Hamm taught us, we should change the words to “Jesus Loves The Little Children.” We need not sing… “Red and Yellow, Black and White, They Are Precious in His Sight,” but sing.. “ Brown and Brown and Brown and Brown, Brown and Brown and Brown and Brown…” because Luke tells us why… “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation” ( Acts 17: 26 ) We are all of the same blood. We have more to celebrate than criticize. Start that conversation today. I just did.


-Pastor Ken Whitten