When I was in youth group, there was a song we’d sing frequently that had the line, “Break my heart for what breaks Yours.”
At the time, I remember thinking, “Starving kids in Africa. That’s what breaks God’s heart. I have Christianity figured out! Yay me!”
It wasn’t until years later that I realized that patting myself on the back for having things “figured out” was far too premature.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen a new movement against racism in the United States. It’s been uncomfortable for me, as a white woman, to have the mirror held up to my own life.
While I’ve never had blatantly obvious racist tendencies, I’ve had hateful thoughts. I’ve let bias drive my motivation. And perhaps my biggest sin of all has been my pride.
Just like that youth group kid in high school, I used to think that I had racism figured out. I said what I thought were the right things. I took pride in the fact that I “didn’t see color.”
I’ve realized over the past few years how dangerous that can be. My pride in “not seeing color” made me overlook the pain of racism that so many have experienced. My pride made me ignore the insensitive comments that friends made because, “Well, I didn’t say it. That’s on them.” My pride made me participate in what-about-ism.
What-about-ism is when we’re confronted with a real-life issue like racism, and we pivot to something that makes us more comfortable to talk about: “Well, what about (insert other cause here that we somehow think God cares about more)….”
So for the past few weeks, I’ve gone back to the dangerous prayer in that song: Break my heart for what breaks Yours. And it’s been uncomfortable. Because a broken heart is uncomfortable.
- In that discomfort, I’ve been praying more than I have in a long time: for the marginalized, for a weary world, and for humility in my own life.
- In that discomfort, I’ve learned to listen to the voices of those who are worn thin from experiences that I as a white person have never experienced and can never fully understand.
- In that discomfort, I’ve looked into what small ways I can participate in pushing for policy changes that will prevent any more loss of black lives.
I hope you join me in that discomfort. Because if we can learn to see the world around us through God’s eyes and let ourselves experience the heartbreak that comes from the evil of racism, we actually have the ability to change the world for the better.