Don’t Be Silent

If you’ll let me, I’d like a few minutes of your time to talk about George Floyd, what his death represents and what we, as Christians, should do in response. If you haven’t been watching the news recently, George was an unarmed black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes as he told them “I can’t breathe”.

Let me preempt all that I’m about to say with a couple of points of ignorance that need to share:

The first is I’m from the UK, and this murder happened in the US. My perspective of US culture is limited, and I can only scratch the surface of how the general populace think and speak, particularly when it comes to the issue of race. What I do know is that the US was born out of the slave trade, it’s a nation that went to war with itself over slavery, and it’s clearly a nation where the issue of race runs deep.

Secondly, I’m not black.

I can’t possibly know what it is to be a person of colour. What discriminations I might continuously push up against, and what insults might be thrown my way day after day. I can never know what it is to walk in George Floyd’s shoes.

However, I’m a Christian, in fact, I am a leader in the Church. If I don’t speak out against evil when it rears it’s ugly, divisive head then some might argue that I’m as guilty as the man that crushed George’s neck for 8 long minutes. If I don’t speak out, I’m as much to blame as those who took the words of my Bible and twisted those words into an excuse to enslave my fellow human beings for hundreds of years.

George’s death represents a stain on humanity. This blood coloured stain isn’t washing out despite many, many years of trying. Evil has a foothold in our fallen nature, and it doesn’t take much for the monstrous shadow of racism to solidify into acts of violence and death.

As a white, middle-class man, living in the UK, I recognise where I’ve benefits over others simply because of the colour of my skin and the convenient timing of my birth. I see that, and I desire things to be different. In the words of Martin Luther King, I long to see a society where we don’t judge one another by the colour of our skin but, yes, by the content of our character. But we’ll never see that dream fulfilled if we don’t first accept our prejudices, no matter how deep they lie, and call them out wherever they rise to the surface.

As Christians, we need to speak out against evil in all it’s forms, racism is actually just one way in which the enemy seeks to divide and destroy. Christ didn’t suffer His own violent death so that we would continue to harm one another, to see the differences in one another as something to be looked at with contempt and disdain. He died so that we could live, to see a world where there is no rich or poor, male or female, slave or free because of our union with Him – in other words, there’s no distinction between us – we acknowledge that, whether we’re black or white, or any ethnicity, we’re all made in the image of God and are of equal value and of worth.

My Christian brothers and sisters, you can breathe, you’ve breath in your lungs to speak out against all forms of racism and prejudice. Don’t waste that breath, don’t be silent.

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