Are We Listening?
"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…" - James 1:19
On this Wednesday, here's my question for us - Are we listening?
Splashed across our television, tablet and cell phone screens are images and words from some gut-wrenching situations across this country, and we're hearing a lot of anger and frustration… but hearing isn't the same thing as listening.
When I'm at home and my son starts barking about his video game or my daughter starts singing a song from a show, I hear the noise… but my immediate reaction,
especially if I'm doing my own thing, is to quiet them down, send them to another room and get on with… my own thing.
Over the years, I've developed quite an ability to tune-out the voices I don't want to hear. If I'm watching a game (when was the last time that happened?), my kids might have to stand right in front of me to get my attention. I can block out just about anything. And don't get Bridgette started on all of the times that I've nodded and "uh-huh'd" my way through her sharing something important - hearing her, maybe, but certainly not listening.
As a white man, living in Canonsburg, PA, it's not that hard to turn off the tv, put down the social media, and tune-out what's going on right now. New York, Atlanta, Minneapolis, even Pittsburgh has never been so far way than it is right now. If I don't want to see it, if I don't want to hear it, I don't have to.
That… is called privilege.
It's a privilege that our brothers and sisters of color simply do not have.
And it's a privilege that we do not understand and will never accept, if we are unwilling to listen to the stories and the experiences of people of color.
As people who profess Jesus Christ as Lord, who seek to humbly walk Jesus' path, we need to follow Jesus' words, through the Apostle James - be quick to listen and slow to speak.
Turn off the news. Put down the facebook. Prayerfully and humbly seek out someone of color… and listen.
Welcoming people to Grow in Jesus,