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The Whole Thing

Disclaimer:

This post is straight shooting from my heart as the mom of many with children who are black, Asian and bi-racial. Frankly speaking if this post offends you – good! I pray that God uses it to bring His holy conviction on anyone who needs to hear it. It’s time to be upfront about what God thinks about the whole prejudice thing!

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I just have to believe that most of our nation wanted to vomit, as we did, when we heard of a gathering of white supremacists and the subsequent murder of a young woman protesting the hatred of the supremacist group. This whole thing is completely unconscionable, revolting, disgusting and unbelievable!

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But we’ve seen it all firsthand and it doesn’t really shock us, like it might have once done.

It was 1992 when Dw and I, along with our three oldest children at the time, moved to take our first pastorate in the south. Having grown up in Buffalo, New York I had not been exposed to prejudice. Remember? My only doll I had while growing up was a little black baby!

In Buffalo, I regularly saw black people and other races where I went to school and worked, and it was all very normal.  So Dw and I were completely stunned by what we suddenly faced!

We had always heard that southerners were known as “gentile” and “filled with hospitality and open homes”, “polite” –  after all it was “the Bible belt”.

But boy oh boy, were we ever in for a shock! We had zero clue that prejudice was not only alive and well, but there was actually hatred for people of different races, including bi-racial friends.  We couldn’t believe it!! We shook our heads wondering how this could even be? And the horrible part was, this wasn’t the community we lived in, it was people in our church!

As we began pastoring we were also blindsided the first time we were called “Yankees”.   We wondered, didn’t the Civil War end almost 130+ years earlier? Being called Yankees by folks was not an endearing term either. Not at all.

In our second church, in North Carolina, as Dw met some of the men in our church for the first time, one man questioned Dw, “Did you hear the definition of a ‘good Yankee’?” Dw shook his head that he did not know what that definition might be.  The man proceeded, “A good Yankee is one heading north on I-95 pulling a U-Haul!” The men standing listening all laughed and laughed. Dw came home and we wondered what the heck we had gotten ourselves into.  What in the world was going on? Believe it or not, we were called “Yankees” at least once a week for the 12 years we pastored in the south.

We had a marquis outside our church in North Carolina and Dw put up the slogan:

PREJUDICE:  It’s not a SKIN-thing – it’s a SIN-thing!”  The next day a swastika was painted overtop of it and the news station came out and interviewed Dw for the nightly news.

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So friends, if there was prejudice toward us just because we had been born “Yankees” we couldn’t even begin to fathom the hatred expressed for our black and bi-racial friends.

Now truthfully, given the reality, I would rather any day be called a Yankee…because yes, we would love to believe that we would have lived fiercely loving our black and bi-racial friends in the south.  Like our hero Thomas Garrett!  Thomas Garrett is credited with helping more than 2,700 slaves escape to freedom in the forty years he was a Station Master on the Underground Railroad!! Thomas Garrett is a true hero to our family and I cannot wait to hug his neck in heaven one day.

Where we pastored, derogatory name-calling was normal to many. The “N” word was heard regularly, until people realized we were going to call them on it and then they were more cautious. Again, we were outraged, disgusted, disturbed and sickened. We wondered how it could be 1992 and there still be such hatred toward others because of their skin color or ethnicity?
When we called people on it, there was little repentance. Back then we heard excuses like, “Well, you know, it’s just how I was raised.”  That line of reasoning is another sinful attempt to excuse putrid sinful behavior!

At one point, while pastoring in Virginia, Dw set up a service at our church and asked all the black churches in our area to come. Many came! We worshipped together and then Dw apologized and tearfully and asked the blacks in attendance to forgive our church and us for the “sins of our fathers” against blacks. He then washed the feet of black pastors.

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We welcomed the black community to worship with us and became close friends with many. We were the only church that we knew of in our area that had whites and blacks worshipping together and we loved it!

Let me set the record straight: Treating anyone (and I mean anyone) different then you would treat yourself is wicked, evil, putrid and completely contrary to God’s heart! Period. There are zero exceptions.  

 Here’s a little test for you:

When you hear something about or see anyone of the following what comes to mind?

Blacks

Hispanics

Mexicans

Indians

Native Americans

Jews

Asians

Immigrants

Chinese

Syrians

 

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When you read those ethnicities do you cringe a little? Did you feel disgust? Did a favorite joke come to your thoughts?

Friends – it is TIME to repent! NOW! Don’t even wait a second!

Ask God to heal your sinful heart!

THEN it’s time to put love into action! DO something. I mean it. For instance, if you have disdain and unkind thoughts for refugees find a church that ministers to refugees and go minister with them. Don’t wait. Get rid of the sin! Intentionally put God’s love into action. Let God use you to serve and break your once-sinful heart for the things that break His! It will change your life. Serve them over and over.

Don’t say, “But Linny, you don’t know what so-n-so did to me.” Nope I don’t. But friends, white people can do all the same (and more) to you and me.   And frankly there is no excuse. None.   Zero. Nada.

Forgiveness is the only thing we are to have for one another. God forgave each of us for our wretched sin. No matter what anyone has done to us, we are to forgive. Period.

In fact here’s another challenge. Close your eyes and ask God to show you anything that doesn’t please Him. Do it. He desires that we love others like He loves us. God is love. He created every skin color, and every ethnicity and He sent His only son to die for every single one of us. As the song says, “The ground is level at the foot of the cross.”

We wonder why the world looks like it does? Guys, it’s cause the church looks like it does. The church has been cradling sin for generations. The time to repent is now. No exceptions.

It starts with you and me.

23 thoughts on “The Whole Thing

  1. Thanks for posting this. It’s so important! Having gone to college in the south (as a Yankee!) and being stationed in the south we saw first hand the separation and ugliness. Although at college I saw it from both sides and was shocked.
    It’s so funny that I read this now as just 30 min. ago my foster son asked me all confused why some people don’t like others because of their skin. He said, “I just don’t get it?!” I agreed with him, neither do I.
    I’m so grateful that our church has a great minestry to one of the nearby colleges. We have loads of college kids from all different backgrounds and ethnicities. It makes for a rich time of worship and fellowship.
    I continue to pray for our country.

    1. That “yankee” thing was just incredible. It was weekly at least for the entire 12 years there. Your foster won was right on. I just don’t get it. But the hatred runs deep and is perpetuated for generations. People just don’t understand how they are missing God’s heart completely when they don’t embrace all the cultures and ethnicities. Love you friend.

      1. Agreed. My roommates dad wouldn’t even talk to me the first time I visited her home because I was a Yankee.! Seriously. The next time I visited he was cleaning his shot gun and I asked him if that was a real gun because I had never seen one before. He said, “I thought all you Yankees had guns!” I was like NO!!! Funny how (like u said) those thoughts just get passed down. He soon learned that I was just like him. His daughter is still one of my best friends and we sometimes talk and now laugh about those days. And I thought northerners (which I am one!) were suppose to be aloof and unfriendly. Sheesh!

  2. Linny, you are absolutely right. There is no place for bigotry or prejudice ANYwhere in the body of Christ. It is SIN, pure and simple and must break the heart of our loving God. I was raised in Mississippi and I want to add that not everyone in the South is that way. My Mama and Daddy taught me that the N word was an ugly word and my little backside would’ve been tanned had I ever said that word. I remember when our school was de-segregated. I was in 5th grade and was so excited because I got to sit by Ethel (the only black child in my class) because our last names both started withT.
    Anyhoo, as you pointed out, hatred and bigotry are SIN no matter where we find them. God, please cleanse my heart of all wrong-thinking and help me to love as You love. Amen.
    P.S. I LOVE your precious pile of treasures!

    1. Thank you JennyJo. And my heart smiled about your enthusiasm for sitting next to Ethel. I would have been thrilled to sit on the other side of her. We three could have been BFFs. May God convict hearts. And thank you for loving our pile.

  3. Linny, I do not accept races. I am a proponent of Genesis. We all come from the same place. There are no such things as separate “races”. If there are, the first chapter of the Bible is a fallacy. Different ‘colors’ are easily explained by actual and fer-sure science. So, there are two kinds of people on our planet; Christians and the lost. The skin shades are just another part of the palette He uses for His pleasure, and ours. I am still gagged at people calling themselves Christians who not only tolerate, but embrace, their prejudices.

  4. Growing up in a military town ,families were from all over and we had every color of friend and never thought anything of it. My sister married a wonderful Hispanic man and our son just married a lovely Japanese bride. It is a privilege to be in such an encompassing family, learning thier cultures etc. We loose out so much when we only want to be around those “like-minded” or “liked skinned”.

  5. On target! I grew up on Long Island, one of the true melting pots , so when we moved to Florida and saw all around us it was shocking. It was from and against all colors, cultures ..white/black, black/white, black/Colombian, columbisn/puerto Rican, the list goes on. My children came home from school the first day and we’re truly afraid, and confused..this was 2004,! I will say I was glad to see that our home church while there did have diversity in our congregation .

    1. We were stunned, literally, when we saw first hand the prejudice. Buffalo was a melting pot as well and thankfully, Phoenix is too. May hearts be willing to be convicted and people willing to repent. The change must begin in the church.

  6. Hi Linny –
    Thank you for your post.
    We moved to Memphis in 2006 and were met with all of this. I had no idea I was a Yankee since I was from AZ – ya know?? But yep I heard it a lot.
    The racism blew our minds and made no sense what-so-ever. We could only live in certain neighborhoods. If you made friends with blacks, others would look down their nose at you. My daughter went to a private CHRISTIAN school attached to a large church. On back to school night, the head Pastor of the church mentioned how happy he was that the school was becoming so integrated.. It blew my mind – really we need to talk about this because shouldn’t it just be happening?? What? It was just weird because in my mind people are people. We are made in God’s imagine. We all look different – different skin tones, different hair tones and textures etc.. But we are all one under God!

  7. I spent my first 29 years in Canada. When I moved to Oklahoma, I was SHOCKED at the blatant racism that exists. While I won’t say racism doesn’t exist in Canada (it definitely does), it certainly was not to the extremes I have witnessed since moving here. Definitely a melting pot versus a mosaic. I’ve watched INS officers be extremely rude to a Mexican struggling with their English only to have them flip a switch and be sweet as pie to me (a white, English speaking Canadian).

    I was not raised that way nor are my children being raised to hate. We are all people and we’re all equal.

    Also, your kids are so beautiful!! Do they ever take a bad photo? :)

  8. Such a good post, I’m hurting for the discrimination your sweet Ruby faced here in SC 😭
    I’m am encouraged to be attending a new multi cultural, multi generational mission based church in Indian Land SC, Transformation. It’s a beautiful rainbow of colors congregation that I’m new too and loving. Praying for your sweet family and our divided country today. Hugs 💛

    1. Also shocked to be considered a yankee when I moved to SC in 1992. I thought we all lived in the same country, but found many live in the past 🙁

  9. I have been truly shocked and appalled when supposed Christian relatives have told me they wouldn’t move to my are because their are too many blacks! I was like… What the heck and let him have it only to be told they really aren’t as smart! I was done!!

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