a life of privilege
A friend said to me, “Once you see it, you can’t unsee it.”
I didn’t know what she meant, until I knew what she meant.
I can’t unsee it.
And I had no idea.
I had no idea that mistreatment of black people did not end with the Civil Rights Act back in 1964.
I had no idea that black people still encountered racism on a continual basis.
I had no idea that black people had to be so fearful and so careful.
I had no idea that so often black people are told they are less and are treated like they are less.
I had no idea the reality black people are living in.
I admit. I am white and I am privileged.
Privilege is defined as a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group.
Before this week, I believed privilege was most related to your monetary status and the family, friends, and support group that was around you.
Because of that, I would have told you that my sister and I would experience the same amount of privilege in this world.
Now, I see that I am wrong.
You see, my sister is half black.
We were raised by the same parents. We were surrounded by the same family. We were given the same opportunities, yet, I’m not sure that matters as much as I thought it did.
Before this week, I never feared her being mistreated because of the color of her skin. I simply wasn’t willing to let that thought enter my mind. I allowed myself to believe that all people saw her the way I did- perfect, beautiful, and a true treasure gifted to this world.
Now, I’m not so sure everyone will see that.
If in our country privilege has to do with the color of your skin, then I have to fear for her.
I have to worry that my sister, my special girl, might encounter someone who chooses to see her color before they see her heart. I have to worry that someone might decide her story before she even gets to tell it. I have to worry that someone might silence her voice even though she has big things to say.
And I am just not okay with that.
I will not stand for any of it.
You see, this country has it all confused.
Privilege isn’t something earned. It isn’t something granted.
It doesn’t have to do with your monetary statues, your family history, your race, your gender, or how hard you try.
True privilege is offered. And it is offered to all.
“God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” Ephesians 1:5
This is privilege. Privilege is having the special right and opportunity to be adopted into God’s family. Privilege is experiencing immunity from the hell that awaits us at the end of our life.
This truth, the opportunity to be set free and saved for eternity, is the true equalizer.
Our Father saw EACH ONE OF US, every single one of His children, and desired that they might come to know Him and be saved.
He hoped that each one would choose to gain access to the privilege of what it looks like to be called a son and a daughter of the most high King.
This isn’t just offered to the wealthy. It isn’t just offered to the whites. It isn’t just offered to the people who live a good life. It is offered to everyone.
Every color. Every race. Every gender. Every personality. Every murderer. Every sinner. Every cheater. Every liar.
I have learned a lot in this last week, but I realize that I have so much further to go. I have only seen the tip of the iceberg.
As I told my sister the other day: I will never pretend to know what you are going through, but I will do everything in my power to learn and understand so that I can support you and stand with you when the time comes.
That time is now.
As I sat and listened to her share about the moment in class when someone called her “negro”, my heart broke.
I knew it had happened, but I could hear in her voice as she shared about it again, how much it truly hurt her.
There is no easy answer to all of this except that we are called to be Jesus to everyone and recognize that He chose us all.
Our Father tells us to pray for those who persecute us. To love our enemies.
He touched those that no one would come near. He ate with the people that were hated by all. He prayed for the people that murdered Him.
Here, on earth, many of my brothers and sisters have and are experiencing real and deep seated pain because of the color of their skin.
I am sorry. I wish I could fix it.
But, the hope I can offer you in this desperate time, is that a life of advantage, opportunity, and immunity is offered to YOU.
Your Father adopted you into His family. With that comes endless joy, peace, love, and grace. Your troubles will continue on Earth, but the hope of eternity spent with Him is awaiting you.
I can’t unsee it. And although it hurts, I am glad I now see it, because rather than live a privileged life that results in a naive life, I can choose to walk alongside all my brothers and sisters and love them in their pain.
It is easier to turn the other way and pretend this isn’t happening, but that’s just not how a family works.
WE ARE A FAMILY.
HE IS OUR GREAT EQUALIZER.
WE ARE ALL OFFERED A LIFE OF PRIVILEGE.
It doesn’t mean everything will be perfect here on Earth, but it does mean that we better love the way He loves while we are here.
Choose to offer grace. Choose to lavish in love. Choose to rest in the hope, joy, and peace that comes from the privilege you’ve been offered through a life lived with Him.