BY SARAH CARVER, GRACE ATTENDER
I am angry. Over the past couple of years, this anger has only grown. The hate and racism that has become so loud in the world, has drawn me into a fight that I did not realize was a calling until recently. I cannot abide racism. I do not understand it. There is something that burns inside of me that can only be placed there by God, because what I am called to is ugly and awful and painful. But I cannot escape the fact that my overriding passion, the thing I desire above all else is to use the Holy Spirit inside of me to fight against the sin of racism. I want to lead all Christ-followers into this battle with me, helping them to realize that the Light of Jesus Christ can and will prevail against the darkness.
This past Sunday, Dave Rod preached on the Broken Place of Hatred and what he said resonated so deeply with me I could barely sit still. Sitting in the gymnasium of the Jordan YMCA with the rest of the Grace Church North Indy campus, I couldn’t stop myself from shouting out at the screen as Dave preached. He touched on the feelings, beliefs, and actions of those called to heal this Broken Place. Not only could I see myself in all he said, but others told me afterwards that they knew they were hearing my calling being described. How powerful it is to have God reaffirm in you the calling He has placed on your life.
I have been passionate about racism my whole life, but like I said, over the past couple years I have become on fire, my heart absolutely burning over the hate as it has started to come out from the shadows. Dave talked about anger. I live in this anger. It never leaves me. God though, is showing me how to use this anger through the Fruit of His Spirit. I can be angry, but I also must have Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness and Self-Control (Galatians 5:22-23) along with it, or it will eat me up inside.
Love of diversity was another feeling that Dave spoke on. Diversity in our family, diversity in our friends, our church. This is HUGE for me. My husband is black, our six kids are mixed. But our diverse family does not stop there. One of my sisters is married to a Filipino man and they have six kids (and one on the way!). My other sister’s three daughters are half Mexican. Our family is diverse! A diverse community is vital to me. I love being surrounded by people of every color, creed, and culture. I cannot imagine what God thinks when He sees HIS people segregating themselves within their Church communities. My heart breaks at it, so what must His do? Dave gave the verses in Revelation 21:22-26 on what Heaven will be like. This passage has been highlighted and underlined in my Bible, the very thought of it quickens my pulse!
“At the core of hatred is an ethnocentricity and tribalism that is at utter odds with the heart of God and His desire for community within the human race”- Dave Rod (A Why To Live For, pg. 146). God created the world to be diverse. He wants this diversity to be cherished. One thing that we must get out of the habit of saying is “I don’t see color”. This is something that comes only with privilege. People of color have no choice but to see their color. America was built on a system that at its core is based on race and separating due to color. This is not something we can or even should ignore. Instead, let's celebrate our diversity, recognizing that we all are made in the image of God.
Throughout this journey towards my calling of healing the Broken Place of Hatred, I have had to speak out and speak up against racism. I have had to get louder and have had to step into places that are hard. Sadly, much of what I am fighting is within the Church itself. The things I have read and heard from fellow Christians has stunned me to my core. It is exhausting. I could not do this on my own as the burden of hate is too great of one to carry all on my own. Saying this, I recognize fully that as a white woman, I personally will never face the atrocities of racism directly. But as the wife of a black man and mother to children of color, my life has been affected. Without the Holy Spirit, this would be an impossible task.
God led my family to Grace Church at a time we were desperate to see the Church and the people of God speak out against racism and hate. It was no coincidence that a good friend of mine told me to check out The Listening Table. Dave touched on it briefly on Sunday. The Listening Table is a group that meets once a month in the Grace Church North Indy building to dig deeper into how we as Christ-Followers can heal the places of Hate. The fact that this group was led by people of Grace and was meeting in its building was everything to us. We HAD to check this church out. To then hear the heart of Grace’s leaders and to see their determination to BE the Church that is laid out in the Bible by desiring to heal the Six Broken Places of the world!? We found our church family, we found our home.
I know that God put me in this very diverse family, to get an up close and personal look at the racism in this world. To give me a reason to get up and fight every day against it. I know that God also put me in this Church family, giving me a group of people to walk beside me in this fight. To show me that I am not alone in “this civil war at the intersection of hate and history”- Dave Rod (A Why To Live For, pg. 156). I am called to heal the Broken Place of Hate. It is my God-given destiny to fight against the ugly sin of racism. I know MY Why To Live For…I am an Activist!