Black History, White privilege, God’s love for all

People of any color can only do what is in the sphere of their influence. We can only blame who and what is at fault in any given situation. We might see it somewhat differently then another, but we all will answer to our Maker for injustice, or just being a false witness against another.

A documentary Samuel Jackson was narrating, showed a terrible scene from the silent film of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. As the actor was dying in the movie at the hands of Legree, he repeats the words of Jesus when he was dying at the hands of hateful men. Fatherforgive them for they know not what they do.” I don’t remember the exact words which were supposed to be James Baldwin’s — but his sentiment was hating that scene and preferring vengeance. Mine is a much a different perspective, but maybe if I was born in a different place and time, I don’t know. I thank God for His mercy where I am concerned. My desire is actually not like James Baldwin’s, but to be more like Uncle Tom. An inner wish to be more like Stephen at his stoning (Acts 7), forgiving others for their hateful and murderous actions. To prayerfully see the bigger picture more often. Especially His long suffering and desire that God has for all men to be saved. I wish we could really know and experience one blood on this side of heaven, and I feel I have with some Christian brethren, but not many sadly. 

There are historical figures like the Muslim Malcolm X. I hope I could never see things from his religious perspective or position of vengeance. I realize he is still revered by many, but I leave him to God’s righteous hands. I saw an interview with him and Martin Luther King many years after the fact. Malcolm X was reviling King and other pastors like him that taught love for one’s enemies. He called MLK an ‘Uncle Tom’. King kept his composure and talked about the difference between violence and resistance. He saw Christianity as the problem. Of course I see those under the umbrella yet not understanding grace, certainly as a problem. Martin was speaking on the difference between Love and Hate, and Malcolm X only speaking of hate and vengeance. Later in life it is said they became closer. As you know they both were killed. Medgar Evers assassination isn’t really a memory for me because I was too young. I first came to know about him later from a movie. Not enough room to do justice to the well-known black Americans in history I can relate to, and no desire to give place to those that blamed Christians (as a whole) for their plight, such as the aforementioned James Baldwin. But I would like to mention a few that stand out to me, maybe less significant in history, but touching to me.

I remember seeing Dorothy Counts years in a clip after the original event (I wasn’t born yet). In 1956, the beautiful, stately teenager calmly walked through a crowd with disgraceful adults shouting out epithets or unkind comments. Unfortunately suffering days of reviling and hatred by other, she had to be withdrawn from school for her own safety, simply for trying to end segregation in some states.

I am an Art Dealer and over the years have handled artwork by Norman Rockwell. A very poignant piece for me is entitled “The Problem we all live with”. Limited editions were made of the original work. A moving yet difficult-to-see depiction of brave little 6-year old Ruby Bridges in her freshly pressed white dress, staying close to the four guards. Walking tentatively yet courageously in her not-as-white tennies topped by her bright-white ankle socks. White ribbons gathered her curly pony tails, her hand clutching a ruler, pencils as her arm steadied a couple books. There is no doubt the hurtful stain of racism marks the event, as evidence of a hurled tomato remains splattered on the wall over a futilely scrubbed evil word — NIGGER. Tears still run down my cheeks whenever I see it. I can’t begin to imagine the wounds on that little girl’s heart. But Jesus can. A man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.

My daughters were what my husband called his Mexican twins and triplets. The oldest three were 12 and 11 months apart respectively. They were always selected to play the part of Rosa Parks. They grumbled, not because they were portraying a courageous black woman, but because in a mainly white school in Scottsdale, AZ, they didn’t seem to get allowed to choose other parts that they may have wanted. They had no idea as little girls the honor that was bestowed upon them. We tried to explain to little ears, but it’s hard to explain the sin that not only destroys us and others, but leaves great grief along the way. You want them to experience joy in their lives a little longer yet instill values and a desire for justice. I wasn’t born when Rosa Parks took her stand against segregation, when the buses in Montgomery were boycotted for more than a year by their mainly black clientele. But I am touched knowing that same brave woman would go on to work for 23 years for John Conyers, an African American US Representative until she retired in 1988.

The rioting and crime has gone on here in Phoenix, AZ. All Black Lives Matter here in AZ decried the obscenities that were painted on long-time city councilman’s Calvin Goode’s monument (he also has a building named in his honor). Mr. Goode was instrumental in getting Martin Luther King’s holiday passed. The one who posted the picture said (as many of us feel too), The rioters in Phoenix are CLEARLY not from here. Who from here would disrespect a living Civil Rights Icon this way?”

There are many who have played an important role in civil rights, even those I may not respect their manner, condescension or behavior. There have been black people who have been criminally beaten or even killed by bad police officers. And there have been police officers who have been beaten or killed by black or white people. Evil is evil on either side, and agree or disagree, one thing I know, people have right to speak their opinion in this. But I’d like to focus on this from a Christian perspective and for a moment from a personal one.

My great grandfather on my father’s side was a Jewish rabbi. We didn’t know that growing up. He died when my grandfather was a baby. He was persecuted by Muslims who put out a fatwa on him and his family because of a scholarly paper he wrote that they didn’t agree with. They had to flee Hamburg, Germany on a ship, but he was to die of the Bubonic plague.

My grandfather, (his baby) indentured himself as a servant as a young teen on a ship, an immigrant from Scotland. My other grandfather from Ireland was also an indentured servant. His wife, my grandmother, had a great (or great great) grandfather, who was raised by black slaves. His parents were killed the first week of the civil war. A newborn orphan left crying in the fields, rescued by slaves and raised for several years. His father to be (another great great), came into town to do some business, and saw this little tow-headed boy with all these black slaves. In that day and age, that could not be allowed to be so. So he took the boy from those who had loved him. There was almost another war. I weep thinking of the woman/women, whoever she was, who nursed him, loved him, and took care of a child who was not her own. A group, a community, who in their own hardship, loved him, and adopted him as their own. Just as my Father in Heaven adopts all who believe upon Him to save them. I like to think I still am a part of that community and that someday, I’ll see those precious people in heaven. I sure pray I do. And I pray they were reunited with my great great great, their baby…tears always flow when I tell this. Like a reverse story of Moses. Others may not appreciate this, but I like to think on being black and slave by adoption, Jewish by birth (sort of, they don’t count the father’s side anymore), Irish and Scottish by descent, and adopted into Jesus Christ by faith, because of His great love for all mankind.

White privilege

I was so very privileged. Not a white privilege, a Christian privilege, raised in a good family background. I was privileged to be raised in a Christian home that taught me to love Jesus and the Bible. I was privileged to sit as my Father and my Mother did Biblical devotions with us, prayed with us, and ate dinner around the table with us. I hesitate to say I was privileged to suffer the loss of my young brother in a tragic way, but even in that… He was 15 months younger, and we were so close — buddies. It was definitely part of forming me. I remember talking to Jesus quite a bit at a young age, asking Him all the questions about things I couldn’t comprehend as a young girl. I was privileged to have a dad who opened doors for all of us, car doors included, and taught us how a man should treat women in so many other ways. A mother who found ways with no money to keep us active. The frequent privilege of many trips to the public library to check out books and listen to story time (oh the horrors of that thought now). The joy of taking a few pieces of stale bread (a commodity) to the park to toss and see the ducks and geese come running. Swinging high on the swing set, asking Jesus if I could fly when I jumped off (as I wished we could rent the paddle boat I could see on the canal). A kind dad who built a fort in the weeping willow tree with an old weather-grayed ladder. A place I would often visit when my brother died, holding the stray cat that became a motley pet. Dressing up a puppy I begged for. A home where they both worked hard, much more than I’ll ever know — many times just to keep the utilities from being turned off. The privilege of being taught to fight in the right way with hard work, creative thinking and a thankful heart for what I did have.

The privilege of being shoved towards the underdog by my parents (that’s how it felt when I was young). They taught me about loving the unlovely, caring for those who were even poorer than we were. Putting ourselves in other’s shoes, and I am thankful for that now. I was even privileged to go to a Bible school that I wouldn’t recommend to someone else because of doctrine and helped pay for by calling at nighttime to gather financial support for the school. But I am so thankful for the things the Lord taught me there as I was a semi-Berean and had a solid foundation. I was privileged beginning at 16 to attend a community college while waitressing to pay for my books, gas, tuition.  Privileged to become a mother to Adam, and privileged to learn the hard work of two full-time jobs at once as that young mother. Even privileged to lose my house in divorce. I was able to donate it to a Missionary group instead of defaulting, and it still has long-lasting benefits I pray. I was also privileged to become a single mother who again had to work two jobs to support us, and pay for the debt left, and the house I was to eventually lose. Why was I privileged? Because my parents allowed us both to live with them a year in California, and helped me by watching Adam after I took him to kindergarten, went to work, picked him up from after-school daycare, dropped him off with my parents, then I went to my second job. While I framed artwork (a privilege because someone allowed me to intern freely to learn), she allowed Adam to be dropped off later to spend time watching us in her shop. And then my dad would pick him up and they would put him to bed.

We lived in my parent’s garage in a loft (almost like a bunk bed) I built it so my little boy could stay above, while I slept below by the washer and dryer that my mom frequently operated at 6:30 am :). I still can’t quite say I was privileged to smell those car fumes and gasoline smell that happened when my dad would park in there vs. outside. I was privileged about a year later to be able to find a small apartment we both could live in and eventually rent a house with a friend as my income grew. I was privileged to finally find a wonderful man who both liked and loved me and buy our house in Scottsdale (another long struggle for years and years of working and running our own business at night after working in the day. More privilege :)) I was privileged of already )knowing more than once) the hard work of two full-time jobs at once and sold art over the phone by day, and after the kids were in bed learned about Milling Machines, writing a CAM program, learning CAD so I could draw the parts we were making. Because of my husband’s love, he taught me to really believe that Christ loved me the way I was. I am not saying we are supposed to stay the way we are, but I’m testifying — he loved me in a selfless way, and that love enabled me to learn to believe Jesus loved me as I was good, the bad and the ugly. That love propelled me to get better as a person. I was privileged to have many more children (and now grandchildren) with him.

I was privileged to suffer the loss of my best friend and great love, my husband. Why privileged? Because during the time of his terminal illness and subsequent early death, I was able to draw nearer to God which meant He drew nearer to me. There is nothing like experiencing that and nothing could ever replace it. Because of Gilbert’s death I was able to share the full gospel at his funeral where no one could leave or cut me off from speaking. Because of that, I was actually privileged as I lost other friends (also at a young age shortly after his death), to see them come to believe on Christ through it vs. dying without Jesus. One I gave the gospel again to at her deathbed, and was able to be the only person to speak, and was able to give the gospel at her funeral. In all these things, my now husband-to-be came to believe on Christ as his Savior. I was privileged to see my father go to his Savior’s arms the week after I got married and privileged to give the gospel at his funeral. And most of you know my firstborn Adam was in a terrible accident five years ago, suffered a TBI and again, I was to suffer trauma and grief I thought I could not bear, but yet again was to find great comfort in the arms of my Savior and by many faithful prayers of the Saints.

There are so many ways in which I have privileged, or blessed (as I much prefer to call it). I used the word so often because of hearing the ‘white privilege’ mantra so much lately. Yet it has caused me to ponder how much I have been privileged and blessed. In these things I learned more about comforting others with the comfort I had been given. I learned about the importance of eternity, and the shortness of life as we know it. Why was I so privileged? I don’t know. I ask myself that often, and I can only assume that if was placed in another time or living, I wouldn’t have found Him somehow (perish that thought). God allows things in this world to form us. To affect us so that we might seek Him and find Him, because He loves the whole world and desires no one should perish.

And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us Acts 17:26-27

The biggest privilege of all?

Knowing Jesus Christ as my Savior.

We all sin, and this separates us from God (Rom 3:23). God commended His love towards us all when Christ died for ALL in great love (Rom 5:6-8; John 3:16; John 15:13). His shed blood, His death, paid for all our sins in full. Jesus uttered the words, ‘it is finished’ or ‘paid in full’. Our debt is paid by Him. He laid down His life willingly for ALL. He rose from the dead three days later. He said in advance, He had the power to take up His life back up again, and He did (John 10:17-18; 1 Cor 15:3-4). Jesus is the One who has the victory over sin, death and the grave. Flesh and blood cannot enter heaven, nor can one sin (Rev 21:27). Only Jesus has conquered those things and paid for ALL sin at HIS cross (1 Cor 15:50-57; Col 2:13-15). One thing He asks you to do to be forgiven of all sins, washed and perfected forever, is to believe upon Him (who He is and what He did for you), and you WILL receive the free gift of eternal life (Heb 10:10,14; John 6:28-29, 47; Rom 6:23). Eternal life (or salvation from hell) is a free gift and cannot be earned by one work of our own (Rom 4:2-5; Eph 2:8-9). When you believe upon Him, you have passed from death unto life because you were washed from your sins, in His blood. (Rev 1:5).

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. John 5:24

Whoever might read this, I love you in Christ. I hope you know Him already, or will come to know Him. I pray so. He loves you.

11 Responses to “Black History, White privilege, God’s love for all

  • Janis V Nihart
    6 months ago

    That is beautiful, Holly. Thank you for sharing. Having Jesus as Savior is the only privilege worth anything.How many rich and poor people of all colors are not privileged because they refuse to believe in Jesus.

    • Thank you for reading and commenting Janis <3

      Exactly right sadly. Rich, poor, black, white, all are precious in His sight and have a chance to believe until they die.

  • A great prevelent post, Holly, full of the wisdom that is from above. I might never experience the horrors of racial prejudice, but I do know that the mercy and love of God extends to all. Fighting through the flesh can never fix this world, neither is vengeance the answer. King Jesus is the only peace this world needs, and one day He will rule and reign. I am also sorry to hear of the losses of your husband and child, but its good that your relationship with the Lord strengthened, as difficult and lonely the times they were. You do so much for the body of Christ, and you inspire others to do the same. You are such a great writer.

    • I pray that those that have to experience racial prejudice will be comforted from Him. That what the enemy meant for their harm will be used for good. I am always kind of surprised when people say I am a good writer, because I just don’t have any schooling at all in it. So I am glad that some enjoy it, I really am thankful. Praying you will be comforted and blessed in your own life. Love in Him.

  • Dear Hollie

    I am a frequent reader of your articles. I once had a back and fourth conversation with you on your article “I’m saved, now what?” and i am writing to ask for prayer.

    I know the Gospel, i know Jesus has died for my sins and rose again, but it feels like there is a barrier between me and him preventing me from trusting in Jesus. I know Jesus is the way to eternal life and i have pleaded with him to save me but i feel my heart is hardened against him. What scares me is, there are verses in the Bible where God talks about people who see and won’t understand ( Matthew 13:13 )
    but i still go to Jesus, and i have pleaded with him many times to help me trust in him.

    Would you please pray for God to soften my heart so i can accept the Truth? I do want to be saved and i keep seeking God to help open my eyes to the truth so i can rest in him.

    I also know The Bible says “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
    (Romans 10:17)

    If i continue to read his word, will God open my heart to believe?

    I know Jesus is my only hope, and i really hope you would pray for me.

    Thank you for reading.

    • Liam, I am so glad you wrote me. Yes, I will absolutely pray for you.

      Short answer, yes. If you seek Him, you will find Him.

      But I just want to start with the believing part. 1 John was written to believers. Many times when the gospel is presented, people use 1 John 5:13, and I think it’s good to remind ourselves:

      Why: These things are written’

      Who: unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God

      Why: that ye may know that ye have eternal life

      Let’s examine that. They already have been told they have eternal life because this is the free gift. This is what they have believed God for. Why they are saved. What they are saved from (hell eternally). But people have come in and lied about some things and misled them. So the book was written so their joy remain full, so their fellowship with God and others would continue.

      John continues to write to these same believers in 1 John 5:13:

      Why: and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

      Well, again, they already believed. And so this is about faith, about continuing trust.

      So, from my own similar experience after some years of being messed up by teachings in the very same church where Calvinism and some Charismatic teaching were allowed to enter in. Confusion doesn’t come from Him. But faith comes by hearing, and hearing by His Word initially (Rom 10:17). And Jesus prayed that we might be sanctified by His Word. God’s Word is truth (John 17:17). And Jesus answered the enemy with His Word, three times saying, ‘it is written’.

      To the people who had believed on Jesus in John 8:30-31, Jesus gave them simple instructions on what to do in order to grow as disciples. And that was simply, Continue in His Word.

      When I was coming out of error, and being scared, I asked God to help me. Then I asked Him to help me want to want to do the right things. It seemed for years nothing changed. But the Lord was washing me in the water by His Word (Eph 5:26).

      Taking time each day in the Word is so helpful.

      In Luke 10, Martha is upset that Mary isn’t helping, instead she is sitting at the feet of Jesus, hearing His Words:

      And Jesus tells Martha that one thing is needed, and that Mary had chosen that good part (and He continued and said), which will not be taken away from her.

      You have said, you know Jesus is your only hope. And that you know Jesus is the Son of God, God in the flesh, who died for your sins and rose again from the dead. What did this accomplish for you?

      All your sins are forgiven positionally by His one sacrifice, so you are perfected forever: Col 2:13-15; Acts 13:38-39; Heb 10:10-14

      You immediately possess eternal life and will never perish, because you are already passed from death unto life (John 3:14-17; John 5:24; John 6:47)

      You are moved into Jesus’s kingdom by the Father (Col 1:13)

      You are sealed by the Holy Spirit of PROMISE until the day of redemption (Eph 1:13-14)

      I suggest my eternal security blog as a Bible study. Don’t read my words, look up the Scriptures and ask what He says to believers about what has transpired when they believe.

      https://www.redeemingmoments.com/eternal-security/

      Another very helpful thing I learned is just remembering Pr 3:5-6, and acknowledging Him is also about praying for more things in your life which also helps you trust in Him.

      Just remember those two things:

      Continuing in His Word and abiding in Him to be fruitful. Both things are seen in Luke 10:38-42. Be noble (Acts 17:11) and look up each Scripture someone provides, look at context, and if you are unsure ask the contextual questions that you can see (who, what, why, where, when, how). Remember in Scripture it’s good to consider when you see something that seems contradictory, God’s way is to confirm truth by several reliable witnesses, so look to other Scriptures too and find more that say the same. If you see seeming contradiction, pray, set it aside, and continued based on God’s promise of eternal life to whoever believes on Him.

      I hope I have not overwhelmed, I’d reply with more, but I really hope you take this, and will spend time each day, even if a little. Study with God’s approval as your goal. Tell Him everything you told me, and keep giving Him your doubts. “I believe Lord, help my unbelief”.

      Love in Christ, yes, I will be praying. Holly

      • Hollie, thank you so much for praying for me and for your reply. Your reply means the world to me, i have been in a very dark place for 2 months – i have felt genuinely doomed and that God would not save me, but each day i hope for God to speak to me to reassure me he is my savior. I have prayed to him a lot, and i have indeed asked him “Lord i believe, Help my Unbelief!”

        Thank you for encouraging me to read his word more. Your reply has not overwhelmed me. I am encouraged to know i can grow in faith with his word.

        To who else do i go to? I know in my heart Jesus is Eternal Life and i cannot deny that he is who he says he is.

        I already had circled 1 John 5:13 in my Bible, i know God does not lie and i usually point out his word to him in prayer to reassure myself that “All who comes to him he will in no wise cast out.”

        I really hope God does open my heart to help me to trust him, your reply has given me much hope that he will – Thank you.

        Regards
        Liam

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