Racism Is Real: My Christian Response To The Issues..

Edited 7.8.16 4:53 EDT

Can I Be Honest?

I have been so in my head for the last two weeks about race, racism, and how God calls us to deal with it. Way more than normal and way heavier than it has ever been before. For the last two weeks, I was angry. Like seriously angry deep down inside. Angry when I thought about some of the white Christians I know who are prejudiced/racist and how their privilege blinds them to the truth. I got upset every time I thought about how much harder I had to work in my grad program just to prove I was competent because I was the only black person. Enraged when I see my family with the Mississippi state flag (which is the only state flag to still bear the confederate flag). But I have to suppress my feelings because I don’t want to be the “angry black girl”.
Disgusted that when I glance over my husband’s shoulder and look at his Facebook timeline, more than I would like (not all) of his white friends say things that lead me to think that they think black people are dirty, ignorant, poor stewards of money, and complain too much. Upset that those same people have never done any research to see all of the oppressive and inhumane things that were done to those who live in the black community. They have no clue why HBCUs were built, that “the projects” were CREATED by design, or that for the same exact crimes blacks are 18x more likely to go to jail and die there!It got so heavy to me I was even angry at my husband. Why? Because even though he loves me, supports me, and fights for me, he will never fully know what it is like to be a black woman, and he too at one point had very wrong viewpoints.
 

I Had To Get It Together!

I knew it had went too far! The word of God (Eph. 4:26) says that we can be angry but tells us not to sin because of it (i.e hurt, murder, curse, slander, etc). We were arguing over stuff that had nothing to do with him, and that was where the problem came in!  This is the same man who would and has forsaken everything to protect me. The same man who would disown his family to keep me and his future children from unnecessary discrimination. The same man who was so willing to actually learn why certain viewpoints he had were wrong and worked diligently to change them. The same man that God blessed me with and told me we were meant.

 

While all of those emotions were bubbling inside of me, I kept hearing my mom in my head. I kept hearing her voice tell me not to let the spirit of anger overtake me and build roots and strongholds in my heart. So with that in one ear and Philippians 4:8 in the other ear I have been battling to stay above it all.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

 I took what was on my heart to my husband and have really been leaning on him to help pray me through it. We have went through the full spectrum of emotions together. We have argued, cried, and prayed together. Outside of God and my husband, I have not felt okay to talk with anyone about this. We all need wise counsel and friends that keep us accountable and help us bear the weight of our burdens sometimes! I didn’t want to talk to my parents about it because I didn’t want them upset and worried about me. I didn’t feel that John could take it to his family because although we love them I was attacked and defamed the last time I brought a personal issue up to be resolved. No one talked to me personally. I was just talked about. I was told I was not Christ-like for bringing things up and not forgetting them. You are supposed to be able to talk to family, but I have been seriously praying about it. And God is already shaking things up.

This emotional battle has left me tired to say the least. Over the 4th of July, my husband and I traveled to one of his good friends weddings in PA. I was so emotionally toasted I almost decided not to go. Why? Because I honestly didn’t have enough metaphorical gas in the tank to deal with any side-eyes, rude comments, or underhanded compliments with the level of class and decorum I expect of myself. I was so raw that I felt that I would have absolutely went in full force knowing full well that I would have been in the wrong. You don’t go to anyone’s wedding and act a fool. It’s not about you. 

At this point, I feel I have to add a side note for those of you who may not understand why I felt as I did…When other people feel that you have to prove your worth to them from sun-up to sun-down 365 days of the year from birth to death, it gets a bit taxing. Imagine for a second going on a job interview. You do your best to put your best foot forward and all you have to do is make it past (at the most) 3 rounds of 1-hour interviews. After it is all done you can relax, take a breath, and not feel like your interviewer is still putting your feet to the flames. 

Well, for some black people, life is like a constant interview. You are constantly being told you have to PROVE that you are a smart, capable, and nice a human being. You can’t get too upset about anything or you will be deemed “angry” or “overly sensitive”. There is no “rest” time. You have no room for slip-ups, mistakes, or off days. I started dating my husband in college and he couldn’t fully fathom that thought until he actually saw it play out in my life. He couldn’t believe that things like that could happen.

 

Racism Is Real

I have never gotten any bad racial vibes from the couple, unlike previous wedding parties that John and I have had to pass up on, so we went. I had a GOOD pep talk with myself beforehand (because I expected to be the only black person there and I was). I told myself and spoke into the atmosphere that I was going to have fun, that I was going to share the love of Christ, and that I was not going to jump out of character for someone else’s ignorance. That it would be their issues. Not mine! We ended up having so much fun, and I am so glad we went. Most everyone was kind, courteous, and pleasant. On the way back home, John and I had a really good talk that was prompted from an episode #557 {Birds & Bees} of “This American Life”. Unbeknownst to us, the 2nd part of the episode addressed race. God knew I was trying hard to stay above it all and inside of that episode I found more peace, clarity, and self-assurance that I was searching for. So with all of the emotions I have gone through in the last two weeks ON TOP OF waking up to the news of Alton Sterling…

This Is My Silver Lining…

I am doing my best to navigate the waters of being a Christian woman who is educated and black that is married to a white man who will have mixed babies in a country/world that has not yet accepted that brown skin is valuable. I am not one of those Christians who says you shouldn’t focus on the #blacklivesmatter movement because it’s a distraction to the real issue. I am a Christian that says the only way to deal with the real issues are to address them. I am a Christian that realizes that there is a spiritual battle going on and we have to bind it, rebuke it, and diligently fight against it.

You will never win a battle by ignoring your enemy or pretending you don’t have one. Yes, the real enemy is satan, and he wants us to kill each other. Racism is just one of the many vehicles that he is using to do so.  I am going to use my authority in Christ and  all the resources he has given me (speaking in tongues, praying, praising, worshiping, clapping, stomping, gratitude, intellect, being a great communicator, social media, my business, and personal relationships) to specifically attack satan and his plans for destruction that comes from seeds of racism.

What I will say (because I am in the process of learning this- if you couldn’t tell by this blog post), is to not get so bogged down from it, that it makes me sin. I REFUSE to get so caught up that I return evil for evil and you turn into a bitter, prejudiced, racist, hateful person. I will keep my heart clean and my intentions pure. I will use my influence, life, and resources to bring heaven down to earth! 

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. -Ephesians 6:12 (KJV)

This scripture challenges me even more not to become complacent or angry at people but to get angry at the devil and fight in the spirit. To realize that people are sick and demonically possessed and that my issues are never with them but with what is working on the inside of them. As I am calming down and feeling more at peace, I can honestly say I am determined not to walk in offense and rage. I KNOW that it is a method that satan uses to trap people. I believe with everything in me that God put John and I together for a REASON. That we are together to be chain breakers of passive prejudice and pseudo-Christianity.

It is important for me, and all of us, to remember to look up, not forward. When we look up, God takes our burdens. Although we still feel the sting of life, we will not be overtaken with anger, sadness, and hopelessness. When we look towards God, we will maintain a presence of peace, stay firm as a tree, and roar boldly like a heard of lionesses.

So For Anyone Who Needs This…

Because I did! God is still in control. He still sits on the thrown. He is not surprised by any of the things that are happening. In fact, He warns us in the bible that things like this would happen. Racism is real and we must not ignore evil acts, evil men, or the spirit of hate. We are to call it out, overtake it, pray for change, and teach REAL unity, love, and accountability. 

As Black Americans, we are not lost or hopeless. Do not allow yourself to be overcome with hate or ill will towards White Americans or any other ethnic group for that matter. Evil wins when good people do nothing, and we are #TooWoke to let evil win. Tragic events have happened, but we are not suffering in silence. We are becoming more aware, more equipped, and more educated.    

Don’t you dare allow the devil to push you into the corner of fear. Be diligent to not let fear manifest in your spirit. Fearing for your life and the lives of your children to to the point of deep despair and grief is NOT of God. YOU HAVE POWER AS A DAUGHTER OF THE TRUE AND LIVING GOD! NEVER FORGET THAT. You are not defeated. The blood of Jesus still works. PLEAD IT daily before you even need it! You, me, we… were ALWAYS commissioned to put on the full armor of God daily to protect us from the attacks of the enemy! Stand up. Get mad at the devil. Open your mouth and pray against all the evil you see. Get up and use whatever platform you have to create change in your community because faith without works is dead!

 

Don’t you dare allow yourself to feel hopeless! Don’t you dare wallow in sadness! Don’t you dare act like you don’t know what to do!!! Don’t you dare let words like ‘nothing will ever get better’ come out of your mouth. As a member of the army of Christ act like you remember we are in a non-stop battle and it won’t always be an easy fight but we have ALREADY won if we stay consistent and diligent. As Christians, we have a voice that is being heard. The same voice that moved us out of slavery. The same voice that now grants us access to the same pools, bathrooms, restaurants, buses, and neighborhoods. No, things are not perfect. But progress is STILL being made.

Remember how far things have come, put your boots on, open your mouth, and do your part to push it on a little further. We are more alike than we are different. Don’t let the loud ignorant fools cause you to falter in your walk with God. Educate those whose hearts are sensitive to grow, pray for your enemies, remember that the real enemy is satan, and use all the gifts, talents, abilities, and resources that God has given you to destroy the works of satan and bring heaven down to earth!

Racism is real however, you are a Christian and you were called to overcome the world not be oppressed and beaten up by it. It is okay to feel hurt, sadness, and anger. It is not okay to repay evil with evil, lose faith in God, and act like you can’t create the change you want to see. Be encouraged! Take some time out to infuse some happiness into your day. God doesn’t want you sad. He wants you happy and inspired! Now get up, go drink a green smoothie, and burn some calories! 

Photo Credit: ThePoliticsOfRace.com

By | 2017-03-17T16:36:39+00:00 July 7th, 2016|Faith|3 Comments

About the Author:

Jená Emily Utley is a Holistic Lifestyle Maven and Possibility Trainer. She helps creative, enterprising, and entrepreneurial women achieve what they once thought impossible by attaining a fit mind, body, and understanding of God promises!

3 Comments

  1. Thea July 9, 2016 at 11:20 pm - Reply

    Hey Jena!

    Thanks for being so open and transparent about how you’ve been feeling. You definitely came across my mind after these incidents happened. I follow several Black, female YouTubers, some who happen to be in interracial relationships and was curious to see if the #BlackLivesMatter movement ever causes conflicts between spouses.

    I’m sorry that you have had to endure a lot of negativity not only as a fellow Black female, but also as a result of being married to a White male. 🙁

    These past few weeks have been extremely difficult to navigate through, but like you – I’m coming around and reminding myself to find peace in Christ and cover my heart and mind with His words.

    I’ve been wrestling with writing my emotions and putting the prayers God laid on my heart on paper/computer – and sharing them with others… But seeing your “Pray For Your Enemies” challenge (I love that idea BTW!!) has confirmed to me that I need to do what God has laid on my heart to do.

    I will pray for your strength in the Lord. Please be encouraged and continue to be bold as you share who you are unapologetically and unashamedly. You are a unique, POWERFUL and dynamic Woman of God. I definitely admire you and look forward to hopefully working with you this year, when I finally get my act together… LOL and SMH…

    But forreal though — you are a forced to be reckoned with and I know the enemy fights you hard, especially in your mind. But you ARE victorious and will continue to be victorious, in Jesus’ name!

    Please do NOT get weary in doing well. Please keep pushing and know that this is your season to reap 100-fold (in ALL aspects of your life, including physically, spiritually AND financially) for all of the good you have sown in the lives of others! I’m sure there are many other like me who might not always comment but continue to read, see your videos and be inspired by your actions and persistence.

    Anywho — sorry for the essay LOL… Thanks for sharing this post! 🙂

    • Jená E. Utley August 10, 2016 at 3:37 pm - Reply

      Thea-

      Let me first say that I appreciate you writing me this in-depth comment. It touched my heart so deeply that I cried when I read it. This post was very challenging for me to write and it does my heart so much good to see that the intention and tone was received well. My heart needed this. Every time I re-read it I get refreshed!

      THANK YOU SO MUCH for being a part of my savvy army and being a voice of hope and encouragement.

      You should absolutely do your pray challenge or whatever God has placed on your heart to do! You don’t have to know everything or have all the pieces to do it either. Start and allow God to give you the path. Just be obedient!

      No apologies necessary!!! You are a beautiful woman that took time out of your day to be a light to your sister in Christ. That is something that will never require an apology!

      Be blessed and thank you again!!!!

  2. Keisa October 27, 2016 at 4:16 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for this!! The last few months have been very difficult as I’ve truly been awoken to our history and the fact that the struggle is still very real for black people in this country. Even as a black woman, I can say that I was naive and blind to the systemic racism and injustice; for many years, I lived in a bubble because I grew up pretty sheltered and somewhat insulated due to my middle class upbringing.

    But my struggle now is exactly as you described. While my husband is also black, his perspective is very different. I feel like he’s still in the bubble that I once was in and is content at this point. He doesn’t see what I see and it’s disheartening and frustrating. And also as you described, it’s been so difficult and confusing to process my thoughts and emotions as a Christian. I’ve struggled with anger and hatred against whites as a race, especially when I see all of the hateful or even indifferent reactions to injustice. But God is showing me that my emotions have a place, that righteous indignation has a place, but as you said, it’s NOT okay to give into sin and allow what I see to make me bitter.

    I’m grateful that I found your blog as you truly have articulated what is in my heart. Thank you so much for sharing. Thank you for choosing to be a light in the darkness and inspiring others to do the same. God bless you!

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