I have been doing ministry in San Diego for almost five years now, and if you were to ask me “What is the strength of our ministry?” I would say that it is putting our heads down and making disciples. We are committed to modeling our ministry after Jesus’ and this takes so much focus, we try not to get distracted. So while we care deeply about what’s going on in the world around us, we try not to let anything take us away from our call of making disciples of Jesus. Yet, as a Black Man, I know it’s necessary to try and understand what is currently going on in the United States involving racial inequality and that continuing this conversation is vital as believers in Jesus.
With that in mind, my wife and I have been having many conversations about the topic of race, especially, the struggles of African Americans. There are no simple answers to problems that have been going on for centuries but we want to touch on this all from a godly perspective. We figured it would be helpful for all of us to share such a conversation with all of you as a biracial husband and wife. Here we go!
What emotions have current events brought up for you?
Steph: I think the emotions come in waves for me. Initially, sadness flooded my heart as I watched a man struggle for his last breath. What if that was my son crying out for me? Then came anger. How are we allowing things like this to happen today? Why is there no regard for a human’s life, a black man's life? Next comes fear. Is my husband safe? Will the three children we are raising, who happen to be black, be safe? Lastly, joy. I know the Lord is working. I am watching it happen even now. People have come together like I have not seen in this lifetime to demand that my husband and my children will be safe. That a black person's life will have value.
Keith: Sadly, there have been so many unarmed black people that have suffered this way. I feel like I was still processing what happened to Ahmaud Arbery. But George's death seemed like a turning point. In my lifetime, I had never seen a response quite like it. I was hopeful that maybe one day things would be different. I always feel like there is more that I can do, which there is, but it has been so unique to talk to so many people about things that we should be discussing on a daily basis.
What have you done to deal with those emotions?
Steph: I've done a lot of praying, talking to the Lord and getting into the Word. These have all been critical in keeping my emotions in order.
Keith: I've been trying my best to apply Matthew 6:33 and seek first the Kingdom. God really does allows us to cast all of our anxiety on Him and that's a load that He is willing and able to bear. I've been spending a lot of vulnerable time in prayers lately.
Do you have practical advice for people wanting to be helpful during this time?
Steph: It may sound trite, but its 100% true: Draw closer to Jesus. Praying and reading your Bible everyday is the best possible tool. Then also ask your friends, family, or even a stranger if you can have a conversation with them about how they are affected and how you can pray for them.
Keith: Stay informed but do not get oversaturated! With the advent of social media, it's easy to get sucked into the scroll of your newsfeed. Spend time with your family, have a conversation with someone over the phone instead of in the comment section. When it's time to vote, educate yourself and do your part. And honestly, fasting and praying goes a really long way.
How do you keep your eyes on Jesus while not ignoring current events?
Steph: If you think about it, the current events of today just drive home the need for Jesus even more than I could have ever thought possible. How can you see what is going on in the world and not notice that the one thing missing is Jesus? This is so motivating to me, to share the love Christ has for us with others.
Keith: I honestly feel like I have no choice! I know people on the earth will never experience true justice until the Lord returns. Jesus has everything that all of us need! So I want to help others through this time, and help them process and make sense of it all. But “woe to me if I do not preach the gospel.” 1
Any final takeaways on this topic?
Steph: One of my favorite verses is Ephesians 5:16-17, “Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.” For me this time is all about listening first, speaking last.
Keith: As Forest Gump would say, “I'm not a smart man,” and I have a little AA in communications. But, I understand how important communication is, especially with God. Some of you probably have not been spending as much time with the Lord, or even none at all: So NOW IS THE TIME. Black people are and have always been overcomers, period! I pray that this is a turning point for our culture and our nation.
We hope that this conversation was helpful for you, because it was for us. Being vulnerable about how we felt and how we’re coping with everything goes along way. In the end we know that God will bring about true justice on the earth, until then we will try our best to keep Jesus the main thing while not ignoring what’s going on in the world.