I understand the likelihood that this will be another racial injustice mention as a blip on most of your timelines. But I’m willing to take that risk.
Today I fully opened the dialogue with my kids (ages 8, 6, 4, and 3) about the murder of George Floyd. It wasn’t the first time they had heard his name.
As full-time ministers serving in New York City, my husband (Moses Sanchez) and I have had multiple prayer and processing conference calls. And with #quarantinelife, my kids can’t help but overhear any and all adult conversations we have.
But accidentally hearing bits and pieces of adult conversations is not the same as having a direct, open, two-way conversation between kids and their parents.
Why are people gathering about racial injustice?
My kids witnessed the protesters marching and shouting, “No justice, no peace!” and “Black Lives Matter.” Selah, my 3-year-old, a full-on advocate of social distancing, thought out loud: “They’re not supposed to be so close together!”
I was nervous about whether I would find the right words. So nervous that I was seriously tempted to crawl back into bed in fetal position. But when I felt unworthy and incompetent, the Holy Spirit provided the words that were simple enough for all the kids to understand. Yet the simple words carried the weight of what happened.
Because the heartbreak is real and valid
I told my kids George Floyd was killed by a bad cop. Not all cops are bad. But sometimes bad cops kill black people. Sometimes they don’t get punished for it. And just like with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement, this “parade” was trying to show that what happened to George Floyd was wrong.
“Like with MLK in Selma!” chimed in Jeremiah, my 8-year-old, the avid reader who soaks up history facts like a sponge (#proudmama).
I am encouraged by the volume of support and solidarity I have witnessed from many of my Christian friends, especially my white friends. Because frankly, in past instances of racial injustice, the silence was deafening and heartbreaking.
So thank you for your many expressions of heartbreak. I appreciate your willingness to weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15).
Please don’t stop at empathy
But I beg you—please don’t stop at empathy.
Like our Lord and Savior Jesus, when we see brokenness all around us, we need to be moved to compassion (Matthew 9:36). If we, as the body of Christ, continue to stay silent against racial injustice, we will compromise our ability to accurately represent Christ to the world.
We won’t all have giant platforms to change the broken systems from the top down. (Although, all glory to God if He grants you that!) But imagine the ripple effects that would take place if every person had the courage to have difficult conversations about the lie of racial hierarchy within the smallest spheres of influence God has given us. With our kids, parents, friends, neighbors, and coworkers.
We are part of the answer
How beautiful would it be if we find ourselves being a direct answer to Jesus’ prayer to our Father. “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).
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Marilette Sanchez is a full-time missionary with Cru working alongside high school students and families in New York City. College sweethearts and NYC natives, she and her husband, Moses, are FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® speakers known for their transparency and their ability to inject their love of hip hop and pop culture into their discussions of love, sex and marriage. They married in 2011 and homeschool their five young kids. Follow their parenting and homeschooling journey on Instagram at @bigcitybigfamily and Marilette’s musings on womanhood and pop culture at MariletteSanchez.com.