A few weeks ago I heard an interview with Christian author Jasmine Holmes on her new book “Mom to Son: Letters to a Black Boy on Identity and Hope.” My ears perked up because I have a new baby grandson who is beautifully half-black.
I need to read that book, I thought.
Then the shocking, horrific video of George Floyd’s murder came out. We all saw it: the very ones who are supposed to protect you, stand powerfully and arrogantly over you and kill you slowly.
Oh, my dear grandson, how will it be for you growing up black in this evil world?!?
I am tempted to lose hope.
When I was in grade school, 1962ish, we lived in a small town in East Texas and my parents owned an office supply store.
There came a day when a black lady named Bea began to work at our house, doing the ironing, etc, and watching over us kids while our mom worked at the store.
Here are my only memories:
— Riding in the car when my mom took Bea home – literally across the RR tracks to the other side of town. The dirt roads and ramshackle houses were a far cry from our nice and neat brick neighborhood. (A. far. cry!)
— Bea had a son named Hercules. (What did her mother’s heart hope for him, giving him that name?)
— I did not treat her well. I don’t think I was overtly mean, but I avoided her.
I ignored her because I felt embarrassed, thinking we had a ‘slave’ and it made me feel bad.
I regret that the subject of race was taboo, but that is the way it was.
I do not judge my younger self for my non-love, but now I have no excuse for avoidance and ignorance.
Prejudice is evil. Rampant. Pervasive.
Not just with the African-Americans, and not just in this country: It is everywhere in the world, and it is in our hearts.
I see it in mine.
Oh, how I hate it!
I desperately want the world to be different so my grandson can grow up without fear.
But wait. You know what? He can.
He can face the fears and troubles of this world if he learns to put his hope in Jesus.
Jesus knows about the human heart. He knows prejudice.
He forgave the arrogant people who killed him slowly.
He came back to life, giving us the hope of life eternally.
He offers forgiveness to all prejudiced and arrogant people like me who repent.
So in Jesus’ name, I take hope.
I will continue to repent and I will educate myself by reading Jasmine’s letters, and other books like ‘The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism” and ‘Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You’.
I will try to talk about taboo subjects with others and especially with my grandson.
And most importantly, I shall teach all my grandchildren about Jesus and the love and forgiveness that He has for all people everywhere.
Someday Jesus will right every wrong.
And until then, I take hope, even as I weep with those who weep.