A Beautiful Tension

Songine Clarke

There is a beautiful ongoing tension that will never seem to cease to exist in my world. A tension where I feel the pain of my African-American brothers and sisters. With the current events going on in our nation, there’s a tension that screams for relief in the form of the gospel in everyday life.

You would think that there is no tension there, but when you are surrounded by so few churches preaching the good news in the midst of the hurt, you feel it. You also feel the tension when you know of churches that consistently preach the gospel, but aren’t doing anything in response to what has been going on. Now, more than ever, I am realizing how necessary the truth of the gospel is in everyday life; but what do you do when it is not being proclaimed like it should? What do you do when the gospel is being preached, but no action is being taken? How do you take gospel-centered action in word and deed when there are few around you who are?

What I Know To Be True

I am currently in a place where I am surrounded by talks of social justice. It’s great, because I cannot stand to see when people are being oppressed or hurt- it’s not right. I know this is not the way things are supposed to be. I am someone that holds the gospel near and dear to their heart and strives to live it out in my life, so one thing I’ve been trying to figure out is how to pursue God-exalting, gospel-centered social justice in my life.

I know this is something that is not out of reach- it’s possible- but when you are going against your own emotions and the emotions and cries of other people it can be really hard. It’s also really hard when you are apart of an ethnic group that has been oppressed for so long.

As of recent, I’ve come to a stand still. All of a sudden I’ve found myself with my hands up with all the recent events that have happened coming all at once and I couldn’t escape it. I couldn’t escape it, because I didn’t know how to respond.

Revelation 7:9-10 has been my motivation for keeping racial reconciliation near to me. It wasn’t a motivator just because I have friends of different races and nationalities, but because I know this is something that will one day be true when we are in eternity together. I also know just because we’re not in heaven just yet doesn’t mean we can’t strive for this now.

In light of the recent killings of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and the two officers in New York whose killings happened to highlight the racism that is still present in this country, I am now confronted with my stance on racial reconciliation. I realize it needed to be stronger. I kept hearing from one side that saw this as a life being killed and who was right and wrong in these incidents, but then on the other side I was being confronted with the emotions of my fellow African-Americans who are tired of being oppressed, who were afraid for their young men, who were afraid for their own lives. What am I supposed to do when I care about the lives lost, the cries of an oppressed people, and the gospel.

What I See In Front Of Me

What I have been seeing is people looking for an answer. In my discussions, at these protests, and on my Facebook timeline, people are asking “How can we stop this?”. I have been seeing people scared for the males in their family, anger, hopelessness, and sadness. I don’t have an exact answer to all of this as I am still trying to figure out how I should respond to all of this, but I do know that the gospel is relevant to this and that as Christians we should not be silent. The good news needs to be proclaimed more than ever now telling people how God sent a savior down to earth. Someone who knew what it was like to be discriminated against and was brutally killed even though he did nothing wrong. Even though Jesus died a costly death for our sins, he is coming back one day to come for those who have been saved by grace through faith, so that we will be able to glorify the father as one. That is what I am holding on to as I strive to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8)

2 thoughts on “A Beautiful Tension

  1. Songine' Clarke

    Thank you!

    Yes, unity through and in Christ is so necessary, especially during this time.

  2. Theresa Miedema

    Thank you for this great piece. I share your feelings. I have studied ethnic conflict as an academic for many years. I have studied the recommendations for political institutions, etc. My conclusion is that there is only one lasting response to ethnic and racial conflict: unity through and in Christ. In Christ, we who are many are one. And in the name of Christ, we must, absolutely must, press for justice and reconciliation. I love the Biblical texts you have cited, and I appreciate your insight.

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