The Witness

If You Love Me, Do Your Homework

Tamara C. Johnson

Dear white friend, associate, and churchgoer,

I come to you saying that we have a problem and I am no longer willing to be the catalyst for the solution.

It has taken me many hours of one-on-one conversations, thousands of words spilled out on social media, and even official church time spent co-leading a racial reconciliation bible study to come to the conclusion:

It is wholly unfair to both be a consistent victim of racism and a primary person responsible for its dismantling.

If you love me, do your homework.

The Ask

As a black woman, I will no longer meet up for coffee, dinner, walks, or some other personal interaction where I do the heavy lifting of explaining to you why the societal cancer that is racism, that is as old as the society itself, is bad.

In these draining interactions, I pour out informed, nuanced knowledge gleaned from merely existing in a country hostile to my dark skin, curvy edges, and kinky hair. I present this information in a measured tone, with little emotion, in a way that would not betray that I am deeply, personally affected by racism. I imitate your removed sense of racism’s power.

I also attempt to treat oppression as an abstract concept that at best is a pesky reminder of your ancestor’s mistakes, and at worst is something that only really bad people perpetuate in the dark corners of the internet. I have sugarcoated injustice and minimized pain to coax empathy from skeptical souls.

In return for these majorly taxing emotional lifts, I receive tentative, well-intentioned invitations to have more conversations, where I make the case for my humanity and that of other black and brown people all over again.

The Cost

I used to think my personal energy being poured out repeatedly was sacrificial love, asked of me as a Christ follower.

With this mindset, I have absorbed the micro and macroaggressions alike, asking God to forgive you, for you knew not what you did. For these sacrificial moments, I have been afforded power in predominantly white evangelical spaces. But these spaces have stayed predominantly white and oppression of black and brown bodies in our country has remained an issue. After I poured out so much energy, 81% of you still voted to give immeasurable power to a man who openly hates the people of color you desire to fill your pews for a “multi-ethnic” experience on Sunday morning.

Gratefully taking on the mantle of respectable blackness, l have earned trust through dying to myself in all the wrong ways. I have carried the heavy burden of racism in the church while living in a culture where black bodies like mine are commodified, degraded, violated and ultimately murdered without abandon. “Harmony” in personal relationships used to feel like an appropriate consolation prize.

It is no longer enough. It was never enough.

By accepting the burden of undoing racism, I realize now that I have been complicit in commodifying, degrading, violating, and ultimately murdering my own black body.

By creating and sustaining the momentum of conversations on race and social justice in the church, I and other people of color have centered white comfort over true equity between people groups in our country. These interactions are costly for our health, to the point where we are no longer catalysts for true repentance, but crutches for making sure that societal change moves at the glacial speed of white fragility.

This is why I say: If you love me, do your homework.

Your Task

The American church has always been divided, specifically down racial lines. The concept of racial reconciliation is a fallacy because you cannot reconcile what was never together.

This usually would be the time where I would write down example after example of revered theologians like Jonathan Edwards who upheld and encouraged this divide, but I will not. I could also elaborate on the paradoxical truth that the Bible Belt and the Jim Crow South are synonymous, but I will not. I could do the work of explaining the difference between addressing racism on an individual level versus a systemic level, but I will not.

This information is already out there. There are so many resources that exist. If you are serious about hating and ending racism, you will put in the effort to find them.

If you love me, do your homework.

Read the books, find the articles. Join the online discussion groups like Pass the Mic, that centers the voices of people of color who, like me, are recovering from being both the victims and solvers of racism. Google terms like “white fragility,” “misogynoir,” and “magical negro.”

Build a vocabulary that brings you closer to the level of understanding that your non-white brothers and sisters must have just to survive in a white supremacist society. In the moments when you want to focus energy on personal connections with the brown faces that you know, consider using that energy instead to confront the white faces in power who perpetuate oppression through apathy.

Consider the Beatitudes. What if Jesus tasked those who were poor in spirit and those who mourned with the responsibility of their own deliverance? Ludicrous, right? Your black and brown siblings are poor in spirit as we mourn in a country that devalues our existence. In the name of Jesus and his good news, take up your cross and be a part of bringing the kingdom of God to earth. Bless the oppressed, share their burdens.

If you love us, do your homework.


Micah 6:8: “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

30 thoughts on “If You Love Me, Do Your Homework

  1. Elizabeth Neal

    A conversation with an African American friend changed my life in August 2017. As a Christian white-person in the South having not grown up around many black people, I did not feel free to talk about race. I thought I was suppose to be “color-blind.” I didn’t know how to handle teaching my kids about race. I think for white people it is very hard to understand their is a problem because we are not a recipient of the racism. We are not hurt by it (in the same way you are). We just live our lives unaware that our ignorance is part of the problem. It was not till I became friends with the African American lady and she acknowledged “black culture” in one of our conversations that I felt free to actually talk to her about race after the Charlottesville situation. But, it was not easy and I have noticed it is not easy since then to talk to black people about race. Since my conversation with her in August 2017, I have done a ton of homework and continue to do so. I highly agree with you that white people need to do their homework and can. But, I also think it is very valuable for an actual POC to share their perspective with a white friend. Nevertheless, now that I have had a number of conversations with other white people about race, I find myself weary of some of these intense conversations. I can only imagine how weary you are. I ask you to pray for strength to carry on. Your conversations, though hard work and exhausting, are invaluable to progress being made.

    And, for any white person who happens upon here and wants to do some homework, I have a list to get you started:

  2. Hang Bell

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  3. Bri

    Hi Brooke,
    I wanted to give a different interpretation to Matthew 5:38-42
    The Bible is written without cultural context meaning they didn’t say the intricate and understood elements of the culture one being The Left Hand being the dirty or sinful hand. i.e.. Jesus sits at the Right Hand of God and other things you can google. many cultures today still hold that as truth.
    So the story goes that the left hand is dirty and only men with power punch with their right fist and if you wanted to hit someone lesser than you, you would slap with your left hand. and back hand slaps hurt more than open hand slaps or maybe that was just the normal way to slap idk.
    So If I backhand slap with my left hand and then that person *turns to me their other cheek* I physically cannot slap them with my left hand I can only punch, therefore they are expressing to me that they are not less than me. because that was the only power they had in that time.
    next, the tunic.
    All people wore was a tunic and a cloak.
    soldiers regularly took advantage of regular people, peasants. It was legal for them to take your tunic, the shirt of your back. But if I took your tunic and then you handed me your cloak too, It would appear as though I left you naked and then I would be socially shamed as nudity was a heavy sin in that culture. and hopefully I give you all your clothes back and never try to take someones clothes again for the fear and shame it caused. Shame being a catalyst in many cultures still today esp Asian cultures.
    next, go with him two miles.
    Again, soldiers regularly took advantage of regular people, peasants. It was legal for them to force you to carry their bag. BUT ONLY FOR ONE MILE. anymore than one mile was illegal. So, If I am forcing you to leave your family and walk my heavy load on your back for one mile, but then you walk two, you would get me in trouble and I could lose my position of authority.

    Over and over again Jesus is telling us to assert our authority. our humanity.
    and then reason these were the recommended solutions to those people in that culture and in that time, is because that was the only power they had. Today in 2018 we have so much more power as citizens. I can only imagine the kind of advice Jesus would give to us today.

    The interpretation of Matthew 5 of passivity and enduring oppression is A FALSE GOSPEL GIVEN TO BLACK PEOPLE BY WHITE SUPREMACY.

  4. Catrina

    I hope and pray I’ll be able to meet and hug Sister Tamara for this awe-inspiring and very direct reflection. Since the Charlottesville incident, I have met with well-meaning white friends, dialogued and written my own reflections on the exhaustion constantly imposed upon me with those “who don’t do their homework” want to discuss racism. How often have I felt like Dunbar’s poem: “We Wear the Masks”

    We wear the mask that grins and lies,
    It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
    This debt we pay to human guile;
    With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
    And mouth with myriad subtleties.
    Why should the world be over-wise,
    In counting all our tears and sighs?
    Nay, let them only see us, while
    We wear the mask.
    We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
    To thee from tortured souls arise.
    We sing, but oh the clay is vile
    Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
    But let the world dream otherwise,
    We wear the mask!
    –Paul Laurence Dunbar

    Now, I scream: “Do YOUR homework!” I will no longer explain, smile or even sugar-coat things when insensitive comments are made by white congregants like: “I don’t see ‘color’….I see you!” Or my all-time favorite: “We’re all the same, so let’s just love one another”. None of the true basis of the gospel is completely practiced when statements like the ones mentioned are said in order to avoid a very uncomfortable topic.

    I am grateful for this article. Thank you, Sister Johnson for saying what so many have been trying to say out loud for decades!

  5. Ben Puckett

    A lot of white people get frustrated that there isn’t a simple solution to reach for. I was once that way too. I then realized that instead of trying to figure how to fix it (a reaction from my privilege) I had to instead “do homework.” The homework would be much easier if someone explained it all to me, but acting in a way that “requires” someone to do that is also a reaction of my privilege.

    Thank you for taking to the time to share your feelings about this. I appreciate your honesty, direction, and challenge.

  6. David Howard Atkinson

    Just saw this today. I’m ok with stopping where I stopped. The point of this article is to listen when someone is tired and asking someone else to pick up their own slack.

    This can and should be honored.

    Sharon can ask that question to someone else… if she really wants to figure stuff out.

    This is tough, bc believers are always supposed to be loving, even to enemies, so this sounds selfish. There’s a point for people in the work of reconciliation with historical enemies where we say… enough. And that’s not wrong. It’s reasonable and healthy. It gives others the appropriate amount of responsibility.

  7. James Okamoto

    I think you are misunderstanding the context of Sharon’s comment, and if you had read the entire message it may have changed your outlook. She is not asking for a list for herself, but for people who genuinely want to “do their homework” but need direction in what “homework to do”. I believe Sharon HAS done the homework that her son-in-law and daughter gave her. I don’t think you need to shoot her down just because she makes an innocent suggestion.

  8. Tamara Johnson

    Thank you for this, Jonathan. God bless you, my brother. Your words inspired me to remember to take up my own burdens in my blind spots.

  9. Jonathan McGuire

    I’m pretty sure I’ve been on the other side of one of these meet ups for coffee, where my questions were seen as ignorant and naïve or my earnest comments seen as pandering or worse, placing additional burden. And while I can’t remember, specifically, when that last time was, I do remember what convicted me of it: Philippians 2:3-4.

    “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

    I’m a white, middle aged man who grew up in a pastor’s home in various inner city area that were very racially diverse and rural areas that were not. My studies and experiences have led my theology to be reformed and my politics libertarian. In short, I believe in a big God, a sinful man, the rule of law, equality under the law, free markets, the profit motive, property rights and a government just large enough to protect those things from enemies foreign and domestic.. In my professional life, I’ve spent considerable time outside the US immersed in cultures very much different than in which I was reared but I always knew that I had my own culture waiting for me upon my return. I’ve seen what I once thought was my own enlightened views on race and ethnicity often revealed as paternalism. I’m quite conversant with my own depravity and I know that my flesh wants me to think I am enlightened so that I will stop growing.

    While I may not always agree with you, I hear you.

    It is not your burden to unburden me. Sure, the Scriptures teach us to carry one another’s burden but it does not teach me to seek to unburden myself by way of burdening you. When my sister says she is tired, my job is to help her rest not lecture her on how to be more energetic.

    It is also my job to do my own homework. I appreciate that your perspective will assist me in this but that I own my pursuit of knowledge. And the thing about the pursuit of knowledge is that it is an eternal pursuit.

    It is also my job to seek maturity. It didn’t take reading Anthony Bradley to see the gap between what my reformed brethren say in the spotlight and do out of it, No, it took being burned myself by a leadership culture more interested in preservation of position and elevation of personal brand for me to see these holes. Only then did I look around and see.

    I would hear men like the leader of my own SBC’s ERLC make amazing points about how a significant part of the path toward racial reconciliation requires a change of leadership culture so that people who look like me will begin to be ministered to and led and inspired by men who look like you. And yet, when I would go to the ERLC website, I would see a staff and inner circle that looks and sounds just like this denominational leader. And yet, when my own (former) pastor and staff would urge, compel, and all but brow beat his flock into “wokeness”, I would see a pastor with a racially (and regionally) homogenous staff consistently add the same type of man to this staff at each position opening.

    My sister, this is not your mess to fix. And while, specifically, it is no longer mine to fix, the wider flaw that created this problem is definitely mine to attend to because it exists in my own flesh. Its name is not “white supremacy” or “white privilege”. Its name is “sin” and is expressed in a love of self over a love of others.

    I’m not enlightened and I’m not woke. But I am your flawed brother.

    And I love a good cup of coffee and would love to make you a cup whenever you’re in North Texas. 🙂

  10. Tamara Johnson

    Thanks, Kara! I actually had the thought about how ironic it was for me to put energy into writing a piece about not putting energy into educating people 🙂 This article is supposed to be a bridge, but a healthy one. It should give myself and other marginalized persons in the church the freedom to not be trampled underfoot by forces that demand their labor with no matched effort. Exhortation requires truth and accountability within the love.

  11. David Atkinson

    Thx Kara

  12. Kara

    Thank you for sharing your heart and thoughts, and for the thoughtful comments and responses, too.

    As a white person, I have learned much from this blog much over the years. I appreciate each writer’s investment in educating others through this platform, among many others.

    I completely respect anyone’s decision to step back from the personal education of all the white people around them who would exhaust and traumatize them! I have followed the debate about educating white people among my friends for years—I appreciate it is nuanced and complicated, and hard! May we share your burden more and more.

    Is it ironic that by writing this you have continued to educate us? Hopefully it’s in a way that isn’t personally draining. I pray your article will be an instrument to teach and thereby protect others’ wounded hearts.

  13. Brooke Thomas


    I think the scripture you are referencing is in relation to The Torah, which was still being heavily debated at the time about which aspects of Torah gentiles were to follow and how gentiles “fit” within the Jewish traditions, geologies, observances, etc.

    Ironically, the second part of that scripture has surely been used to try to silence people like you and I who are sometimes considered “divisive” because we refuse to remain silent concerning Biblical mandates of justice, fairness, love, empathy, and unity. I do not think it applies in reference to the article or my reply, though. I don’t think we as “woke” Christians nor conservative evangelicals are intentionally being divisive (for the most part). We are just not walking in unity and we are not of the same mind.

    Gross negligence or intentional misuse/disobedience of scripture is what would lead to me “shake the dust from my feet” concerning a particular congregation, group of people, or individual. Thankfully, I have not yet encountered that, and I don’t think that seems to be what Tamara is advocating either, though I don’t want to speak for her. More like “I’ma love you from over there cause y’all working my nerves”, LOL! Which I COMPLETELY get, but just don’t think now is the time to do this, and I think is the opposite of what scripture admonishes us to do with our brothers and sisters in Christ with whom we disagree on how exactly to apply Biblical principles in the real world.

    I think The Body is on the edge of something that could lead to great repentance and revival within The Church and that is why the enemy is trying us so hard. Has us so on edge with one another. Has us so tired and weary of one another. But in our weakness He makes us strong, and we have to continue to persevere. Because it’s not just those of us who “get it” concerning social, racial, and economic justice who are sick and tired. White evangelicals are tired too. Tired of feeling like they are misunderstood, tired of trying to understand but being rebuffed if they don’t try in the ways we want them to, tired of all being painted with the same brush, tired of having to explain their voting for DT while we simultaneously justify and excuse away voting for Hillary Clinton, someone just as morally reprehensible, albeit in a different way.

    If we are all tired and all ready to just say whatever, then we will miss what God is trying to do. I know none of us want that.

    Speaking of of tired…I am exhausted and may or may not reply to any other comments directed toward me, but if anyone wants to talk more please feel free to look me up on FB and we can do so at a later time. I appreciate everyone here trying to understand one another. I pray we can all get on one accord with each other and the Holy Spirit!

  14. Brooke Thomas

    Hi Tamara,
    Thank you for taking the time to reply! Yes, I totally get the fatigue. I go in and out of seasons where it is just so exhausting to attend church and fellowships, and get impatient with the apparent lack of progress. But thank God that so far, when I have come to my breaking point time after time, He has always provided some encouragement…some glimmer of hope that renews my strength. I pray that He continues to do the same for you and other believers who are just plain old tired of The Body not rising to the level righteousness that our Savior expects of us and has told us is possible through Him.

  15. Tamara Johnson

    Hello, Brooke. Thank you for your comments. I opted to write an internet article on my experience with doing racial reconciliation, which meant that I leaned on assuming others in similar situations would fill in the contextual nuances of addressing race in the church, since writing an answer to every “what about” and “what if” would take volumes of books, and I did not have time for that, and I still do not.

    This letter was addressed to white Christians as one family member to another, to encourage accountability. It was written on behalf of other PoC Christians I’ve talked to who have also felt fatigued by the unequal carrying of the load, especially because we are the victims of racism (see piece for more on that). I am grateful for others who are continuing the work full charge. I am pulling back for my own health, but I still maintain relationship with my white brothers and sisters. In fact, this piece was written right after I had one of those draining interactions, and before I was about to have another one. I put up boundaries about when to chat about race because of love, and I hope that our white family puts more effort into dismantling racism because of love, too.

    By virtue of being the only dark face in many white spaces, the topic of race is ever present, and I am always on call to speak on it. Therefore, in love, I will put up healthy boundaries to make sure that I am not the savior in this situation, but Jesus is. Let me know if you would like to talk about this further.

  16. David Atkinson


    Gotya… well, what r ur limits? When do u shake dust off ur feet…

    I.e. Titus
    But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.
    Titus 3:9‭-‬11 NIV

    U have a situation u want to share or just know what they r in general? I’m trying to calibrate myself..

  17. Brooke Thomas

    I don’t have a problem with re-directing. I do it also. The tone is my problem. ANd not only of this article, but many I have read here lately. I never accused anyone of being a poor or malicious Christian, but it is heavily implied or stated in many of The Witness articles that white evangelicals are this. I stated that much of what I have seen lately does not seem rooted in God’s Word, but elsewhere, just as many perceptions and attitudes of white evangelicals are not rooted in God’s Word, but elsewhere. What’s good for goose is good for the gander.

  18. Brooke Thomas

    Hi David. As far as my perspective…I am a 34 year old black woman who is a member of a non-denominational white evangelical church in North Carolina. We have been members for about 5 years. Though raised in black churches, we made the decision to join for various reasons, primarily the teaching, the family integrated structure, and it not being program/committee driven. My family, along with with one black woman, and a mixed white/Mexican family, are the only ones of color in a church of a few hundred. Myself and my husband are typically the only ones who tend to speak candidly concerning topics that are “controversial”, and that is usually on social media or in personal conversations with other church members unless we are specifically asked publicly or certain topics arise in a group study or meeting. You know we have to make sure we are not seen as “out of order” or “divisive” 😉

    Last year our elders asked to meet with us to discuss race-related topics. They also met separately with the other members of color to gain their perspective on some things. They also asked my husband to speak about racism during a men’s breakfast.

    My church as a whole, and many individual members have a LOOOONNNG way to go in their understanding, empathy, and most importantly, ACTION as it pertains to race related sin within The Body, our nation, and our culture. So many past articles on The Witness have resonated with my husband and I as we have shared experiences with many of the writers.

    However, the tone I have gathered from The Witness lately is not one I can get behind. I used to refer church members to articles that may have been challenging for them to read, but were full of truth and supported by God’s Word. But I have even been hurt and offended (and bewildered) by the direction I have seen many of the writings taking. Reading some of the recent articles, particularly since the name change, I don’t see attempts to renew, strengthen, encourage, and edify black Christians in our exhausting struggle to lovingly and humbly admonish our white brothers and sisters to be willing to face the truth about sin that has run rampant in our nation and churches from their inception. I more often see that basically, “WE ARE DONE.” I see guilt tripping and condescension instead of simply speaking God’s Word, juxtaposing that against past and current treatment of POC in our culture, and then trusting that the Holy Spirit will bring repentance and submission in their hearts in this area.

    That is my perception. It’s cool if you and others have a different one 🙂

  19. Elodie Quetant

    I think you should consider other articles as well, especially from this author: who writes of similar feelings and journey but with a different outcome. Please do not regulate or criminalize the burdens and feelings of your brothers and sisters. It could be that you may only want to read things that you agree with and I would implore you to consider the journeys of all Christians. Just because this dear sister chooses to direct people to other resources instead of continually being that resource when she is not able, does not mean she is a poor or malicious Christian.

  20. David Atkinson


    I’m responding bc I’m not sure what perspective ur writing from.
    To your question about giving up ok ppl, read this from Dr Anthony Bradley

  21. Kim Parker, LCSW

    The article was needed but your response was inspirational. Thank you!

  22. Brooke Thomas

    I know y’all are tired. We all are. But the attitudes, behaviors, and approaches I have seen advocated on The Witness as of late do not seem to be rooted in what Christ has compelled us to do as His believers and followers. If they love us they should do their homework, most definitely. Cosign. BUT…what should we do if we love THEM? Give up on them? Throw up our hands? Resign ourselves to self-segregation? Refuse to educate where there is a willingness to learn? This is the exact opposite of what we should be doing. Do not grow weary in well-doing brothers and sisters. And let us do well in a spirit of humility and patience, even as we may also be righteously indignant and exasperated. Jesus was both, we can be also.

    “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load…And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:1-5, 9-10

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.” Matthew 5:38-42

  23. Tamara Johnson

    Bless you, Kate. I was this close to responding, and then I remembered why I wrote this article in the first place. This is not me throwing in the towel – it’s an exhortation for showing love in specific ways.

  24. David Atkinson


    You should realize that you’re the person she’s talking about

  25. David Atkinson


    I stopped at “perhaps you can make a list…”

    Do your homework. You really can.

  26. David Atkinson


    You’re the person she’s talking about. After the “my concern is will u give up on me?” I stopped reading.

    It’s ok. Do ur homework

  27. Sharon Bratcher

    Most white folks do not know that there needs to be reconciliation, as they do not realize there is a rift.
    They (and formerly I) think that the Civil Rights movement of the 60s and 70s fixed everything. If people like
    MLK had never brought problems to the public attention, nothing would have happened. I don’t have an
    answer for you. I see that it must be very frustrating and it must cause great fatigue. I don’t know how
    people who don’t know there is a problem will learn of it without being shown the way. Perhaps you can make
    a list of websites and articles to read and movies to watch and just hand it to people and suggest they get back to you in a
    month after they have done that homework. Our son in law and daughter did this for us.

  28. kate Hunicke-Smith

    MR G. Johnson, why on earth would you respond to MS. Johnson’s article by asking her to work harder to “seek after YOUR heart?” Why would you respond to this by centering yourself? If you want to talk about your fatigue, write your own article. Why could you not find it in yourself to say something like “I know sister, it’s exhausting. I wish you rest and for white folks to step up and do their homework.”?

  29. Kristin Small

    thank you

  30. Gabriel Johnson

    Ms. Johnson, my heart breaks for you as I can imagine much of what you have had to deal with, both from those who are enemies and those who are well meaning, but I’m sure there are experiences you have had that I have not.
    I can sympathize with the frustration, especially from the comments and lack of urgency you hear from those we converse with. Yet you try to remind yourself of grace and swallow the bitter taste and move forward.
    My concern is, will you give up on me? As a POC who might disagree with you on some of your solutions or have a different take on steps to be taken, how long will you seek after my heart?
    I am married to a wonderful woman who is in a cult. As you can imagine, this can make things very hard at times in our marriage. It’s been hard for over 15 years. At one point she would lash out and say things purposely to cut me deep and cause me to back off. We would go for days on and off through the years with her not even speaking and barely looking at me. When can I give up?
    I say these things to you not as a direct parallel, but as a reminder that in Christ we are joined to our spouses, as to members of the body of Christ, in a way that transcends “draining interactions”.
    Take a break, heal your wounded heart in the fact that you are not the one responsible for turning the hearts and actions of the people you talk to, you are the messenger. Revel in the fact that the Holy Spirit is the one who takes away hearts of stone, as he did yours, and you may have the honor of being the means by which he does so for others. Then, maybe limit your conversations with those who do not profess Christ, since there is no basis for reconciliation without him, but get back in the game. The opportunity you have been given is a blessing not a curse.
    “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news”.

    In Christ

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