News outlets and social media have been erupting over issues of racial inequality. There are protests online, protests in the streets, and symbolic protests during the national anthem at NFL games.
Benjamin Watson has a unique perspective on those matters. He’s an African-American, and he plays professional football. He was on our Focus on the Family Broadcast a few weeks ago challenging men to step up in their support of their wives and to be passionate about helping them to be great mothers.
He’s back with us for an honest, straightforward conversation about racial reconciliation. We discussed how Christians can speak into the racial divide to promote true healing rather than cause further division. Benjamin shares wisdom from Scripture and from his own experiences.
He recently wrote this in a Facebook post:
“I shed tears tonight because I realized that although I was only a few yards away, I could not protect my baby girl from the words of those who see her as an outsider at an age of seven.
“I shed tears tonight because I remember the same sad feeling she described to me when I was a youth as the implication of skin tone abruptly and unashamedly came into focus. The words that cut her cut me. Some wounds never heal completely.
“I shed tears tonight because I know the struggle for her has just started and her journey at times will be lonely and unkind. As her daddy, her prince, my charge is to slay the dragons in her path, yet my reach is limited, and I fear the day their fire destroys her, leaving me, and us, to rebuild her and smooth over the scars.
“I shed tears tonight because when the differences of her skin were attacked for the first time, her quiet spirit responded in strength and truth. God made us all different, she replied. This makes me so proud.
“As much as I cry tonight, I cannot prevent these types of storms from coming. But through our love and instruction, I can continually affirm her identity in Him, so that when they blow, the pain will never be enough to totally uproot her.
“I shed tears tonight because it’s just kids playing soccer. Why does this always have to happen to us? Lord, protect her young heart and fill it evermore with you.”
As a white male, I admit I’ve never had to express the kind of sentiment Benjamin did about his daughter. Nobody has suggested my kids are different because of the color of their skin. I can’t say I understand the experience Benjamin and other members of minority groups have described, but I can listen to those who have experienced it.
We can all do that. Every believer in Christ can offer healing to our nation’s racial division. Galatians 3:28 tells us “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Christ tore down the dividing wall. The hope of the believer on this earth and in the earth to come is Christ and the unity He brings.
As Benjamin says, “This not a skin problem, it’s a sin problem.”
Join us for “Forging a Path to Racial Reconciliation.” Benjamin has written a book called “Under Our Skin: Getting Real About Race and Getting Free from the Fears and Frustrations That Divide Us.”