Hello friends! It’s been awhile since I pressed pause on this series for the second time this year. Twice in one year, we have walked through major world events–the pandemic, and a great reckoning with racial injustice–that demanded careful reflection, Christ-like sensitivity, and wisdom. I didn’t want this series to keep barreling through as if nothing had happened, which is why this space has been silent for awhile. But today we are back with the right message and the right voice to kick us off!
Deborah Newbould is 25 years old and lives in the UK with her husband Jonathan. She is an Education Mental Health Practitioner, and she has been blogging since she was 14. Her heart is for people to know and comprehend the depths of Jesus’s love for them, and that heart shines through in the message below. Her words are full of both lament and hope, two things that we often struggle to hold together. But we need to. To say that Jesus came to save the world is to confess that the world indeed needs saving. We feel its utter brokenness in so many ways right now, and I am grateful for Deborah sharing her journey of navigating this tension on the particular topic of race.
Eyes on the Cross
by Deborah Newbould
Jesus turned to Simon about the woman still weeping at his feet and said,
“Do you see this woman?”
For those of you who don’t know me, something to note is that I wear glasses. I can genuinely see very little without them. If I take my glasses off, I can’t read, I can’t watch TV, and most frustratingly, I can’t see people. I know they’re there, I see them, but I don’t see them. And this feels like a metaphor for the world right now, because never in my life have I felt human beings aren’t really seeing each other more than when it come to the topic of racial injustice.
All my life, I have stood firmly against racism. I believe whole heartedly that BLACK LIVES MATTER. No ifs, no buts. They matter to God and they should matter to all of us. But all my life I have watched people downplay, and deny racism. Tell me I’m exaggerating or overplaying it. And each time an outcry comes along, I deal with it the best I can. With God’s help, I am able to find some peace.
However this time, on this occasion, peace has not been as easy to come by. I feel enraged by ignorance over and over again. Social media is a great revealer of things, and this season has revealed so much. Particularly about people I consider to be close to me. I have tried to ignore it, I have tried to rise above, and I have tried to pray for them. But I am tired, I am in a lot of pain, and I am numb. For a while I was unsure I would even be able to look some friends in the face again. I am struggling to understand how it’s possible not to believe that black lives matter, and the worst part is that many people who believe this are at my place of work, and at my church. So I thought I was done.
I was reading the gospel of Luke and I came across this scripture. Luke 7:44 reads, “Jesus turned to Simon about the woman still weeping at his feet and said, ‘Do you see this woman…?’” This verse stuck out to me, and has done so for years. It is the verse on which I ground my people-based interactions. After researching it I found that Jesus was not asking if Simon could see the woman with his eyes. He was asking if he could see the woman with his heart. If he could have compassion on her, if he could see more than just what was on the surface.
And this Scripture spoke to my soul.
If you are like me–at the end of your rope, done with explaining, done with fighting, done with trying to make people realize, if you have run out of patience and resolve, if you are genuinely struggling with the idea of being in the same room with some people ever again, if you are tired of people not truly seeing–
Remember the cross.
For every person you feel is blind to your pain, look to the cross of Jesus Christ, because he sees everything.
But this also means that what Jesus feels for me, he also feels for the people who hurt me. The cross is for me, and the cross is for them. If I believe that Jesus Christ, came down from heaven in the form of a baby, breached universes to get to earth, transcended time and space to get on a cross and die to save my soul, then he did that for them too. It goes both ways.
If you are reading this and feeling overwhelmed reading another blog about racial injustice, I want you to ask yourself: do you believe that Jesus died for you? If you do, then remember that he did it for others, even those who are very different than you. So even if you don’t believe the ‘hype,’ even if your view of the black lives matter movement is one of cynicism, it is still your calling as a bible believing Christian to SEE people. Not with your eyes, but with your heart. See them how Jesus would. Choose to be “Cross Eyed.”
Others of you are exhausted from constantly forgiving, and constantly rising above, and constantly turning the other cheek, and I am one of you. But when I’m tempted to get into that place, I ask God to bring to my remembrance that he never got tired of me. He never left me, he never gave up on me, and He will never give up on his mission to save my soul and restore me to the righteousness He created me for.
Friends, I want you to hear me carefully. I am in no way saying let this go. I am not saying perpetuate and fan the flames of ignorance by being silent. That is the opposite of what I am saying. Continue to speak out against it and openly condemn racism on every platform you have access to. But do not allow it to draw you into bitterness and unforgiveness. When you have the strength, educate and correct with love. When you don’t, remember the cross and leave them to God. We are in a fight for justice, but we are also in a fight for our peace. And we could all stand to be a little more Cross Eyed.
If you’ve been struggling these last couple of months, I am so sorry. And I pray that the God of perfect peace comforts you where you are and gives you the wisdom to know when to speak, and when not to. He loves you and He can see you.
I love you,