We must listen. We must learn.
June 2020

By a member of SEND’s Diaspora | North America team — “Take courage, it is I, don’t be afraid.” Why did Jesus need to say such words to his disciples in Mark 6? Because people can feel fearful when they see or experience something unexpected or traumatic. Fear can lead to paralysis or can lead us to lash out at those around us.   

As a mission community we serve among disadvantaged and disenfranchised people who have lived under the bondage of fear, the world over. We have seen firsthand the pain and effects of fear, racial injustice, and sin in general on peoples and nations, and it isn’t pretty.  

This past week, we have been reminded that we in the United States have many black neighbors who live in fear and face injustice, with no end in sight. I say reminded because we have been down this road before.What will make this time any different for us than past events? Will we take the time to stop and ask: “How can I make a lasting difference in my community? Will my neighbors, whom God made in his image, see God’s love in me?” 

To develop relationships, missionaries develop a posture of listening and asking. Listening to learn a new language. Listening to what people have on their hearts. Listening to what they believe about the supernatural world. Asking questions: How do they know what is true? How do they define success? What traumas have they faced, and how do those sufferings shape their worldview? 

Can we not take this wisdom and become listeners and learners of our black neighbors around us in America, too? 

We are all fearfully and wonderfully made by God. Each of us is unique, and one is not better than another, but rather under God we are all his children who need his mercy and grace. May God give us his grace to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth and in our own communities. May God give us grace to love one another, as he loved us.  

Don’t be a bystander; be the one willing to reach out in love and grace to your neighbors, and to those whom Christ puts on your heart. Remember Jesus’ words: “Take courage, it is I, don’t be afraid.” If we can take our eyes off ourselves and see that Jesus is with us, that should help us see the world with new eyes and a tender heart. May he give us his grace and strength to shine the light and love of Christ to our hurting neighbors. 

Photo by munshots on Unsplash.

SEND teams serve in more than 20 countries around the world. Explore our ministry guides to learn about the cultures and people groups we serve.
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