I really empathize with Peter in John’s Gospel as he makes the bold statement, “I will lay down my life for you.” Like Peter, we are quick to name the things we are doing right. In the case of working toward racial justice, claiming the ways we are not racist is easy. “I don’t use racial slurs.” “I have friends of color.” “I read this in-depth article about racism in our country.”

lay down, racial justice

A Black Lives Matter “die-in.”

I also really empathize with Jesus’ quick quip: but will you really? Too often, I have felt silenced or “othered” by folks quick to make “I am not a racist” claims. Too often, I have witnessed these folks perpetuate systems that prioritize white voices and leave the voices of people of color out.

Often, we are afraid of naming when we are racist. As Peter’s fear caused him to deny his friend Jesus, our fear prevents us from naming for ourselves moments when we are complicit in and contribute to racism. Our fear prevents us from taking the first steps toward laying down our lives to work toward racial justice.

As Peter was later poignantly forgiven by the resurrected Christ and committed his life (eventually laying it down) to following Jesus’ teachings, we must remember to continually move past our fears and our guilt to build the racially just world that we long for.

Reflection Questions

  • What does it mean for you to lay down your life for Jesus and racial justice?
  • What fears prevent you from following Jesus by working toward racial justice?

[Editor’s Note: This reflection was originally published as part of Lift Every Voice: A Lenten Series Toward Racial Justice.]

3 replies
  1. Dean Gray
    Dean Gray says:

    But are you been racist by only mentioning ” white voices ” , no other race was put so in a way you are actually the problem and you will not be accountable for your actions. Every race in the world can be deemed racist but only one race gets called out which I find hypocritical, what is your opinion on China targeting muslims/middle eastern ? , what about how middle eastern countries on how they treat African workers ? and how white people were treated in South Africa/Zimbabwe ? ( I purposely did not mention white people because there are examples elsewhere on here ) all 3 questions not one has a white stereotype so will not gain any traction. The real problem is that people never look at there own race and dictate how other races should behave and act, plus the fact people believe they are above democracy and the law ( Example a white statue was removed and illegally replaced by a protestor statue without approval ) . I’m white and not ashamed of my pigment nor am I racist ( assuming I am is racist right ? ) , I can say this because it’s true ( I can get character references from quite a few countries and people cause of my job ) and I will not be judged by any person that walks this Earth, only God can judge me not you or the media. ( This is my own opinion and is not in any way to offend the writer or visitors )

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