A black man’s burden


John wants us to keep him on our prayer list for work until he tells us to take him off. “Last time out of work was 3 years. I don’t see it being any better this time around. In fact, with that meaner, tougher nation thing … it will likely be worse.”

John and Mary are an interracial couple “and already are feeling some of the negatives of that.” People are yelling at Mary about why she’d marry “one of them monkeys; he belongs in the zoo.”

John isn’t sure his marriage can survive this. In his weaker moments, he’s even considering divorce, “not because I don’t love her, but because loving someone different will clearly be a liability for her as time goes on and this attitude in society grows.”

Can you believe this is going on right here in America? Marti was just saying last night that anyone who is not a white male is afraid to come out. “I’m afraid,” she admitted. “You probably won’t get that, but I am.” I was thinking she might be overstating the case, and not three minutes later, I opened up John’s email, and there was everything she was talking about right in front of me.

“There are so many hostile people out there. Many more than I’d thought. And I’m both sad for them and the lies they’ve bought into about others different from them, and fearful for my safety and that of my wife.”

John does realize that to try to spare his wife the liability of being with him would be letting fear rule and breaking both of their hearts. But that doesn’t change the feelings. “I’m wanting to ‘spare’ my wife the ‘burden’ that is ‘me.’”

“I won’t say it’s easy to pray and ask God to be loving, forgiving, grace-filled. It’s not. I personally don’t harbor any animosity toward any race group. I wasn’t raised that way. Mostly, I just feel for someone who feels that kind of hate in their heart, and wonder how I can better express this grace turned outward of which you speak so well.”

John already has the answer, and it is indeed grace turned outward. He expressed it in a second email when he wrote, “I myself was alcoholic, uncaring about anything and anybody and badly in need of transformation myself. That’s what God’s been impressing upon me, anyway. That I’m still not far removed from that.” That’s it right there — that we have to receive God’s grace on a regular basis because we are in the same bag with the worst of “them,” and that instead of fearing or hating them, it is to realize that they, too, are trapped, and their hatred is part of being in need of God’s grace just like we are. Yes, this grace turned outward is a powerful thing and the only thing that will get us through this mess we’re in.

“So please just keep us on the prayer list,” John concludes. “I feel we’ll be needing much prayer in the days to come. The whole country will.”

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4 Responses to A black man’s burden

  1. gregg says:

    I will be praying for you, John. Don’t give up or despair. He is our King.

  2. Andrew P. says:

    This is an appalling situation. As white men married to white women, you and I will never be able to truly “walk in his shoes,” of course, but we can certainly recognize a lack of justice when we see it. Where is this happening? (I don’t really expect you to answer that, of course, I’m just marveling at the situation.) I am left speechless at Marti’s reaction, too. My wife (and daughters) certainly have no such fears. (We have other fears, but nothing like that.)

    I have not seen anything remotely like this. I will have to check with my black friends (especially the black man married to the white woman), to see if they’ve experienced any recent problems here, deep in the heart of Texas. As you can probably tell, the situation you are describing here has left me astonished — and certainly not in a good way. “Oh, the humanity!” Perhaps that’s the question, really — where IS the humanity?

  3. Praying much that the rhetoric will calm down on both sides. That we’ll all look in the mirror and work on fixing what we see there. I’m in Georgia. We have a very mixed reaction here, from African American’s and white folks and folks who are in mixed families of all races. Everyone wants things to be better. Some think the gov’t will do that. Others know it won’t. Some are afraid the gov’t will actually work against everyone. We have no idea what will happen. But, We the People are to keep tabs on it and make sure it stays in line by demanding justice, loving others, and taking the log out of our own eyes. Praying especially for John & Mary.

  4. Mark Seguin says:

    Prayers 4 John… ❤

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