Embracing Ninevah The Call of the Black Community

My people, my people…this is one of the hardest messages I’ve written; it worked on me before sharing it with you!  Black people, we have a work to do and white people you have an assignment too if we really want to heal racial friction.

Recently I was driving in the passenger seat as my hubby drove (he doesn’t like other people to drive him lol) and the phrase “Cross Cultural Healing” came to the forefront of my mind.  

Cross Cultural Healing= Two distinct cultural groups mourning and celebrating buried experiences together.

Cross Cultural Healing is not an attempt to:

•Forget the Past

•Ignore Cultural Distinctiveness

•Become Culturally United

•Move On Quickly, or

•Blindly Reconcile.

All of these attempts have occurred in the past, have been proven not to work and frustrate our plans to have any genuine form of unity.

We are not called to forget the past; we need a Deuteronomy of Remembrance and Stones of Memorial are sacred.  We are not called to Culturally Blend without distinction; God made ethos groups via tribal units.  We are not called to quickly move on without acknowledgment, repentance, healing and celebration of the past.  And we cannot reconcile if we do not even know the stories that have caused deep rooted pains.  We have to do the hard work of detailed confession.

This is not the time to provide cheap apologies such as, “I’m sorry for whatever I did to hurt you.”  We need to have full disclosure, identificational repentance.  If a woman’s husband commits adultery he is responsible to confess the specific sin of adultery, not “for hurting her” in general.  How much more so the sin of chattel slavery?

Now you may be thinking at this point, I never had a slave and can’t be held responsible for the sins of my forefathers.  And to some degree this is true.  But maybe this isn’t just about responsibility. Maybe it’s about humility, healing and honoring the past.

It’s about placing our brother first.

The prophet Daniel was really good at this!  He didn’t commit the sins of his people Israel but his goal was to heal the breach between Israel and God.  So Daniel included hisself with his people in confession:

I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame, as at this day, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you.  Daniel 9:3-7

We are culturally individualistic, especially the European mindset, but Biblically we are indentified communally.

God sees both you as an individual and you as a people group.

Daniel’s humility taught us that we can stand in the gap for the sins of our people group in order to bring healing.

His people were being oppressed for their sins but he knew confession (even if he was personally pure) would be the first step towards healing.  Think of an ambassador to another nation.  That ambassador represents their nation.

That ambassador understands the historical pain points of both nations.  And she is able to speak on behalf of her people with aim to create conflict resolutions.

We have two people groups, black and white, with a historical backdrop including pains that continue today.  For blacks, that process has never ended only evolved from Chattel Slavery to Jim Crow Injustice to Disproportionate Prisonment.  The cultural view of many blacks is communal pain while the cultural view of many whites is individual detachment from the pain.

We can only heal once we get all this sorted out in our minds first.  Two Cultures- European and African based.  Two Ways of Thinking.  Two Distinct Experiences.  Trying to Honor Our Different Ways of Thinking and Experiences in the Same Location.  Like a marriage- we have to respect these differences while trying to have civil encounters.

We don’t have to agree to honor disagreements.

With that said, there is something newer I want to bring to the table for the Black Community to consider.  This is not a popular message but it is meaningful.  It will heal.  It will empower if taken seriously.

And we do not have to deny our culture to do it; if it is done right.

For too long we have played the game.  We want to be white in order to reconcile.  Let me rephrase that, we have been expected to be culturally white in order to reconcile.  This is a demand of man, not God.

When I was in Africa last I saw this.  The Zambians worship vibrantly, dancing, clapping hands, beating drums, smiling, singing.  But something was off!  When they got around white Americans they “toned it down”.  

I thought to myself, this isn’t how we worship; this isn’t us.  

The following day the same exact Zambians were with one another and praised in their style.  They went in!  Vibrant, colorful expression.  I was like, yeah!  That’s my people!

As I sat with the white Christian missionaries over lunch they shared how “emotional” the Africans were and saw this as “emotionalism over theological soundness”, which is a misunderstanding of a cultural difference.

We do the same in America.  We “tone it down” when white people come around because we know we will be misunderstood and unappreciated.  Then we go back “home” letting our full expression come out.  It’s not too much at home; we are embraced.

The problem is that we can’t sustain this duality forever; well, we can but we will burn ourselves out and never be able to heal the real us-es.

White people have to come to terms with who we are and allow us to be us even in white spaces.  It takes humility to realize that what we are seeing is “different” and we need to learn culture first before making judgments.

Black people have to be themselves because they are fearfully and wonderfully made.  And because they are called!

We are called to go to Ninevah!

When I first got this word, I had that sinking feeling in my chest- the one where your heart sinks to the bottom of your stomach because you know you’re about to be pulled into something you’d rather not do.  Go to Ninevah Jade and call them to repentance.

That’s when I realized I had more in common with Jonah than I thought.  I wasn’t trying to go to Ninevah.  We’re not trying to go to Ninevah.  We’ve been there before and they just do not get it!

And they are racist.  And they hurt us without even knowing it.  And we don’t even want them to repent at this point because it’s getting on our nerves.

Im tired of asking my husband to take out the trash or clean up after himself; I’ll just do it.  I’m tired of going to him, pleading with him; I’ll just do it myself  because he’s never going to change.

Thats the attitude of many of us in black America to white Ninevah.  The group of people who have oppressed us historically and evolutionly.  We would rather sit in the belly of a fish than to go to her.

But we are called to go fully ourselves with all or attitude, boldness, gifting and charisma to call her once again to humble repentance.

Crazy right?

I realized that my heart was in that place.  I wanted to chill with my people because my people were safe and just be the “white safe” Jade when around other people groups.  It was easier to do this and I didn’t feel like going through the “you’re too black drama”.  

But God was calling me to both- be All You, A Strong Black Woman (not an Angry Black Woman) and be All You, A Prophetic Voice to both Black and White America.

Call them back to God.

This is a cry for us to call them back to God because the land is crying out for justice.  The sins of rape, slavery, lynchings, KKK involvement, selfishly turning the blind eye, Jim Crow, murdering black boys, unjust prisonment, racial slurs, white privilege, harshness and racial profiling are crying out from the land.

If Ninevah repents like they did when Jonah came to them, will we be disappointed that they did?  Because we are so upset with who they have become and how they have treated us?  Or will we be glad that they came to themselves?

I for one want to know that my heart is right, expecting them to take responsibility for their actions as a generational and national people group.  I want to know I did my part.

This is a heart check: will we be ready to speak the truth in love black people?  Or will we stay in our comfort zones because we have simply had enough.

We need the Sojourner Truths to arise in our day, going to white spaces with a call to repentance.  It is not our job to change hearts but only to speak the truth. Then their blood will not be on our hands!  

Where are the Watchmen of our Nation?  I believe a few may be reading this today!  Please follow the call.

Love & Blessings,

Jade Lee

Ezekiel 33:6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.