rebelling against low expectations

Ahmaud Arbery and The Church’s Response to Racism


Several weeks ago, I found out about the tragic murder of an innocent African-American young man.

I’m not going to lie, I’m angry. I’m hurt. My heart breaks for Ahmaud’s family, who have been through so much loss and are just now receiving justice. My heart hurts for the African-American community and for those who are afraid that something like this will happen to them.

Through this situation, God has challenged me not to be silent, to fight for justice and truth in any way I can. He has shown me His heart for Ahmaud, his family, and for those in similar situations. He’s shown me how much His heart is breaking.

And I refuse to remain silent.

Here are some thoughts that I have on the murder of Ahmaud and on all racism.

We Are all created by God

The thing that hurts the most when I think about Ahmaud is that this man was created in the image of God.

As I was beginning to write this article, I was reminded of Psalm 139, where David talks about how God knows him intimately, so much so that God watched David as he traveled and rested at home, there is no place that David went that God wasn’t there too, and that He created David with His own hands and formed him when he was in his mother’s womb. The relationship David describes is intimate and personal, from before birth to every moment of every day throughout all his life.

When we read this chapter, it’s easy to apply this to our own lives, but I want to make my point by putting Ahmaud’s name into the verses.

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of Ahmaud’s body
and knit him together in his mother’s womb.”
“You watched Ahmaud as he was being formed in utter seclusion,
as he was woven together in the dark of the womb.”
“How precious are your thoughts about Ahmaud, O God.
They cannot be numbered!”
(vs. 14, 15, and 17)

This isn’t true just about Ahamud or ourselves, but every single person in the entire world.

What if we stopped acting and thinking that Ahmaud and others who have suffered (or currently are) because of social and racial injustices are just another number? What if we began to see them truly as a child of God, and started fighting with and for them? Because every child of God deserves to be loved and seen as who they are—someone who was created perfectly by a Perfect and loving God.

We ARe all created in the image of God

One of my favorite things about the story of creation is how God made the first humans. Genesis 1:27 gets me so excited:

“So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.”

God created man in His own image. Wow. How crazy, cool and amazing is that??

Here’s the thing: It hasn’t changed.

People with dark skin, light skin and everywhere in between were and are created in the image of God. You carry the likeness of God. I carry the likeness of God.

Ahmaud carried the likeness of God.

This young man had characteristics and gifts that God gave him that no one else has.

Ahmaud had traits that he inherited from his Father and represented the image of God in a way that no one else is able to.

And all of this is true for everyone else, regardless of their skin color, regardless of where they are from or live, regardless of their looks, and regardless of what language they speak.

God loves diversity

From the very beginning of time, God has created us with differences and not favored one people over another.  Yes, the Israelites were His chosen people, and they were the ones who God would use to tell the world about Him. But all other nations were still created by Him as well.

One of my favorite chapters that best represents this is Psalm 87. I want to share verses 4 and 5 with you:

“Among those who know me I mention Rahab and Babylon;
behold, Philistia and Tyre, with Cush
“This one was born there,” they say.
And of Zion it shall be said,
“This one and that one were born in her”;
for the Most High himself will establish her.”

What the author of this chapter is saying is that God loves people from the different nations, people who are different from the Israelites, and He desperately wants them to know Him and be a part of His family.

Over these past few years, God has shown me and given me His heart for diversity and for people who are different from me.

Some of my favorite places in the world are not actually in America, but they are actually places like Ethiopia, Mozambique, Egypt, and Turkey.

Some of my closest friends are from other countries and cultures and they are different from me. We have different backgrounds, have different first/main languages and have different views of God.

I have family members and siblings who don’t look like me or have the same skin color as I do.

And you know what? I love it! I wouldn’t want it to be any other way. I love having a diverse family, I love having friends from around the world, and I love going to other countries.

My life would be so boring without diversity and differences. Can you imagine living a life where we all look the same, act the same way, speak the same language and all come from the same background?

God made diversity as something to enjoy, not to destroy. Diversity was meant to bring us together, not tear us apart.

To those who are suffering because of racial injustices…

I want to talk to those who are suffering or have suffered like Ahmaud, his family and community. Or maybe you’re African-American or another ethnicity, or maybe you’re afraid that something like what happened to Ahmaud might happen to you.

I want you to know that you are welcome here.

You are loved. You are seen. You have a voice and are welcomed to use it. You make this world a better and brighter place. We can’t imagine our lives without you.

And I want you to know that you are not alone.

I’m a white girl, so I can’t and won’t pretend to understand everything of what you’re going through. But what I can do is promise that I am here to stand with you. I am here to fight alongside you. That I won’t be afraid to say “This is not okay.”

The Church is not made to sit back and ignore those who are suffering or ignore what’s going on in our world. We were made to stand up. To fight for justice. To bring light and hope into this world. Share on X

I know I won’t be the only one here for you. You have hundreds of brothers and sisters across the country who are on your side, who love and appreciate you, who will stand up and fight.

Because that is what God has called us, as the Church to do. The Church is not made to sit back and ignore those who are suffering or ignore what’s going on in our world. We were made to stand up. To fight for justice. Love and care for those who are hurting. To bring light and hope into this world.

To seek justice. Love mercy. And walk humbly. (Micah 6:8)

What can we do?

You might be reading this article and be thinking, “Okay, that’s great, but how do I live that out?”

One way is to use your voice. Talk about it. You have a voice for a reason. Talk about it on social media, or in person, with your family and friends. Reach out to those in your community who may be affected by racial injustices. Let them know you are on their side. Befriend them. Fight for them.

This is our time, Church. We cannot stay silent. Share on X

Another way is through prayer.

Racism goes all the way back to the beginning of our country’s history. And it needs to not go any further. One way to fight against it is through spiritual warfare.

As a country and as a Church we need to get on our knees and battle against the lies of the enemy. Pray for Ahmaud’s family and for others like them. Pray for those who are racists, that the Lord would convict their hearts and bring them to Himself.

This is our time, Church. We cannot stay silent.

Editor’s Note: Upon publishing this article, the Rebelution team has heard of other recent occurrences of great injustice and racism. While this article specifically addresses Ahmaud, the truths it shares apply to every instance of racism and we pray it speaks out against all injustice and speaks for all those unjustly treated. As the body of Christ, we hope and watch for the day when all evil is demolished and Christ is exalted over all. Until then, we pray and plead with the Father for justice to be done, hearts changed, and protection over every individual of  every ethnicity. And we work and use our voices to speak for the oppressed and take a stand for righteousness and truth. May we not be silent and may “justice roll down like water.” (Amos 5:23, 24)

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About the author

Kelsey Kaleb

Kelsey is twenty-five year old, Atlanta-native missionary, serving in East Africa with her husband. She loves everything about missions and Africa, and has never lost her love and passion for writing.

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rebelling against low expectations

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