Listening, compassion, and truth

I seem to always get some kind of epiphany on my Saturday morning runs. I was thinking about how so many in black and brown communities have felt so unheard. I mean, we ALL want to be heard, right? I personally think my own children have the loudest voices ever and demand to be heard way more often than they ought. And when my kids feel as if I’m not listening to them, they lose their minds. They get so mad or throw up their arms in frustration or just yell louder. Sometimes it’s all three at once.

And I’m not sure why, but that thought made me think of the first big school shootings that happened way back in 1999 at Columbine High School. Although it was a wealthy school and those boys that committed that atrocity by most standards were very privileged, they felt very unheard. They felt marginalized. And with no one to listen to them and no one reaching out to them, they lost it. They heartbreakingly lost it. And those boys took down 13 innocent lives as well as their own that horrible day in April.

There are many differences between Columbine all those years ago and the protests and riots today, but the thread that ties them together is the feeling of being unheard and being marginalized. It’s so easy to sit here and think to myself, “My experience as someone of color has been so different. What is this ‘feeling unheard’ all about?” And I truly think the LORD convicted me by way of those two young white boys.

Listening is key right now and as a Church, we must approach this situation in that posture. I want to listen more than I speak and build relationships with those that may have different experiences than I have, especially the poor and marginalized (who come in all shades). I want to have compassion for my fellow human being. Along those same lines, it’s important to listen to ALL voices. Some voices can’t speak for themselves, such as the unborn, or those who have died such as 2-year-old Ja’Cion Logan, while some can speak and are trying to but are largely ignored, such as the amazing pro-life activist, Bevelyn Beatty, to name a few. They are still there, though. And their lives and voices matter. We need to graciously listen to those with different narratives than the one we know or have been told, even if they are contrary to what we think. We need to listen and recognize all the voices and by doing so, we show that we treat others as we would like to be treated (Luke 6:31).

As Believers, I firmly believe we need to ultimately stand for Truth. There is no true Justice without Truth. Psalm 89:14 says: “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Lovingkindness and truth go before You.” In this verse, the word “righteousness” means: a justness of weights or measures (from This implies righteousness is something we can prove and/or see. We can not allow our emotions to dictate Truth. We know that our hearts, from where our emotions overflow, are desperately wicked (Jer 17:9). I’ve sadly heard many people solely focus on how they have felt as a person of color, and pushed to the side statistics and data that may refute their perceived racism. I agree that if someone has felt they’ve been treated unfairly they need to be heard, regardless if it’s a perceived or actual/verifiable act of racism, but there needs to also be a discussion. Of course, we start by listening, but again, listening to ALL voices, always seeking Truth, and ultimately glorifying God in the process.

Yes, facts are facts. Data is data. But people are people. We’re all sinful. We all misinterpret. We all have hateful and inappropriate thoughts. We all have been guilty of a whole lot of sin. Can you imagine the difference it would have made over 20 years ago if someone would have been willing to listen and point those two boys to Truth? I know they would never have listened to anyone beating them over the head with data or statistics or whatever. But who knows, maybe they would have listened to a friend who reached out to them and offered them a listening ear.

There are definitely other issues besides systemic racism plaguing the black community. There’s no doubt about it. But again, I think it’s important that we (and LORD, I am so including myself here) just listen at this moment. When we see a brother or sister in Christ struggle, don’t pass them by. When a brother or sister in Christ is hurting, hold them (unless there’s a global pandemic. Then just FaceTime them. Ahem).

Compassion. LORD Jesus, give me more compassion. I want eyes that see what Jesus sees and feet that go where Jesus wants me to go. And with that, I also want to be courageous just like Jesus was. Father God, I don’t want to fear man more than I fear You. I also pray that when we need to share difficult Truth, we do it. Not ungraciously. Not in a hurtful way. But also not watering it down. Sometimes, we may need to agree to disagree. And that’s OK. But I pray that we can boldly do whatever the LORD calls us to do, including speaking truth in love.

As the Church body, we need to be unified. Not by color or by language or even by country. But we are unified by the blood of Christ. When one part of that body is hurt, we all hurt. LORD give us humble hearts to be compassionate, accept truth, repent when we need to, and always submit to the authority of God’s Word. I pray that as the Church, we can be an example to those around us of love, repentance, and unflinching truth.

©2024 Mud Hen Mama


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