NEW Today’s AMI QT Devotional is written by Esther Chailim. Esther, a graduate of University of California, San Diego, is currently serving as the director of ministries at Kairos Christian Church (San Diego) and pursuing a Masters in Christian Ministry and Leadership at Talbot Theological Seminary.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
About two months ago, news broke about Mr. George Floyd’s murder. This brought many into an awakening of realizing the grave injustices that still exist in our world today. Of course, this isn’t anything new, but this one felt different. I, along with many people in the world, realized that something had to change. I realized that I needed to change. And so, I have not only been on this journey of learning, listening and lamenting, but I have also had to take a really honest look at my own life and the ways in which I have personally played a part in contributing to the racism that exists in our world. It has been a very humbling and tiring season, but I believe that this work must be done in order for changes to happen.
For me, growing up as an Asian American, I witnessed overt racism within my own family, mainly through racial jokes, slurs, and comments. If you were to ask me if my family were racist, I would unquestionable, without hesitation, say, “Yes! Absolutely.” I, however, never thought that in my mind, I could be a racist too. Rather, it was easy for me to point my finger at others and judge others for being that way, while not really looking at my own blind spots. The hardest revelation during this journey has been that I, too, have racial biases that have been formed in me and have impacted the way I see or interact with others.
One of the most eye-opening moments for me was actually a few years back during a conversation I had with a friend who speaks the same native dialect as my family. We were discussing how growing up Asian American, we had always been raised to think of Black and Brown people as less than. I had realized that through different interactions and comments made by my family, I had formed this idea that associating with Black and Brown people was not acceptable in my family and that it would bring shame and dishonor to them. But I think the most shocking thing of all for me was when I realized that the term we used for “Black person” was in fact a very derogatory term. Its literal translation is “black ghost.” I was dumbfounded because, all my life, I had thought that the way I was referring to Black people was the proper way to say it, never really thinking twice about the translation, or even that there could be other ways to say it. It wasn’t until my friend pointed out that there was another way to say “Black person” in my language that I realized I had been using the derogatory term all my life. This shook me to my core because I realized that even without me knowing it, I was contributing to this racism that I knew in my head was not okay. And for the first time, I had finally understood how deeply embedded and wrong some of these things I learned as a child were. I have realized that these seemingly subtle comments against the black and brown community have had a very long-lasting impact in me. Things that are still in me to this day and things that I am still trying to unlearn.
The word of God says in Matthew 7:5 that we need to take the plank out of our own eye before we can see clearly to remove the speck from our brothers’ eyes. I believe the killing of Mr. George Floyd was different for all of us because, this time around, it made us realize that there was a deeply embedded problem in our nation. And I think for the first time in a long time, many people, like myself, were realizing that it wasn’t just about THOSE racist people out there, but rather a call to look at ourselves and acknowledge that we might have been or continue to contribute to the problem.
Prayer: Forgive us, Lord, for the ways in which we have been complicit in the racial and social injustices that exist around the world. Reveal to us where our own biases and blind spots are so that we can work towards change. Humble and refine us, Jesus, to be more like You. May we continue to do the work of justice and be a body of peace in this world.
Bible Reading for Today: 2 Corinthians 5
Lunch Break Study
Read Amos 4:4-6: “Go to Bethel and sin; go to Gilgal and sin yet more. Bring your sacrifices every morning, your tithes every three years. 5 Burn leavened bread as a thank offering and brag about your freewill offerings—boast about them, you Israelites, for this is what you love to do,” declares the Sovereign Lord. 6 “I gave you empty stomachs in every city and lack of bread in every town, yet you have not returned to me,”
declares the Lord.”
Questions to Consider
- Describe how the people in these verses were portrayed?
- What does the “ruin of Joseph” mean?
- What does this passage reveal about God’s heart for justice?
- This is in reference to Jeroboam II and his royal court. They had won many battles and acquired much wealth in doing so. They were powerful and had lots of money, living on ivory beds, investing music and eating lambs. Simply put, they were privileged.
- The ruin of Joseph refers to the devastation of the “ordinary” Israelites (the poor city dwellers and peasants)
- God was protesting against the leadership of Israel. It’s clear that the Lord is against those with power and privilege to live in self-indulgence and only live as if they were the only ones that mattered. Rather, he wants those with much to grieve and care for those with little (the poor, oppressed and marginalized).
Spend some time reflecting on how your thoughts have been formed in respect to race. Ask God to reveal some of your biases and how that might be affecting the ways you see or interact with others that are different from you. Are there things that need to be unlearned? Are these thoughts consistent with biblical truths? Allow the Holy Spirit to speak and bring revelation to you in this time.