Dear Susan, (10-28-16) race relations continued…

Dear Susan,

How can I hope to bridge the gap and promote meaningful conversation in regard to race?

How can I make my white brothers understand what a black mother fears these days?

I fully agree “All Lives Matter,” yet it is the blood of black people staining the streets.

I know you may be tired of hearing it.

Trust me, blacks are even more tired of living it.

My husband and two sons mean the world to me.

I pray they stay safe and unharmed every day.

Every day, the kind of day where your car breaking down leaves you slain in the street.

Hands up, but dead anyway.

Every day, the kind of day when a kid walking home wearing a hoodie dies because a madman thought he “looked” suspicious.

His killer walks free while yet another mother becomes imprisoned by grief.


dear-susan-10-28-16-b-is-for-blessed-devotional-2-letters-on-race When a man chooses to take a stand, or in this case, a knee, why is he ridiculed, threatened and viewed with disdain.

He is a brave voice for those long silenced, aware it may cost him everything with very little to gain.

Why can’t people see there is a difference between an “idol” and respect.

The God I serve commands we love one another, not reverence a song.

And of that song we sing, “O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

If only everyone was allowed to walk free, pursue happiness and live as God created them to be.

The rockets’ red glare?

The bombs bursting in air?

Black veterans fought and still fight for those freedoms of which you sing.

I understand if you think it’s not “your problem.”

But the problem arises when you don’t object; you permit injustice to continue and entrench itself even further.

Hate is often disguised as patriotism.

It worked for Hitler.

Is that what America has become?

I know there are no easy answers.

It is not as simple as black or white.


I know this topic makes people nervous.


You don’t have to be.

I don’t blame you personally for the sins of our nation.

My prayer is that blacks and whites will do better.

Try harder.

And eventually become one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28 NKJV

 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Mathew 22:37-39 NKJV

***Our journey continues. Join us as we discuss race relations. You can find our first conversation here. Comments Welcome!

By Lilka Finley Raphael

Author, Editor, Gardner, Photographer, Pharmacist


  1. We humans have a lot in common and we can relate if we choose. If we for a moment can leave our box and attain a level beyond our skin color then we can love one another. Unjustified fear is the root of police involved racial deaths. Not only do police have out of control fear many victims and large parts of communities are bound by fear of dying at the hands of another.

    Whenever I see a video account of a police shooting gone bad I say to myself, if I know I am going to die in two minutes would I do something different?. Then backup the video, do it slowly in 30 second increments and at each point say what would I do different. There are cases like Tamir Rice who was shot dead in less than 4 seconds while sitting at a picnic table but that is not the norm.

    If fear overrides someone else value of our life we still have life, and life is possibility. Most of us will get out of bed tomorrow morning and life and love must overcome fear if we are to live. The red letters of Jesus are life they are a way and we must become skilled with them. Giving into fear leads down a path that will end in death.

    Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, and Jesus only entertained visions of life. King was stabbed and lay on a police floor until medical helped arrived. He remained calm the knife beating and moving with his heart. The doctors say if he had pulled it out or if the knife move inches in any direction He would have died.

    What is meant for evil, God turns to good. We have survived capture, the middle passage, over 350 years of slavery, lynchings, jimcrow, Now is not the time to fear, Now is the time to love.

    If we can transform into disciples of Jesus we can shake off the crazy stuff in this world. Thank for sharing. where there is

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Now is not the time to fear, now is the time to love.” Transforming into “disciples” is a great way of looking at what we can do on a day to day level. I love that.
      I agree that giving into fear leads to death, too much that we have seen already. Maybe we can turn the tide.
      Thanks for joining our conversation. I like to think that we CAN shake off the crazy in this world.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! Simply WOW! I have absolutely no standing to tell you I understand. I can’t. As stephensmustang1 said, we White folks don’t have the same concerns, or the same conversations with out kids, as African Americans. To me, the divide is real. Racism and discrimination permeates our culture. All you have said is absolutely true. It is grievous to me. Not just among African Americans, but Native Americans as well.
    I’m not encouraged that we will ever eradicate racism. It’s roots are ingrained. What I can do, and in a broader sense, what we can do, is learn, like you have said, to love one another. The roots of racism and discrimination and hate, in my view, go back to the foot of the cross. The pagan, godless soldiers and the hypocrite Jews scorned and taunted Jesus. Ignored His message and mocked His authority. Racism and hatred among the godless and hypocritical “Christians” are doing the same thing.
    We will only make inroads when we learn to Love one another, as Christ loved us. And it will only happen one starfish at a time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Racism and hatred is not exclusive to any one group by any means. The Native Americans in Dakota are protesting something that shouldn’t even be an issue had their “treaties” not been broken. The world for sure is a mess.
      However if we can strive to positively impact the people we come in contact with on a daily basis, we can change the world one person at a time. Breaking stereotypes and even overextending ourselves to our “brother” on occasion may be all it takes to make someone take a second look or give more thought to their beliefs and misconceptions. I’m always amazed at what can transpire when we choose to do something a bit differently or put forth that extra effort. Whatever we give, God can use to change us.
      Thanks so much for joining us. The conversation continues Friday with another letter from Susan.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The issues we face specifically as a country mired in racial injustices cannot be attributed to one or two issues. I believe the totality of race relations in America consist of many issues that continue to escalate over an extended period of time and events. However, I am more inclined to think that there is one factor that is a constant denominator to what plagues us as a nation and that is the issue of the heart.

    Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” This is especially true in context of the 24 hour news cycle’s motive of the bottom line and the command of as many eye balls as possible. We must guard our hearts against dangerous vitriol that seeks to divide, thus we are conquered. Differences are used to separate as oppose to using opposites to build up and compliment that which makes us unique.

    The list can go one and on to the point of becoming embarrassing. I do not profess to have the answers to all that defeats us as a nation, but I do realize as a Christian and Pastor that the blood of Jesus was shed for all. When this thing called life is over for each of us and it will be over, we must ask ourselves did I stand up and love others as Christ loved us or did I sit by too afraid to stand up for what my heart and conscience tells me is right and just. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

    Before I forget, I want to address the issue of “Black Lives Matter vs All Lives Matter.” Yes, All lives matter and nothing is being taken away for that truth. However, dissing Black lives matter is painful and dismissive at best. Yes, your life and health matters, but right now I’m the one having the heart attack! I need the defibrillator now! African Americans are all to familiar with dismissive rhetoric and tic for tac to overshadow one offend to highlight another.

    As an African American father of two special needs African American boys my conversation with them is different from my white friends. I talk to them about coming home alive. I talk to and comfort them when they are called nigger from their 11 and 14 year old classmates. It breaks my heart to know as a parent that in addition to the birds and bees talk, we would one day sit down with our kids to talk about direct and indirect assaults on their identity.

    We teach them that they are the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus. Anything other then that is born out of ignorance of the individual not realizing who Christ called them to be. The sad fact is one day our sons will have this conversation with their children. However, I hold out hope that each generation will progress and be better than the previous.

    Finally, I will end with 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

    4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

    8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

    13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

    Let love, truth and God’s amazing grace rule the day and our hearts.

    In His grace,

    Pastor Lionel

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Susan reached out to me and I said yes. We are both interested to see what God will do with this project. Our intent is to stimulate constructive conversation and to drive a desire to seek common ground. It isn’t a “feel good” topic by any means but necessary if we are truly to love our “brother.” Thanks so much for joining us. Susan will post another letter on Friday. Please join us!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Lilka, my friend, you have written of this with such dignity and gravity, our readers could not possibly ignore the truth or urgency of your words. You and your family still await the freedoms I have so often taken for granted. You are right: when anyone is not granted the same rights or justice I have it is a problem of humanity, a problem for all of us, for we live under the same constitution. It if fails one of us, it fails all of us. And to answer God’s question in the way He expected way back in Genesis, “Yes, I am my brother’s keeper.”

    Thank you for keeping the conversation going. I will answer your letter more fully next Friday, my sweet sister. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Susan. I’m sure I am not alone.

      My oldest son and I were texting this morning about the challenges of being a cop in this day in age, their outdated training and the fact that their families worry as well when they leave home.

      I think it should be mandatory that anyone with the power to take someone’s life have psychological testing at the bare minimum yearly.
      Something has got to give!

      We will never find a solution if we aren’t willing to acknowledge the problems. May the conversations continue…

      Peace and Love to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. We may, at points, tire of hearing it but we MUST hear it. I know as a mother I worry about my children, husband etc as they “go out”..but it is much different for a black mother. I know my family will not be targeted b/c of their skin color. You, my friend can not know such a thing. I can not imagine the burden of that. I pray we as AMericans ‘wake up’..and make the needed changes in our country and own lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so correct. We all need to wake up. I pray after this election our nation will wake up and realize the unification available in Christ. We may appear different to one another but not to our Father. It amazes me how skin color, 1/16th of an inch I’ve been told, can dictate such overwhelming discrepancies in our world. Thanks for your feedback and honesty. Peace and Love to all of you!


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