Being for us

Rev. Rae Karim encourages us to remember to stand up for ourselves and stand up for people in our community as we strive for God's best.

If God be for us, who can be against us? It’s the last part of Romans 8:31. Those ten words of text are full of hope and encouragement. They are words of boldness to remind us that no matter what happens, we can depend on God. They are words of surety that God has our back.

I want to take a deeper look at these words. We know from firsthand experience that God is for us. We know without doubt God will never leave or forsake us. My question is ­— are we for us? Are we really for us individually and collectively? With five days left in Black History Month, what did we do the previous 23 to support who we are as people and as a people (race), other than go see Black Panther? What will we do with the remaining five days? Will we truly live beyond the shortened month we’ve been given to celebrate who we are? Can who we’ve been help us become who we are supposed to be? I believe it can, but we have to do our part. Our ancestors and the thought leaders before us already did theirs.

While we are thankful that God is for us, I believe we can be against ourselves. How? By remaining silent in times when crying loud and sparing not is warranted — in those moments we see our own people down but won’t lend a hand to help. We are against ourselves when we take a knee and boycott football, until our team starts winning and head to the Super Bowl. We are against ourselves when we smile in each other’s faces but take to our friend circles to talk negatively about the same one we just called friend, sis' or bro'. Then we wonder why God won’t intervene. Take a moment and really think about it. Just on a human level, would you come to the aid of those who seemed to be tossed to and fro by different winds of doctrine (Eph. 4:14) or news reports or social media statuses?

As I think about it, the South African term Ubuntu comes to mind. It translates to mean “I am because you are.” In context, it means we are for us. Though it may not sound correct from a literary standpoint, you’ll still understand what I mean when I say, the more for us we are, the more for us God will be. However, we have to at least put forth some effort and some consistency. It’s like a child who says she can do something, only from a sense of stubbornness because she doesn’t want adult assistance. She goes through the motions of the task. She also experiences the emotions of frustration and even helplessness, until finally, she realizes she cannot do it alone. The efforts of the attempt cannot go unseen, especially because such efforts took courage.

Where is our courage to be for us? This courage is the personal and communal kind. Personally, it’s a matter of standing up for ourselves, saying no, writing the book, eating healthier, working out, increasing our knowledge, etc. On a communal level, it’s the courage to attend school board meetings that threaten to shut down educational institutions. It’s the courage to support the grassroots organizations, events and projects we know will make a difference in the community. We have to be for us, even when it means we won’t receive an honorable mention or a tag to a Facebook, Instagram or Twitter status. We have to be for us by showing up to the polls to vote for our rights, the ones that our ancestors died to get us. We have to do and be better, period.

And truthfully, I believe as we show God we are for us, God will show up in ways we have yet to imagine. I dare you to try it for yourself and see.

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