Privilege. It’s a word that is all around us. Typically it is attached to the word “white”. As in ‘white privilege’. Yep, I just went there. Honestly, these types of conversations are the kind that we like to have with our heads down a bit, and in the comfort of our own space. Not in a public forum.
Frankly, I hadn’t given a ton of thought one way or the other to the concept of white privilege. I suppose some would say that makes me part of the problem, or in the very least, unable to admit to the privilege that I do enjoy as a white person in America. I came across a video that multiple friends shared, that I felt really summed up privilege quite nicely. You can find the video HERE.
If you don’t feel like watching it, or you want the gist – you can find the pertinent transcription below.
“For a $100 bill – the winner of this race, will take this, a $100 bill.
Before I say go, I’m going to make a couple of statements. If those statements apply to you, I want you to take 2 steps forward. If those statements don’t apply to you, I want you to stay where you’re at. Take two steps forward if:
- If both of your parents are still married
- If you grew up with a father figure in the home
- If you had access to a private education
- If you had access to a free tutor growing up
- If you’ve never had to worry about your cell phone being shut off
- If you’ve never had to help mom or dad with the bills
- If it wasn’t because of your athletic ability you don’t have to pay for college
- If you’ve never wondered where your next meal was going to come from
I want you in the front to turn around and look. Every statement I’ve made has nothing to do with anything any of you have done. Has nothing to do with decisions you’ve made, everything I’ve said has nothing to do with what you’ve done. We all know these people up here have a better opportunity to win this $100. Does that mean these people back here can’t race? No. We would be foolish to not realize that we’ve been given more opportunity. We don’t want to recognize that we’ve been given a head start. But the reality is we have. Now, there’s no excuse. They’ve still got to run their race, you’ve still got to run your race. Nothing you’ve done has put you in the lead that you’re in right now.”
The video ends with the race official saying, “If you didn’t learn anything from this activity, you’re a fool.” How true. It then ends with this Bible verse from 1 John 3:17-18.
“But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”
Today, as I was sitting in church, the thought crossed my mind that it’s not only financial privilege, or privilege in life that exists, but SPIRITUAL privilege as well. Just as we can easily look around us and see people that we perceive are squandering their privilege in this life, how many squander their spiritual privilege as well?
What is spiritual privilege you may ask? Well, first you have to define your terms. In Luke 9:1-2, Jesus sends out the 12 disciples and he gave them power and authority over all demons, to cure disease, to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. I’m sure there are various schools of thought here, but here’s mine. That authority wasn’t just for the disciples, that was for all believers. If you have accepted that Jesus is who he said he was, and that he did what he said he did, and acknowledge that you are a redeemed creation and you simply have to accept it….well, you’re a believer. You’re a disciple. In the Great Commission, Jesus told them to go and make disciples of all nations. It wasn’t just for the Jews, it wasn’t just for that time. His message was for all people for all of time.
So. If you’re a disciple, a believer, you have spiritual privilege available to you. Another way of looking at this is people who were introduced to church at a young age. You also have a form of spiritual privilege. God’s gift of redemption is done. The gift has already been given, we just need to accept it. Some are taught about this gift at a much earlier age or place in their lives than others. That is spiritual privilege. You have been PRIVILEGED to learn about this gift. You have been PRIVILEGED to be introduced early on about a life of walking with God.
However, just like a life of privilege, we oftentimes squander our spiritual privilege too. We squander our head start, the benefits of a life spent walking with Him. The Bible even tells us about this in the parable of the prodigal son. The younger son asked for his inheritance, took it, and squandered all of his privilege on worldly pleasures. He ended up broke, hungry, and in need. He was so hungry, he wanted to eat the pig slop, yet he had nothing. Eventually he came to his senses, and returned to his father’s house, willing to work as a servant, just to stay alive. However, when he arrived, his father would have none of it. He welcomed him back wholeheartedly and even threw a party.
THIS. This is the good news my friends. The father from the story? That’s my God. He is the good father who will let us walk away from our privilege if we so choose. He doesn’t like it, but he doesn’t control us. And when we come to our senses and come back, just looking for the scraps of the privilege we once had? He welcomes us to the table and throws a party. He RESTORES all of our privilege. That’s my God. And I hope my friends…that he’s yours too. And if you’re not sure? Shoot me a line, let’s chat.
Much love friends. ♥