Having Ears to Hear

By Aaron Charles

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” - Matthew 11:15

This verse comes in a chapter where Jesus is teaching about the man who has come before him – John the Baptist. Not everyone understood John’s prophecy and teaching. Some thought he was just a crazed man out in the wilderness. And then Jesus utters the words in the verse above.

I would not presume to say who is and who isn’t a prophet of God in our world today. But I do know that prophets still walk our streets. These are the people who speak the truth even when it makes them seem odd to those around them.

What I do want to say is this – the only way we will hear these prophecies is to hone our ability to hear. To listen. Once we’ve listened, we can discern whether or not the teaching we have heard is true. But we must first listen.

I must also say something else before I go on – I am a white man.

I make a point of stating that clearly because I’m mainly going to be speaking to my white brothers and sisters out of my own experience. Before you read on, I would highly encourage you to go check out the latest podcast episode where Dan interviewed Dr. Redgina Hill about Critical Race Theory.

This topic is being hotly debated in many circles right now. I’m not going to tell you where you should or should not come down on the issue today. But what I do know is that I have many white brothers and sisters who have written CRT off completely. Often I find that they have not even listened to experts like Dr. Hill but have rather formed their opinions from one side of the story.

I do not mean this to be a railroading of anyone. I know many of those who have addressed CRT in this way honestly mean well. Let me also be clear again – I am not saying that CRT is or is not a prophetic word from God. CRT is a human construct meant to help us better engage with racial issues. It is up to you whether you think it succeeds.

For me though, I find one of its key concepts to be incredibly helpful in this pursuit of listening. CRT centers the experiences of people of color and allows them to tell their story. Inherent in that idea is that those of us who are white will take up a posture of listening. True listening doesn’t occur if we’re just preparing to put our guard up and waiting for our black brothers and sisters to finish talking before we retort with an argument. We need to truthfully listen and hear from their perspective.

If I haven’t been clear enough, let me state one last time – I'm not saying that Matthew 11:15 was referring to CRT. I’m not saying John the Baptist would have been preaching CRT from the wilderness if he were alive today.

What I am saying is that I need to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening to my black brothers and sisters. Specifically on CRT, I learned so much by listening to Dr. Hill and others. I have found CRT to be a helpful framework, but your feelings on the matter are up to you.

My encouragement is this – I don’t believe you can come to a fully-realized idea on CRT or any other teaching without first taking time to hear it.