CCM artist Lecrae has voiced frustration over the pushback he's received from American Christians due to his support for the Black Lives Matter movement and said he's "done" explaining himself to those "bent on misunderstanding" him.
The Grammy-Award winning artist and president of the non-profit organization ReachLife Ministries recently penned an op-ed for the Huffington Post in which he explains how he's had to constantly defend himself since opening up about social issues such as police brutality, poverty, and racism.
This constant criticism he endured caused him to hit a "serious low", and at one point made him decide he was done with American Christian culture.
"No voice of my own," the "Can't Stop Me Now" singer writes. "No authenticity. I was a puppet. I'd seen so much fakeness from those who claimed to be my brothers and sisters that I didn't even know how to talk to my Heavenly Father."
Lecrae says that since the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, he's received even more pushback from former "fans and friends."
He writes: "I was once told you shouldn't waste time explaining yourself to people bent on misunderstanding you. So, I won't anymore. I can't anymore. I'm a mess ...As I shared my heart, my supporters turned on me even more-fans and friends. There was no empathy. Though some comments were just evil and hurtful, others were steeped in ignorance and lack of perspective. They didn't get it."
The "Say I Won't" singer clarified that supporting the mission of Black Lives Matter is not the same as supporting the actual organization and said he has a great deal of respect for law enforcement, as many of his own family members are police officers. However, he shared his own negative experiences with police to make the point that the "consistency of infraction" tells him the system - not just a few individuals - is flawed.
"[Black Lives Matter] encapsulates our societal woes as a people," he writes. "I don't condone violence or rioting for which BLM is so often blamed, and I don't believe these isolated acts express the values of the BLM organization or the sentiment either. Yet, some people still think we are just 'whining about the past.' But we're not. We are trying to expose how the past has affected the present and threatens the future."
The singer concludes his post on a hopeful note, explaining that when he's found himself at these low points, it's the teaching of Jesus that allows him to carry on: "I am disturbed at the supremacy and disparities that still exist. And what's ironic is that I'm so bothered because Jesus actually challenges me to not only care for the souls of all humanity, but to feed the hungry, aid the sick, regard the stranger, visit the prisoner, and love my neighbor in tangible ways."
He concludes: "I'm working on me. Well, God is. And as He is, I hope for grace and mercy and prayers from all those who really care."
Earlier, Lecrae shared he joined BLM to "educate and help" those disillusioned by today's racial climate.
"There was so much pent-up anger and frustration in the black community, but they didn't know what they were mad at or what they wanted to see happen, so they lashed out," the the singer told CNN. "So, I wanted to be out there to direct the passion of a lot of these young folks...by the end, a lot of the college students were looking at me saying, 'Hey, what should we be doing?'"
In a separate op-ed, the husband and father-of-three said it takes humility to truly understand another person's vantage point and build a relationship- especially when "you believe the one you have is correct"
"We're all biased; there's no one in this room who's not conditioned, socially and environmentally, to have biases," Lecrae explained. "Biases exist within everyone so listening and understanding takes a level of humility. It just does, and that's really what it comes down to."
When certain issues - such as racism - primarily affect minorities, the majority of the population are sometimes oblivious to such problems.
"This is a conversation I have with lots of my white friends all the time," he said. "When I share my experiences with them, they're like, 'Oh. Really?'"
"Some people may have to say, 'I don't understand systems and infrastructures making differences in people's lives,'" he said. "I just see that my decisions affect my reality. I'm not racist. I'm not mad at anybody. I want to hear your story. So explain how you see racism as an institutional problem?'"