What I was hoping to convey is that though, as White Christians, our privilege means we seldom have to face these sins, we are also victims of them, though not in the same way as our oppressed siblings. These evils do violence to those of us with privilege, too. Perhaps the best way to say it is not that our lives are at stake, but that our souls are at stake; not in the sense that we are in danger of damnation for simply being privileged, but rather that the sins committed out in our name and for our benefit—with or without our knowledge—do damage to our relationships with others and with the world. These sins mar the Imago Dei we bear as God’s creation and children.
Racism, for example, puts people of color in emotional, physical, and psychological danger, while White people are seemingly unaffected. However, the very existence of racism causes distrust and tension among the children of God, which harms White people because we are deprived of the wholesome, loving relationship with our siblings of color that God intends for us to have. God’s good creation is marred, and we all suffer, though certainly not in the same way or to the same degree. The same is true for anti-Semitism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, and any other division that keeps us from living in the harmony with one another that God has desired for all of us.
The work of God is liberation, and if we are to be people of God, we cannot but be involved in that work. As it says in 1 John 3:19, “Those who say, ‘I love God,’ and hate their siblings are liars; for those who do not love a sibling whom they have seen cannot love a God whom they have not seen.” To love our siblings in Christ necessarily means to become like them in suffering for the same justice for which they suffer; we cannot truly love them unless and until we put our lives on the line for them: for, “no person has greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13) If our lives are not at stake with our siblings, then Christ invites us to put them at stake with our siblings. This is the gospel of the LORD.