From the desk of Lauren Palmer–this content was originally featured in our March 2020 magazine
In her first book, Halfbreed: Finding Unity in a Divided World, biracial author and speaker LeTesha Wheeler shares compelling keys to unite a divided nation. Her open testimony provides an insightful solution for the political, racial, and social unrest in our country while her biblical study unveils profound truths of justice, overcoming offense, forgiveness, and reconciliation. The Art of Living Beautifully was fortunate to secure an interview with the McKinney-based author. The interview can be found below, but first enjoy this excerpt from Halfbreed.
In the book of Luke, one chapter prior to Jesus’ teaching on the good Samaritan, we read that He and His disciples were refused housing in a Samaritan village on the way to Jerusalem … And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” (New International Version, Luke 9:54)
Like the disciples, have you ever been tempted to use your authority or power to control or manipulate someone who does not agree with you or has a different status politically, socially, financially, or theologically? The Jewish men were not only rejected but they were also racially discriminated against by the people in that Samaritan town. They were rejected because of their blood, their nationality, their culture, and their religion. Today we would call this social injustice. The disciples were so offended that they were tempted to use their authority to harm the Samaritans in return. Jesus reprimanded the disciples, reminding them what His purpose was, and what it was not. To bless and not curse. To lift up, not tear down. To include, not exclude. To save and not destroy. God established social justice. It was not established by activists or a certain political party. It was God’s idea, and He demonstrated it through Jesus.*
Be challenged and equipped to become an intentional reconciler. You can purchase Halfbreed by clicking |HERE|
- TAOLB: Has Half Breed always been in the back of your mind, or was there an epiphany that prompted you to write it?
LT: While I always knew in the very back of my mind that I had an interesting story to share, I never dreamed in a million years my testimony would be used for such great impact, or to reconcile hearts and unify a divided nation. As I prayed for my word and direction in January 2018, God literally told me, “I want you to write a book.” He then told me to research the people of Samaria. That’s it. That’s all I knew. The book then developed as I unfolded the history of the Samaritans from the first mention of their name in the Old Testament through the New Testament, and every verse in between. I was enjoying the historical lesson but what I found was the answer and resolution of God’s heart for the division we experience even in our culture today. I could not believe my eyes to what I had discovered.
- TAOLB: What would your advice be for someone who reads your book, wants to take a step toward reconciliation, but is unsure of where to begin?
LT: Relationships. God uses people to walk out his reconciliation and healing on this earth. Start with being intentional in seeking out relationships that increase your understanding and challenge your experiences. Find someone who does not look like you, talk like you, or vote like you. Relationships help us see and experience the fullness of God.
- TAOLB: The first chapter of Half Breed is your personal testimony of what is was like to grow up half black and half white. How did you find the courage to be so transparent?
LT: Believe it or not, this was the hardest chapter for me to write. Therefore, it was the last chapter for me to write. I had a team of prayer warriors who walked with me through this process. At one point I announced I was done with the book after I found the solution in the bible for unity. (I felt this was an easy way out – the bible had the answer!) My friends challenged me that God wanted me to use my story for the reader, because it is God’s story. I knew they were right, and I prayed for strength that God would give me the right words and give honor to those who also shared my story.
- TAOLB: How can we bring the message of Half Breed to the masses on a communal, national, and global level?
LT: I hope everyone uses their level of influence to bring healing, however, it’s more likely that reconciliation happens one relationship at a time. It happens in our hearts first. It then happens in our homes, then our churches. Then our community, then our nation. Unity is a big torch to carry therefore many walk away feeling helpless. But we all have our small part to make a big impact. Do your small part in your sphere of influence and watch that torch carry on to the next generation.
- TAOLB: In the Conclusion of Half Breed, you suggest people be “active peacekeepers” not “passive” ones. Can you explain the difference?
LT: We often believe peace means to avoid difficult topics out of fear of anger, even hatred. But Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He reconciled us to God by dying on the cross. That is what gives us the ministry of reconciliation. We can make peace in non-peaceful situations. We look through the lens of the gospel and reconcile it as to the intent of God’s heart. We don’t sit back and ignore the issue thinking avoidance will cause it to disappear. We also don’t speak up without wisdom or control. We actively speak and do from the position that true peace provides healing. I want to make peace in my heart, in relationships, my community and our nation.
- TAOLB: Where can TAOLB readers find you?
LT: I would love to hear from TAOLB readers. They can find me on Instagram @leteshawheeler or contact me on my website at leteshawheeler.com.
*Source: Wheeler, LeTesha. Half Breed: Finding Unity in a Divided World. NEWTYPE Publishing, 2019, pp. 70-71.
To learn more about Lauren and The Art of Living Beautifully, please visit our ‘about’ page.