This picture is quite a few years ago. We were enjoying our worship experience in Athens, GA at the sanctuary called “Sanford” (jest sort of…don’t get fired up).
My boys are late middle/high school now. We’ve seen a lot, heard a lot, and experienced a lot. Much of that experience has been fantastic. Like once when traveling on Marta in downtown Atlanta from a stage production of the Lion King, an African-American man was looking at us, staring at us actually, for most of the ride. I learned why soon. When we arrived at our stop, he followed us off of the train. He kindly and gently grabbed my arm and said he had a word from the Lord for us. He said that the Lord had told him to tell us that we would be blessed for what we have done (that is adopting a child of color). I’ve never forgotten that moment. The Lord Jesus sent that brother to us to comfort and affirm our willingness to wade into the fight.
Some of it has been hard, and hard to parent through. Like the time a man in a store asked if “that” was mine…referring to my black son. Oooh. Man, it was on like Donkey Kong. Hard stuff.
The curse of the fall, it’s effects in and on image bearers, conflict within over ingrained sin and the truth of God’s word, and its sinister covert/overt attacks make for tough days.
Because these days are getting harder in our nation due to the racial divide, I made a statement before preaching last Sunday that I want to reiterate: All people who want to come after Jesus are welcome at TRC. Anyone opposed to any color or background or sin coming after Jesus because of their color, background or sin may leave now or repent now. Just as there is no room for active adultery or idolatry or any other unrepentant sin, there is no room for racism in our fellowship and the kingdom of God.
Ephesians 2, for that matter, the whole of biblical revelation, makes it clear that representatives from all nations will be gathered around the throne of Jesus worshipping him and living in the renewed earth together without sin forever. That truth, that vision of the end must drive our practice now. Even deeper, the bible identifies all humans as image bearers of God, therefore, making all humans supremely valuable…from the unborn to the person with a different color skin…to the person not viewed as “normal”…to the person of a different faith.
Our pro-life must be all-encompassing.
The racial divide is as deep as it’s ever been, and events are just bringing to the surface what has already been there. We need to respond. I hope pastors prophetically spoke to such in every gathering last Sunday…Something tells me they didn’t. That’s likely due to lack of knowing, caring or fear. None of which is acceptable. If they don’t know how to prophetically speak to things, they simply need to read the prophets of the Old Testament or how Paul corrected the sin on Peter’s part in Galatians 2 etc., then speak likewise to sin in our day. Simple. Hard, but simple. Hard because people will treat us like those in that day treated the prophets, but Jesus said that would happen, so we at least know to expect it.
I hope every person following Jesus can apply their biblical worldview appropriately to the race divide clearly manifest in our country, but I’m afraid that’s just not the case. Either sin or ignorance or misplaced loyalties (which is sin too) keeps many from valuing the kingdom over the world. Neither of those is good, and it’s particularly bad among those calling themselves “Christian”.
We have to do better. The Christian subculture is sick, and the source is sin, and the remedy is repentance.
We have to speak out against all sin, and speak for righteousness in all things…all things…
Do I get it right all the time? NO! I’m head sinner. I’m a fool. I fail. I lack faith. I say swear words too much. I want “things” like boats, trucks, guns, sports more than holiness. I lead in sin. I’m good at it! But, I’m grieved over my sin, and I lean on the Spirit making more like Jesus, and he’s working on me. He’s teaching me and making me to love righteousness more than sin little by little. Repentance gets easier and easier.
So, Christian, be holy as God is holy.
Hebrews 12:14 (ESV) Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
Our justification and our pursuit of holiness are opposite sides of the same coin. We are not justified by works, but we work because we are justified. So, lets pursue racial reconciliation like we pursue freedom from other sin.