VICTORY OVER RACISM IN AMERICA
Jesus came to confront evil and sin in all its forms. He called us to repent and believe in Him: To repent of our rebellion against God and our prideful sins that break the laws of God; to trust in Him for our forgiveness and reconciliation with God; to receive a new life in Him for eternity. He went throughout Israel bringing conviction and offering the love of God to all who would turn from their sin. He challenged the ignorance, racism, prejudice, wickedness…of men and women of His day and then commanded His followers to go to the whole world and do likewise.
One of the great sins of our day is racism. We know of the hatred of those who wear white hoods and burn crosses. Yet, many do not put on white sheets or sprew hatred openly. They wear different kinds of hoods and carry hidden ropes. It is evil and shameful in the eyes of God. We, as followers of Christ, are called to confront this vile wrong of Satan and the iniquities of men.
I just finished watching the movie “42”. It is the story of Jackie Robinson, the first black to play major league baseball in 1946. It is a powerful film of two men determined to confront the evil of racism in American baseball. One is Jackie Robinson, the other is Branch Rickey, the man who hired Jackie to play. Both were men of strong faith in Jesus Christ. This monumental tale reminds us that Jesus still needs good men to confront evil in our society, whether it is racism, the killing of babies, or sexual perversion and immorality. In light of the Trayvon Martin case, we need to examine our hearts and see how God can use us in this battle against racism.
Everyone I have talked to believes Trayvon’s death was tragic, but then the division starts. Blacks seem to not understand how Zimmerman was pronounced not guilty. There is anger and the demand for justice, for America to end racism. Most of the whites I have talked with see things differently, because they see no evidence of Zimmerman’s guilt and want to defend the court decision. In the midst of all of this I am reminded that even though America has come a long way since Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball, we still have a long way to go to see the end of racism.
The more I read the Bible, the more I am moved by the Spirit to confront racism in any form in my life and in the Bible. Although, I do not believe I am a racist by any means, I know the heart of men and my heart. Let the end of racism begin in me. Let it begin in the church. Let us go the extra mile to live as Jesus did, to love one another and support our brothers’ even when we may not understand their feelings. Let us try to walk in their shoes for a day. Their experiences are so different than ours. Let us trust their anger and sympathize with their pain. Let us stand with them in the truth of God that all men are created in the image of God, have the same value, and are equal before God and man, thus should be treated with dignity and honor.
I encourage us to watch the movie “42” to help us understand where we have come from and to comprehend what the blacks have endured in America. I rejoiced and cried through the movie moved by the strength and courage of Jakie Robinson, ashamed of the evil in some of the whites, and proud of those who stood with Jackie in one of the most important battles in America for our freedom.
I agree with Avilda King, MLK’s niece, we cannot deny the sin of racism and we will only see the victory when we think in terms of one race, the human race, from conception until death. I certainly do not have the answers, but I know that the love of Jesus conquers all sins in the human heart. I do not have to agree or understand my black brother’s thoughts and feelings, but I can act in love and agree with them that racism must end in America. Only Jesus can change a human heart. His truth can set us free. Let us abide in Him and in His words and we will see the defeat of evil as Jesus did and His disciples experienced in the power and authority He gave to them.
Let us not judge and let us be careful with our words. Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. To mourn with others is to enter into their suffering, that is the call of Jesus for us. When we enter the suffering of others, we will be comforted by God, find strength to stand strong in the suffering and know His power and peace.
We have our opinions and arguments about the Trayvon case. Do we have the love and courage to stand against all racism and prejudice to support our brothers in Christ in this hour of their hurt, fears, and righteous anger? I believe we do, because Jesus has touched each of our hearts and called us to enter into the suffering of others. Let us do all we can to go into this world to confront evil in all its obvious forms and in its deceptive, hidden forms as well. Jesus has need of us…