I watched Andy Stanley’s message this morning on racism with an emphasis on how others experience us as Jesus’ followers. Put another way are we legitimate Jesus followers as concluded by our actions toward others who are different than us. Andy said something like this. Each of us have an experience and we are or will become someone else’s experience. So how have we influenced others who are not the same as us?
I watched this at the suggestion of another brother in Christ, Bob Wheeler. He and I have had different experiences in life, as is true with most of us. I am in a sense answering him in this post, but my perspective considers that all Americans even all American churches are not Christ followers. I will post his response to me under the comments which was his request in his email too me.
So having taken in this message from Andy Stanley, I share the following thoughts. First being a loving follower of Jesus as to our actions, isn’t just about how we react to skin color. It is also about how we react to the not so handsome or good looking or to the skinny or rotund, or to the handicapped, and how they actually experience us as well. It’s about how the far right or far left experience us. It’s how the waitress or the policeman experience us. Do we as believers love people? And I believe that it must involve some questions: 1). can we love the person and at the same time hate the fruit of their life or the sins which become obvious? And then there is the question are some things worth resisting or taking a stand either for or against, because no matter how we will be perceived by others, as Jesus followers, it would be wrong to be hypocrites. And this we would be were we not to stand for Him and His teaching.
The Christian world view when Jesus is followed involves all of these things and more. But this more and more today is not the American’s world view.
Let me attempt to explain by giving you my testimony with one Black skinned member of our (my) human race, whom I befriended years ago. His name is Ron, I have now not heard from him in five years. He was my neighbor. He lived directly across the street.
I met Ron on the street. Got to know him when we took a neighborhood cruse to Elizabeth city. I sat on either his or my front porch steps and we talked, too many times to count after that trip. We went to church with each other as an experience. Ellen and I were the only white faces in his church. He was among several black and some mixed couples in our church. He and especially his wife Erika liked our church service but they did not come back. His church was not suited to our liking, as his church was far into the liberal gospel, and very high Episcopalian. So we did not go back.
Ron still considered me a friend, and I him. I know that because one day he said to me Jerry do you know why I like you, and I said: no Ron I don’t. He then proceeded to tell me why. He said: the day that I knew that you and Ellen were real was when you two were standing across the street talking with Tom and Ray and I came out and you yelled across to me and motioned me over.
I said: well Tom and Ray are your friends too, and he said no, they never acknowledge us when they are together with other white folks. They just ignore us.
There are many stories I could tell you about Ron, but after telling him one too many times I guess, that being right with God was all about a relationship with His Son, and that following Him changes our world view concerning things like abortion, and rioting and death penalty and property rights, and race, and that as sinners we need to be born again to even begin to know God’s perspective on these things. Some of this took place during Obama’s administration, and much of our more recent discussions were initiated because of some actions taken by his administration. These discussions evidentially were not going to change us. He would not see my points, nor I his, because we viewed these things from a different world view, as well as from different experience. So, he one day wrote me an email after Ellen and I had moved away to Florida, and he stated that he could not continue our email interactions, and we have not talked since. I have sent him a few emails, but no response. Our world views did not match.
It was not a “race” thing it was more political and religious, these things are important to ones world view. There are lines that will not be crossed based on world view. America has been about those differences, and about allowing each to hold his own while the other is being able to express his own.
Today that is changing, and one world view over others is being pushed on us from all sides, and the divide is becoming greater. Men are treating each other with less love.
We are now as a society looking at a communist form of socialism, which is devoid of God’s love. Where it is claimed that everyone is treated equal, but the fact is that they aren’t. This world that is rapidly coming into existence will ultimately fulfill what Jesus told us of in Matthew 24, and in the book of the Revelation.
Jesus also told us that if our message, which is really His, is received in a household or village that we are to remain with this people. We are to remain friends, and that when we leave we are to let with them our peace, but if they do not receive our message, we are to wipe even the dust of that place from our feet. And go our way.
We are to love our brother in Christ. We are to love and provide for a needy one such as the man beaten and left on the roadside in the example of the Good Samaritan. We are to pray for our enemies, but loving what makes them an enemy of ours because we are believers is not something that we are told to appreciate, respect, or love. We can pray for them and still hate their sin against God and us — God does both. He loves them as part of His creation, but hates their sinful actions. The two actions on His or our part are not mutually exclusive. He died to make us victors over the sin in our lives.
God has always had messengers who would present His word to the human race. Often these messages came as warnings. And often they were not well received. The messengers or prophets were often killed. This should cause us to think. If our message is always loved by the masses especially from the world, we may want to ask if it is really God’s message.
Just as it is not right for a police officer to allow himself to murder George Floyd, as he did, neither is it right to take that murder out on all police officers, nor is it right to destroy property and businesses for that murder. Nor is it right to hate all white people because a white cop was cruel. It’s God’s purpose to tell us what is right and wrong, and that list is the same for every man, no matter his color or station in life.
Having said all this, the world has not agreed to any of this and won’t without Christ in their life. So racism will continue, and it will only get worse. Christ in the heart of man is the only answer to racism. Read the story of John Newton who went from slave trader to fighting for the abolition of slavery following his conversion to Christ. Without Jesus there will be no end to racism.
• I will post Bob’s comment on email in the comments section below.