I had watched Andy Stanley’s message that morning on racism with an emphasis on how others experience us as Jesus followers. Put another way are we legitimate Jesus followers by our actions toward others, who are different than us. His message could be summarized something like this. “Each of us have an experience and we are someone else’s experience. So how have we influenced others not the same as us?”
I watched this at the suggestion of another brother in Christ. He and I have had different experiences in life. We have arrived at different understandings of both politics and religion. So my question here involves Jesus influence Vs Satan’s influence, and how we are to know each? The scripture focus we are to follow is explained in 2 Timothy chapters 3 & 4, one verse from here says:
2 Timothy 4:2 preach the word; be ready in season [and] out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. (NASB1995)
Having taken in this message I needed to judge it and examine myself from these chapters in Timothy. I must determine that this following after Jesus isn’t about skin color. It is about how the not so handsome or good looking or skinny or rotund experience us. It’s about how the far right or far left experience us. Do we love people? And then there is the question can we love the person and at the same time hate the fruit of their life or the sin both in our own life and theirs? And then there is the question are some things worth resisting or taking a stand on, no matter how we will be perceived by others? — because as Jesus followers we would be nothing but hypocrites were we not to stand for Him and His teaching.
The Christian world view when Jesus is followed involves our response to people and to sin. Let me give 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 six years. He was my neighbor back then. He lived directly across the street.
I met Ron on the street. Got to know him when we took a neighborhood boat cruise to Elizabeth city. We often sat on either his or my front porch steps and 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. We did not like his church it was far too liberal and high Episcopalian for us and we did not go back.
Ron 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 that as sinners we need to be born again to even begin to know God’s perspective on these things. It evidentially was not going to happen for him, because he one day wrote me an email after we had moved away to Florida, and he stated that he could not continue our friendship, and we have not talked since. Our world views did not match.
It was not a “race” thing it was more political and religious. These things are important in ones world view. There are lines that will not be crossed based on world view. America has been about those differences, and allowing each to hold his own while being able to express your own. But that day is changing, and one world view is being pushed on others from many sources, 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 coming will fulfill what Jesus told us of in Matthew 24, and in Revelation. The verse above in 2 Timothy says that we are to reprove, rebuke and instruct.
Jesus told us that if our message is received that we are to leave with the recipient our peace, but if not, we are to wipe even the dust from that place from our feet. Then 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, not loving what makes them an enemy of us as believers, but loving the person enough to help and influence with the gospel. We can pray for them and still hate their sin — God does.
I want to continue in this vein tomorrow with some of Paul’s instruction to Timothy, which is of course God’s instruction to us.
Words are powerful, use them well. Not mine, not yours, but only God’s truth matters.