Resolving Racism Bible Study (RRBS)- Part 5 of Many
As I sit here this morning it occurs to me that racism is something that the ungodly do to one another. True followers of Jesus do not behave in this manner. I am not saying that Christians have never been racist or done racist things, but the tenor of Scripture expressly forbids us to treat other humans in an ungodly way. And if we are guilty of racism we need to repent and make amends.
In the world of evangelism one of the things that an evangelist must discern is the authenticity of the faith of the one you are speaking to. Before you get too worked up, I know that on a human level we do not have the right to judge whether someone is saved or not. Even more we do not have the ability to know who the true believers are. But God does. God knows who genuinely serves Him. God knows who humbly obeys Him. God knows who lovingly seeks Him. He knows who His children are. Many profess to have a walk with Jesus, but their lives do not bear it out. There is a difference between one who professes to know Jesus and those who possess eternal life. Many will say to Him on judgement day, “Lord didn’t we serve you during our life?” and He will say “depart from Me, I never knew you.”
I love and hate the tension that John brings to the table about true belief and how he identifies who the players are in this drama
10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.I John 3
I have been attempting to follow the Lord and His teachings for over 30 years now. And like many of you reading this my attempts to follow are successful at times and woefully inadequate at other times. So, I am not saying that we have to have it all figured out but we do need to be making progress. As God reveals weaknesses in our faith we need to recommit and try to walk closer with Him.
For believers I have hope that we may be able to overcome our flesh and our differences with people of other races and move toward reconciliation. I am not sure that the ungodly can muster up the internal character and conviction to love their enemies. It is sad and at the same time exciting that the solutions for racism that are suggested will require the very power of God to pull off peace between the races.
Maybe that is the point. Our only hope for resolving racism is Jesus.
Listen to Jesus talk through loving our neighbor, and our enemy. Same teaching in both Matthew and Luke. We will study them one at a time.
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’
39 “But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.
40 “If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.
41 “Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.
42 “Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
44 “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
46 “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
47 “If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
48 “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfectMatthew 5
Let’s make some observations for Matthew:
- Old wisdom is to do to others what they have done to you (eye for an eye)
- Jesus says to not resist an evil person
- If we are treated badly we are to respond godly
- Turn other cheek
- Let them have your coat also
- Go second mile
- Give to other not expecting a return
- Old Wisdom is to love your neighbor and hate your enemy
- Jesus says love enemies and pray for them
- Being godly when treated badly is sign that we know God
- God cares for good and evil, the righteous and the unrighteous
- God desires for all men to know Him and our godliness during poor treatment is a sign to the unrighteous that God is real
- We are to love those who don’t love us
- We are to greet those who don’t love us
- We are to be perfect in love like God is perfect in love
27 “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
29 “Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.
30 “Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.31 “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.
32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
33 “If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.
34 “If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount.
35 “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.
36 “Be merciful, just as your Father is mercifulLuke 6
Let’s make some observations about Luke (only new ones that are different than Matthew):
- We are to love our enemies
- We are to do good to those who hate us
- We are to bless those who curse us
- We are to pray for those who mistreat us
- If anyone takes something from you do not demand it back
- Treat others the way you want to be treated
- We get credit from God for loving our enemies
- We get credit from God for lending to those who will never return
- Jesus concludes by saying
- Love enemies
- Do Good
- Lend expecting nothing in return
- Trust God for later rewards and it will be great
- We will be sons of the Most High
- God Himself is kind to the ungrateful and evil men
- We are to be merciful in the same way our Father is merciful
Ok. Wow. I feel completely overwhelmed. How could we ever apply those ideas?
In my opinion the reason that Martin Luther King moved the needle on race was that he attempted to apply Biblical solutions to an unbelievably complex social issue. I think he knew that Jesus was our only shot.
In our culture today we are trying to apply manmade solutions to a sin issue and that will never work. We are putting our manmade band aid on stage 4 cancer. It might look pretty but it doesn’t work.
If we are going to make progress in race relations it will happen through chemotherapy that is God’s transformation of the human soul.
God help us!