“Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.”
Fifty years ago they marched in Washington D. C. and Dr. King talked about a dream. Since then America has elected and re-elected President Barack Obama its first black president. But not without any backlash from some of our white brothers and sisters who were not opened to the change. It seems as if now what Dr. King spoke of is simply the dream deferred that the late poet Langston Hughes lamented.
However, some believed that Obama’s historic election meant that racism had vanished in the U.S., many did regard it as a sign that strife between the nation’s racial groups had dissipated to such a degree that Americans were willing to cross the color line in the voting booth. However, this could not be farther from the truth, during the 2012 presidential election there was rampant and very blatant voter suppression being done primarily in the states of Ohio, Wisconsin, and Florida. Racial epithets became a normal use of expressing dissatisfaction for having to endure with a president whose skin color was not quite right in the viewpoint of some.
And now, the SCOTUS has overturned a key provision of the landmark voting rights act of 1965, signed by President Lyndon Baines Johnson and declared it unconstitutional. Just last night a jury of six women in the trial of George Zimmerman has found the neighborhood watchman not guilty in the killing of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman, 29, was acquitted on charges of second-degree murder in the death of Martin, a 17-year-old black boy whom the defendant shot during a scuffle in a nearby-gated community on Feb 26, 2012. Also in Florida a young black woman by the name of Marrisa Alexander fired warning shots in the air in order to fend off her abusive husband she didn't kill anyone she simply shot in the air. The jury found Zimmerman not guilty of taking the young life of Trayvon Martin and Marrisa Alexander received 20 years in prison for shooting warning shots in the air.
What's wrong with this picture? Football star Michael Vick spent nearly two years in prison for running a DOG fighting operation, and George Zimmerman gets to go home after taking the life of a young black teenager. I will not comment very much on my personal beliefs and thoughts concerning this particular trial and verdict (actually because it may get me in trouble). However I will deal with the hot button topic of racism in America today. Because I honestly do believe that the American judicial system is designed for the extermination of the black male. And the verdict of not guilty in the Zimmerman trial has all but proven my point. When I accepted my calling to preach back in 1994 I committed myself to preach all of God’s Word and not be shy about preaching on any topic regardless of who should like or dislike what I have to say. And I submit to you this morning that America is still a nation filled with racist and bigots, this not a rant because I shall use God’s Words instead of mine.
We have to go to our final authority in all matters and I will remind you that it is not the U. S. Supreme Court, it is the Bible. One of the greatest weapons of satan is division. Simply because if he can divide he conquer, and the fact is, there is only one race, the human race! People may have white skin, black skin, brown skin, yellow skin, red skin, or any other color skin, they may have different ethnic backgrounds, but they are all part of the same race, the human race!
The Bible says that ALL MEN are created in the image of God. God created all men equal. Satan is the father of lies, and he has for generations planted in the minds of foolish men and women that the color of their skin has somehow innately made them to be superior over other races. It is satan, not God, who seeks to divide men by their skin color, ethnicity, financial means, and any other way you can dream up to divide people. Why do people have their bigotry and their prejudices? It is because they have been influenced by the devil himself.
1. God Looks At The Heart
“People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). I cannot tell you how many times I have walked down a street or entered an elevator minding my own business only to find someone glaring at me as if I wanted to take something from them. I can be reasonably attired, no hoodie, no dark shades, no tattoos, just my black skin, and all of a sudden I am viewed as some sort of disturber, or agitator, or malcontent ready to do some mischief and/or harm to someone else of lighter complexion. They do not know me from Adam, but that’s okay because in their mind I look like the crook they seen on “Law & Order” last night and that is more than enough for them.
There are those of us who by prejudice based on a past experience will endeavor to assume a stranger is simply up to no good due to his/her outward appearance. Unlike us God does not judge on the basis of appearance, and since He doesn’t, neither should we. When something appears a certain way to us, we had better make sure of it through proper investigation, lest we misrepresent and do a great deal of damage. Since we cannot know men's hearts unless they tell us, we have to be very careful to not jump to conclusions about situations and people. Stereotyping and racial profiling has no place in the kingdom of God.
2. God Is No Respecter Of Persons
“"My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons." (James 2: 1) God shows no partiality to anyone simply because of who they are or who they may think they are. In Paul’s letter to the Romans he explained that the time order of God's plan was not a sign of injustice or favoritism. "There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on sinning—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism"—Romans 2: 9 – 11. How many people are passed over for promotion on their jobs simple because they are not considered the right color or gender? Not because they are actually qualified but they are more or less a “good ole boy” that has a deer lease somewhere.
According to a census that was taken recently minority youth in the United States represent 23% of the total population aged ten to seventeen. However, this same group comprises nearly 52% of the population of juveniles who are detained or in some form of confinement. Why is this so? I assure you it is not as one bigot recently declared that, “minorities are more prone to violence than that of whites because their makeup” (please don’t ask me what that means) it is because we are quite clearly respecters of person. Some people actually believe that they are born privileged whether or not they live in a mansion or a trailer house, and they also believe that every one else should recognize their superiority and act accordingly.
The Jews during biblical times thought that they had an inside track to God and as such mistreated the Samaritans. Jews simply despised and would have nothing to do with Samaritans. When the Jews said to Jesus, “Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?” the latter seemed to follow from the former (Jn 8:48). That is, the Jews thought of Samaritans to be just as evil as demons, so merely identifying someone as a Samaritan was understood as an extreme insult among the Jews.
This is why the woman at the well thought it was a shocking thing that Jesus even spoke to her, saying, “‘How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?’ (for Jews have no dealings with Samaritans)” (Jn 4:9). The segregation was so strong, not even their faith in the One True God could unify them (sort of like today). The Samaritans had their own mount of worship called Mount Gerizim that was separate from the mount of Jews (Jn 4:19-21). Jesus didn’t just teach against the prejudice of His day because prejudice is wrong, but also it was his intention to teach that the Gospel was not to be just for the Jews, but for the Gentiles also (that is, non-Jews).
And yet in America today, Sunday morning worship is still the most segregated hour of the week. This declaration, which is attributed to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and has now become a cliché as if it should be understood that the races should never congregate together in the name of the Lord. This is why I am impressed and very grateful for the few churches across the nations who have a multi-cultural congregation. When Jesus told Peter “upon this rock I will build my Church” He didn’t mean I would build my black church, or my white church. He didn’t mean I would build my Hispanic or my Asian church or any other church of ethnicity. The Lord wants us all to be united, and only the devil finds pleasure in us being divided.
3. God Made Us In His Image
It almost seems that the words “United States of America” no longer apply. It seems as if we should more aptly refer to ourselves as the divided states of America instead, when we read our newspapers. We read of a young man shot down in the prime of his life over an assumption that he was up to no good. I heard one young black male say it makes him wonder “Am I next?”, the Supreme Court has overturned portions of the “Voting Rights Act of 1965” and some states in our union are already planning strategies as to just how they will suppress the vote in order that their candidates may win more easily this time (it was the minorities fault that Obama was elected and we got to change that they say). The devil could not be more pleased with America right now.
But I wonder how does God feel about all this? We were made in His image, and His image is not black, white, brown, red, or yellow. From the very beginning we were made to be like Jesus, God the Son. We were all born under the same sun that God created in the beginning. God wants us to love one another, but He surely does not want us to be a doormat for abuse due to the pigmentation of our skin. He surely does not want self-proclaimed vigilantes running around wild with pistols and playing god by determining who should die and who should live because someone is walking in his neighborhood.
He sure does not want judicial systems and governments giving the go ahead to “stand your ground” and just shoot innocent young men who don’t look like you as if it were deer season in the suburbs, and covering their backs by saying don’t worry you’re not guilty because that boy deserved what he got. He sure does not want us acting like animals fighting for territorial privileges. But yet, this is exactly what we are doing in America today. No wonder America is not mentioned anywhere in Biblical prophecy!!!
Now, I am not naïve I’ve been around for a few years. Even if I were just born yesterday—at least I stayed up all night and don’t expect the world, and more specifically America to be without its racist and without racism that would only be a dream. However, I wholeheartedly believe that ALL Christians should be against racism.
And it doesn’t matter if you're Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Church of Christ, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Lutheran, or any other denomination... Jesus and His teachings are the basis of our Christian faith. We are suppose to follow His teachings and most assuredly we are suppose to follow His example. I’ve been reading by Bible for a very long time now, and I have yet to read where it is condoned to racially profile someone because they ‘might’ cause trouble. I haven’t read anything concerning the need for us to ‘stand our ground’ the closest I can find to this is where it says, “Trust in the Lord and He shall direct your path.” The Bible tells us to treat each other as we would treat ourselves. Now I ask you, would you want to be treated like you are treating others who are different than you in any way?
Would you like to be the last hired and first fired? Would you like worrying about your child being shot down as he is simply leaving the local 7-11? Of course not! We as Christians must not underestimate the evil of racism in the human heart. This racism has been planted there by non other than the devil himself who would love to sift you like wheat if he were given the chance. “Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne. Yet that scaffold sways the future, behindeth them unknown standeth God within the shadows keeping watch upon His own.” –James Russell Lowell