(ThyBlackMan.com) “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a)
Jesus delivered me (Colossians 1:13), setting me free from my love of, and slavery to my sin (John 3:19, Romans 6), saving me from the condemnation I deserve (Romans 8:1). Instead of wrath, God gave me life, a relationship with himself apart from anything I did to merit his love (Ephesians 2:1-10). To be sure, my allegiance is to Christ.
I am a Jesus follower first. The aspects of my existence the world uses to profile me, namely my citizenship, nationality, ethnicity, ancestry, the color of my skin, my gender, political affiliations, and my social class status are all subordinate to my identity and satisfaction in Christ, my God and my Savior. That being the case, I resolve not to place my trust in man: governments, politicians and parties, nor academic institutions, associations and cultures, nor the media and scientific communities, especially those that reject a Biblical Creator God.
Like Jesus, who demonstrated love to those that misunderstood and slandered him, mocked and mistreated him, persecuted and murdered him, my desire is to love my neighbor, which includes my enemies, and treat others the way I want to be treated, for Christ’s sake and for the good of people. Jesus followers should never fight hate with hate. Whether the prejudice is real or alleged, genuine Christians must strive to meet others with the power of the Gospel, the good news that Jesus came to die for sinners. Regarding those in our sights, we must practice caution and refuse to jump to conclusions and being suspicious of others, which necessarily includes labeling people and judging their motives. As Jesus followers, we should respond graciously, peacefully, and lovingly, the way of I Corinthians 13.
Since humanity inherited a disease the Bible calls sin, the cure is necessarily spiritual (Romans 5:12-21). It is pointless to seek
societal change merely through legislation, culture, science, and education which does not possess the capacity to convert our hard and selfish hearts. The power to transform people and nations comes through the Son of God (Romans 1:16), who lived a perfectly sinless and righteous life, who willingly offered himself as a substitutionary sacrifice on the cross and died, who rose from the dead on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) and ascended into heaven where he reigns over all.
It stands to reason that Christians will be known by their fruit. We will either pursue godly living or self-centeredness. Our profession of faith in God will be displayed by how we choose to live together in a sinful, selfish, and secular society. Having said that, all those who confess to believe in Christ, but continue living a lifestyle of practicing sin and selfishness, while embracing hostility, are nothing more than religious hypocrites. People that have been born again should have a desire to grow in love for God and others (Epistle of 1 John).
Christians must be discerning and understand various cultures for what they are, both carnal and temporal. That being said, we look to the scriptures rather than seeking answers to our questions in a world that is hostile to God, nor do we become infatuated with worldly systems and cultures that do not honor God as God (Romans 12:1-2, & 1 John 2:15-16). On the contrary, Jesus followers see Christ as the treasure. He is our hope, peace, joy and contentment. And when the storms of life assault our souls, terrorize our minds, and trouble our weary hearts, Christ is the solid Rock in which we stand.
How does this all relate to our current situation? Jesus followers are individuals that constitute the church. We are called to be known for our love of Christ and people, people of differing ethnicities and colors, cultures, and socioeconomic status. Since God is a just, or an impartial God, he never discriminates individuals based on superficial things like color or class. We are all created in the image of God and have derived from the same original parents (Genesis 1&2). That being true, the level or percentage of melanin the Lord produces in our skin, making us darker or lighter, is God’s prerogative. It has no bearing on how he loves and cares for his people. The obvious implication here is that we also must choose to love and care for people regardless of ethnicity and color.
Here in America attitudes of hatred, prejudice, and pride, were clearly seen in groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the Black Panthers, and are often expressed at White Supremacist rallies, and Black Lives Matter protests, with animosity leading to violence and looting, with aggression toward one another and even toward police officers. Make no mistake, God’s word condemns all such attitudes and behavior as lawlessness and sin against God himself (1 John 3:4, Romans 3:23, Romans 13:1-7, 2 Timothy 3:1-5).
Since the Lord chose to demonstrate his love by saving his enemies, sinners like us (Romans 1:18-32, Romans 5:8), we must also choose to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31, Luke 6:27, Philippians 2:3-4), which necessarily includes our adversaries. God promises that he will give strength to his people that strive for contentment, peace, and joy (Epistle of Philippians). Christians belong to Christ; therefore, we should strive embrace humility and renounce pride, we must pursue love and resist hostility. Unity is both the will of God and a prize that Jesus fought for on the cross, and he purchased our reconciliation with his blood. Christ died to bring us to God the Father and to bring unity among his people (Ephesians 2). This is not a proposal, but rather a Gospel necessity and marching orders for believers. Are you a follower of Jesus? Live out your reconciliation and live in love. And if you must fight for anything, fight for those things: reconciliation and love.
Staff Writer; Bob Michaels
Serving the Lord while uplifting the human race. One can reach me at; [email protected].