I haven’t written in a while, but I have been taking everything in trying to figure out just what to say about this crazy world. Should I talk about the Christian response to the current presidential election (gag)? Should I write about how Christians should look at the Syrian refugee issue (interesting)? Or perhaps I should write about how we as Christians are losing ground in the social pecking order and what that means for us in the future in America (scary!).
But, what I think I really need to write about is how Christians should respond to Black Lives Matter and the problem of race in America.
Let me start by saying I agree 100 percent that there is a race problem in this country. I’ll also say that the justice system can be quite weighted against African-American defendants due to a number of documented issues. Lastly, I will agree that there are some in the police community who are bad apples and target African-Americans and that community has a right to be concerned and angry.
But what does that have to do with Christianity? Well, I’m going to tell you.
What I am most concerned about is how race and our response to race on all sides is dividing us instead of uniting us. And let me be bold and say this is a scheme from Satan to keep us at each other’s throats instead of loving one another as we are called to do by Jesus.
Christian readers, pop quiz: How many of you were offended when Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem? If you were, for whatever reason, you fell prey to Satan! He divided you over something worldly and made you pick a side against your fellow-man whom you are to love as yourself.
See how subtle it can be?
Unfortunately, it’s not that subtle and people are still falling for it. One California University agreed to allow the African-American student to segregate themselves from the white students over what they called “Microaggression.” They even put up signs saying, “Colored People Only – No Whites Allowed.” Martin Luther King is rolling in his grave. As a Baptist minister his dream was of white and black children playing together not purposely dividing against each other.
But it gets more complicated. Terms such as “Culture Appropriation” and “Gentrification” have popped up to describe other encroachments on the black community. Black Lives Matter is a cry by the African-American community against what they perceive is an entire system created to keep them from their rights. Again, there are clear injustices and there are clear points with which I totally agree.
But everyone is missing the point. Our fight is not against each other; it is against Satan who is manipulating this world to pit us against each other. Let me give you another example.
People in the minority communities will talk about “White Privilege” broad-brushing every white person’s experience because they are not discriminated against due to their skin color, but in fact have advantages regardless of their experience for being white. Now if that’s not a way to lose friends and create division I don’t know what is.
All of these issues and more do nothing but keep us from following Jesus. And that, my friends, is Satan’s plan. The more he can divide us and keep us fighting over worldly things like the color of our skin the less we will focus our lives on transformation and being Christ like. Don’t forget Peter’s warning that the Devil prowls around like a lion looking for someone to devour.
So what should we do as Christians, both black and white? Here are my thoughts:
- Don’t be offended – Jesus told us clearly that we are not to be offended by this stuff (turn the other cheek; die to the world; love your neighbor; store up your treasures in heaven, etc.…) There is nothing being said out there that should move you off your mark as a Christian. Let God’s light shine even when insults are flying.
- Recognize that other people who have different experiences from you are hurting and much of their emotion comes from that pain. Have Christian empathy for your fellow-man.
- Don’t make this about race and things that divide us. Make this about God’s children and how God commands you to treat your brothers and sisters, all of whom are also made in God’s image and whom He loves just as much as you.
- Understand you are in a war with Satan – don’t be unaware of his schemes and don’t fall for his tricks. Refuse to be a pawn in his game. Love your neighbor as yourself even if you don’t agree with them politically, socially, or otherwise.
- Don’t pick sides – this is not an either/or proposition like Satan is trying to make it. You can care about the African-American community without hating the police. You can support the cops without hating African-Americans. In fact, you can disagree with anything that is out there without demonizing the other side.
- Hold to what is true and the only thing that is really true comes from God. Read your Bible if you don’t know what I mean.
- Be a peacemaker – if at all possible be the voice of Biblical reason among your friends who are picking sides. I have a number of African-American friends and I’m sure my views and experience are not always the same as theirs. I might go as far as say I disagree with some of their conclusions on occasion. But I love them because my friendship isn’t based on them agreeing with me, it’s based on our shared lives.
- Go make a difference. Show the other side that the stereo-type that Satan is using to describe you is completely wrong and that we are all God’s children not some label.
- Control your tongue (and your keyboard). Don’t fall to the temptation to defend yourself, your race, or God as if this were some debate club event. God can defend Himself and you just need to be understanding, telling the truth in love and gentleness not all caps.
- Lastly, pray and pray hard. Our nation is going to tear itself apart over this if we keep going down this road and Satan is laughing at the once mighty Christian Nation America as it inches closer to falling off the cliff. You want to fight someone? Fight Satan through prayer, fasting, and the love of Christ.