Photo by August de Richelieu on Pexels.com
28Now one of the scribes had come up and heard their debate. Noticing how well Jesus had answered them, he asked Him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”29Jesus replied, “This is the most important: ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. 30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’g 31The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’h No other commandment is greater than these.”-Mark 12: 28-30
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”-John 3:16
There is a difference between having a relationship with someone and having a transactional association. When you are in relationship with someone, you walk with the person in their ups and downs. Anything that you do is out of love and care. When something happens to them, you feel their pain because of the love you have for them. When you have a transactional association, your association is based on a transaction. You may give something to someone like your money or time but there is no relationship. You do not know about one another and any type of association is surface.
When Jesus was asked about the greatest command, he told all his children who are his disciples to love God and to love their neighbor as they love themselves. Jesus did not command us to love everyone who looks, sounds, votes and thinks like us. He said to love your neighbor which can be anyone. Systemic racism has been bought to the front of our lives. The reason it is systemic is because racism is built into our society which includes the church. The fact that many churches have decided to remain silent during this pivotal time is alarming, disappointing and painful.
There has been an uneven playing field for centuries when it comes to the African-American experience. Racism has become ingrained into the fabric of our society of our lives. Do you know last night I wanted to take out my trash but decided against it because I thought it would cost me my life? I have been racially profiled in stores, humiliated by the police, called the N word and more. In Christian settings, I have experienced harsh racism. There are tears I cannot begin to describe that I have cried because of my beautiful black skin. I do not believe every church is racist. I am thankful for the Body of Christ. I do think there is an overdue conversation that needs to occur in the Body of Christ about systemic racism.
Race is not a political or patriotic issue. It is a human issue. Why should an African-American accept being discriminated against because “That is the way it has always been?” As God’s light bearers, we have a responsibility to raise our Christianity above everything else to obey God. When Jesus was murdered for our sins, he died for every one of us. God did not exclude anyone. Every child of God was declared free because of Jesus’ death. Since we are all children of God, we belong to the same family. That means we should fight for one another. We should not discard someone because of how they look, vote or their style of worship.
People have assumed because I am Christian African-American I vote a certain way. I am not aligned with any party because no party fully represents me. I am a Christian first. There used to be a time when I held politics and other things above my faith. When I fully surrendered to God, I had to surrender anything that I placed above him. That means I must see things through his eyes. That means I must be relational. How can you serve a group of people or donate to cause but you don’t have any empathy or love toward the people you are serving? This is a time for all of us to ask God what he called each of us to do during this crucial time. We are all children of God and we need to make sure we are loving one another in a true and empathetic way.