“For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” I — Corinthians 12:13
“‘Let none of you devise evil in your heart against another, and do not love perjury; for all these are what I hate,’ declares the Lord.” — Zechariah 8:17
On Dec. 18, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The most segregated hour of Christian America is 11 o’clock on Sunday morning, the same hour when many are standing to sing, ‘In Christ There Is No East or West.’”
This week my wife and I were watching a music video made by Bill and Gloria Gather and a number of Christian artists at The Potter’s House. The Potter’s House is a large black congregation in Dallas, Texas, founded by Bishop T.D. Jakes. The Gaithers were there to film a program of music with gospel singers from all walks of life.
As I watched the video I was struck by the thought that there is too much hate, too much prejudice, too many people not willing to love their neighbor in our country. I sat watching the video wishing that it would be viewed in every household in America.
Would it solve all of our problems? No. But it would require many people to pause and think about how they relate to those of a different color, a different religion, or a different ethnicity.
What do I immediately feel when I meet someone that does not look or speak as I do? I John 2:11 tells us, “But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness.”
Evangelist Billy Graham took a stand against racism back in 1952. He was scheduled to preach a crusade in Jackson, Mississippi, and when he got there blacks and whites in the audience had been segregated and roped off from each other.
Graham personally went over and pulled the ropes down and refused to let them be put back up again. He went back to the platform and said that we are all equal before God, and he determined never to speak before a segregated audience ever again.
Racism is a sin against God. Why? Because we are all created in God’s image. And the heart that believes one race is more valuable than another is a sinful heart. Racism is prejudice, discrimination, antagonism directed against someone of a different race, the judgment of one person that their race is better than that of another race. What does the Bible say about this?
John 7:24 says, “Stop judging by mere appearances and make a right judgment.” Romans 2:11 tells us, “For God does not show favoritism.”
Did you know that low-income communities of color have 50 percent fewer grocery stores within the radius of their neighborhoods than those in higher- income, predominately white communities? And, according Russell D. Moore and Andrew T. Walker, authors of “The Gospel & Racial Reconciliation,” that in low-income supermarkets, there is 20 percent less produce available, and what is available is 30 percent more expensive? Why should that be?
It’s time we talk the talk and walk the walk. It’s time we let the love of Christ and the light of the Gospel shine in our heart, in our home, in our community and in our city. There is too much hatred and darkness.
Who are you listening to? Who do you imitate? Someone who wears their prejudice on their sleeve? Someone who speaks soft words unkindly of others that are different? Both are wrong!
Hatred is an emotion, an action and a choice. And it is a sin! As Galatians 3:28 tells us, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is either slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Let us love like Jesus and be willing to show it sacrificially and without partiality. Let us walk honestly and speak the truth in love with the one sitting beside you, living beside you, working beside you, in the street and across the street. Let us be bold and compassionate and have an understanding heart. And the light of Christ will shine forth, and darkness will not win. Ever!
Emmett Murphy is a retired Christian church minister.