Christ broke down the walls that divide us.
There is no room for racism in the heart of the Christian. All racism is hate directed towards someone created in the image of God. The sin of racism is in the very fabric of this nation—its painful ripple effect is still felt, seen and experienced today—but we must reject all forms of racism at every turn. Jesus shed his blood for all mankind, to bring peace and forgiveness, and to break down the walls that divide. When one comes to the cross, where the ground is level and where grace is freely given, we are then able to love all people with the grace we have been shown.
We as a church have worked for decades to carry on the Lord’s request in Philippians 2:3 to value or consider others above one’s self. That is the opposite of racism—to look at others and not see them as equals, but as greater than yourself. Jesus was our example. Jesus was in no way our equal. He was far greater than us because he was the Son of God. Yet he humbled himself and came to this earth and died upon a cross (Phil. 2:5–8) so that we, in our sinful state, might find salvation. Then we live with him in his heavenly abode forever and ever.
We must adopt Christ’s attitude of humility and love with everyone we know and meet, and it should go without saying that this includes our brothers and sisters of color. After the death of George Floyd, we have seen—like never before—people of all races from all over the world standing together as one, in support of racial justice and equality. In his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of his longing for unity and peace and declared that it would take both black and white men and women standing together to make this dream a reality. Did you know that within the huge crowd of 250,000 people that gathered on August 28, 1963 at the Washington Monument, many Caucasians stood side by side with their African American brothers and sisters? Addressing this, Dr. King said:
“The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.”
Indeed, we cannot walk alone. Here are three reasons why Christians must live out Dr. King’s dream each and every day:
1. Heaven will be diverse. So, you might as well get used to it now! We learn from Revelation 7:9 that people from every tribe, tongue, and nation will be in Heaven, worshipping God together. Shepherd Church is a multiracial, multiethnic, multigenerational church. So are many others; however, 300,000 churches in America still remain one color. This must change because a diverse church is a reflection of what heaven is going to look like.
2. Jesus came to break down the walls that divide. From Jesus’s eye-opening conversation with the Samaritan woman in John 4, to Philip’s conversation with the Ethiopian Eunuch, the Gospel crosses cultural and racial barriers and unites people in Christ’s love. Galatians 3:28 declares that in Christ, every wall is broken down, and we are all one family. That doesn’t mean we don’t see and appreciate our differences; it just means we don’t allow them to divide us. (See also Gal. 2:11–16 and Isaiah 52 and 53.)
3. When the world sees us lovingly care for all people … then they will see Jesus! In John 17:20–21, Jesus prayed to Father and asked him to make believers one, just as he and the Father are one. In verse 23, Jesus goes on to say, “… so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” The world will see Jesus when they see us as believers loving others. Ephesians 4:2–5 implores us to, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
This is how we carry the baton of Dr. King’s dream, become ambassadors of reconciliation and peace, and win hearts for Christ. Amen and amen.