Same dust, same ashes. Same shed blood covers us, same blood spills out of us.
And those are the only colors that should concern us.
We start in darkness, we have been offered ruby red redemption and we will end, in either eternal darkness or light.
We should at least consider how the enemy has used what God allows to be the very few things that make us uniquely similar, to make us uniquely divided.
Really think about it, circumstances aside… we are born the same way, no race has different organs or limbs, no nationality has something other than blood running through their veins. Our bodies are bruised by the same things, our hearts break for the same reasons. We only look differently and live differently, that’s it.
God intended the fullness of our identity to be found in him alone, not our color, or nationality, gender, party, or position. The reality is, we aren’t that different.
And yet, here we are. In our sin and pride, we use the few differences we have to elevate or enslave, to give opportunity or reason to oppress, to hinder or hate others.
We have elevated “self” far above its intended place and certainly far above “same.” We have so much of our significance wrapped up in “Who I am,” how “I identify,” and “My experience….” what could give us more ways to relate to others gives the enemy more ways to divide us. He prefers us divided unto manageable, conquerable groups- isolated from the rest of the body, unaware of the power we possess when we unite.
Then we spend our words and wisdom, energy, time, and focus talking about– the division, how it happened, and how to fix it. We have whole campaigns, approved and banned words, professions created to address this schism, people make millions in the “social justice” market without really doing anything. We find in a few years that we are more divided than ever.
We had 8 years of the most “racially aware, diverse, and sensitive” leadership we’ve ever had, under Obama, that left us without question, more dangerously, violently divided than ever before.
Why? 2 reasons. We have had this whole conversation free of context. We have had the secular conversation over race for years without having the spiritual one.
Ignorance is not the root. Even history makes an interesting, albeit errant culprit. Racism and slavery are not American issues, not even white/black issues. How far back would you like to go? Egypt? Rome? Jews? Phillipines? Slaves of the Orient and Islands? Long before we enslaved others, we enslaved each other– those closest, those weakest. It’s more than history, it’s heart. And the heart is a poor multi-tasker, capable of revealing only what is already within. Good fruit or bad fruit.
The root of this particular fruit? Sin.
You can’t have a conversation about racism without addressing the SIN, in all of us.
Sin has destroyed the families of the poor AND affluent, sin has destroyed the marriages of entire generations, sin has made sloth an income earning goal, sin leaves children un-parented in 700 sq. ft apartments and 400k houses. Sin has us so fixed on what “I want and when I want it” that self-control is an exception and not even an expectation anymore. Sin makes us need to oppress others to feel empowered, sin makes us need to blame others for our state. Sin makes us value life, only as long as it is convenient or necessary for our personal good.
This is what we look like, when we look nothing like our Father.
And then, we try and fix our sin issue with secular band-aids. Re-education? Sensitivity training? Neutral language? Changing habits does not change heart
The Gospel is the answer and the only answer. The Gospel IS equality, it is just, it is mercy, it is free. But equality apart from the Gospel is insufficient, justice apart from the Gospel is insufficient.
You see, social justice is not the Gospel. Racial equality is not the Gospel. Diversity? Nope. Still not the Gospel.
Social justice doesn’t solve the problem of sin that separates us from God for eternity. Affirmative action, changing our vocabulary, and social structures may provide a feeling of equality, but salvation it is not.
Jesus did use social justice… to share the Gospel and to ensure everyone heard it. But social justice wasn’t THE Message he was getting to, it was a means.
We use social justice as a substitute for the gospel… as a means to grow our churches.
We have elevated these things far above what they deserve, to make the church relevant and competitive in a sinful world. We have used strategies of man to free us from the uncomfortable task of getting to SIN and the awkward and offensive subject of Hell.
So, what if we do become kinder, gentler versions of ourselves? More harmonious as we journey together… so what, if the road we walk arm in arm, still leads to Hell.
That road is paved with good intentions, paved with appropriate speech and adequate apologies… smoothed over so it feels nice under our feet. But totally free of truth. Void of repentance or transformation, void of the Gospel……it is still a road that unimpeded, will end in torment.
There are only 2 groups, as He sees it– and I trust His perspective. There are: “His” and “Not His”…or “Not His Yet….” No other label matter at His throne.
The danger of social justice? Is that it doesn’t go near far enough.
Behavior modification is wholly insufficient, when brokenness is required.
Sorrow over whiteness is an offensive and childish substitute, for sorrow over wickedness. Do you see the comfortable cover it wrongly provides?
Racism will not be addressed by merely changing habits, but by deep repentance and confession of such offense against our Creator and His Creation. Repentance bears lovely fruit and is seen in every action and word towards every man. Especially, the oppressed, abused, despised and disregarded.
Hate and ambivalence won’t be legislated away. Our hearts cannot be commanded out of rebellion, unless they are RULED BY HIM.
Racism is a sin against brothers and sisters, but sin against our Father, too.
Until our heart breaks under the weight of that sin, until it breaks for how we grieve the Creator… it will never break ENOUGH for how we treated those He created.
We need far more than social justice can offer and it will only be found on our knees before a Holy God. And it begins with “Father forgive ME.”