In light of what has so tragically happened in our nation over the days past, I cannot help but reflect upon what has dominated the heart of man since the beginning of time: Racism. As marchers protested the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue, some were heard shouting anti-Semitic statements and were found marching out with the state of mind that one race is superior to another.
I want to state that I’m from the South, and I love my heritage and my culture, but I am not a racist. I see the faults in my culture and heritage, and I’m not proud of them. I’m glad that slavery no longer exists and that, God willing, racism is being extracted from my culture. It will be a great day when the world can see the beautiful sides of my culture apart from the sting of slavery and racism. There is so much more to it than that. Since I bought my house, half of the people that have lived in it with me have been African American, and we still see each other regularly. I’ve had dinner at my table with Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and Jews. I cannot begin to recount all the nationalities I’ve entertained as my guests. There is so much to love about them all, and I welcome them to my home.
As critical as it is to our country to address the issue of racism, it’s nothing new in the pages of World History. When I think of the fall of man, I remember that a human race defied a heavenly race claiming that they knew better. And with that act the human race was flooded with racism from the earliest of days.
Racism has and always will exist in our world because we are corrupted and broken. Cultural misunderstandings shall prompt vast impulses until we are redeemed. Yet, it is still necessary to condemn these acts as treason against one God who loves equally all He has created. When the Father sent Jesus to die on the cross it was not for the benefit of one race, nor was the death of Christ motivated for the outstanding actions of any one culture. It shall never be necessary, but should Christ die in modern times no one race would deserve it more than the other, for all have sinned, and therefore no one is superior to the other.
To take the mindset that my race is better than yours is negligent of complete cultural understanding, both of yours and mine. Yet I must ask, where is the light in modern day shed upon these issues when our churches are just as segregated?
Every Sunday at our church I see leaders of different nationalities rise above the offenses other cultures in the church might commit against them unwillingly. I see them stand up to what their own cultures negatively teach them about certain others in the church. They rise above because they are seeking to surrender who they are – earthly, to who Christ has called them to be – heavenly. Therefore I plead with brothers and sisters across the globe to allow the work of that great sacrifice on the cross to heal, restore, and reconcile our races into one brotherhood. I call upon churches to adjust their worship styles and leadership to make room for other races and expressions.
As we constantly recall the prayer of our Lord in John 17, let it be remembered in this day that His first request for the modern day church was unity (John 17:20-21). At RTN it is at our core to pursue unity and defeat racism. We will always seek to “eagerly maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Will you join us for the sake of the World, for the sake of the gospel?
Bill Johnson, Pastor