Staying on Point
Growing up in Decatur, Ga. (a suburb of Atlanta), I was no stranger to the racial divide in America. From sixth grade through high school, out of fear that I would get into trouble, my mother had me bussed out of my neighborhood to attend majority white schools on the other side of town. Initially, I hated it. As far as I was concerned, before I had met one person, they were all racist and wanted nothing to do with me as much as I wanted nothing to do with them. Directly and indirectly, that message had been downloaded to me and I believed it.
Over time, as I developed friendships and participated in athletics, the issue of skin color began to fade and I started to see my classmates and teammates for who they were, not what color they were. My friendship circle became very diverse. But the reality of the racial divide was reinforced to me every day that I got on and off the bus going to and coming home from school. The only Caucasian faces I saw in my neighborhood were police officers or workers in the stores and businesses in the area. The only faces like mine that I saw around my school were like me; once the final school bell rang for the day, they boarded a bus to return to the other side of town.
His message was consistent: “The Word of God says…”
The first time that I stepped into the Kansas City Baptist Temple in 1994, I stood in the lobby and took notice of all the different flags of countries from all over the world hanging throughout the lobby. It was during the World Outreach Celebration Conference. I didn’t understand it, but thought it was very unique and interesting. What I observed next floored me. Standing about five yards in front of me was a black woman who was happily greeted by a young white kid who rushed her with a hug and a kiss on the cheek. That’s when I noticed that the diversity of the lobby extended beyond the various flags that were represented. Black people and white people were present and they were not just tolerating one another. There were smiles and hugs and what felt like genuine love for one another.
I would come to Christ shortly after that and start discipleship. And God’s Word began to rock my world regarding EVERYTHING! My discipler was Dave Hill who is now a pastor on Pastor Alan Shelby’s staff at Harvest Baptist Church in Blue Springs, Mo. He led me to Christ, discipled me and poured his life into me for years even after the formal discipleship process had concluded. What was refreshing though was that he too is a black man.
The black men that I had been exposed to throughout my childhood were convinced that white people hated us and they were never to be trusted. But Pop’s (Dave Hill) message was drastically different. His message was biblical. He taught me that in Christ, there is neither Jew nor Greek and that Christ is all and in all. Pops was the only earthly father I had known and I will always be eternally grateful for how the Lord used him in my life. He loved me and treated me as his blood son. But his focus was not to enhance my blackness and make me a better black man nor did he water the seeds of racism that had been planted in my life. It was the opposite. His message was consistent: “The Word of God says…”
This problem is an eternal, not a political problem...
Regardless of the situation, whatever the Word of God said was what I was to think, speak and act on. This speaks to why there is racial tension and divide in our nation and even within some churches. What God says has been disregarded and man is trying to resolve these issues apart from the knowledge of God. That has never worked and it never will.
Here’s God’s position on race and it must be yours!
Rom 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
1 Cor 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
1 Pet 1:24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
Male, female, Jew, Gentile, rich, poor, educated or uneducated, the greatest problem that all Americans face is not a president who lacks discretion in his speech or a system that alienates or unfairly treats certain people groups and classes within the nation. That is not to excuse injustice and greed. However, even if we corrected those things, we still have not addressed the greatest problems that all Americans face. This problem is an eternal, not a political problem. It is the problem of sin. Regardless of gender, class or political affiliation, without Christ, people will spend eternity in hell which will be cast into the lake of fire. No problem or issue could possibly be more severe than this and that is why we are ambassadors for Christ. God has given us the ministry of reconciliation and we must be careful to guard against getting sidetracked with another business or agenda.
As the church, we ultimately address all people problems by winning people to Christ, discipling them and deploying them to the world with the gospel and the Word of God to make disciples wherever God takes them. Being faithful to that work is far more profitable than passionately debating issues on social media and adding fuel to the fires that are burning by giving our opinion one way or the other about what is going on.
As disciplers, we MUST stay on point. Our job is not to persuade the person we’re discipling to align themselves with our perspective on the current events. Our focus is to teach them the pure Word of God and provoke them to think, speak and walk like the Lord Jesus Christ.
That’s the message and there is no other message.