Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – February 3, 2016
Peter addressed them, “You know, I’m sure that this is highly irregular. Jews just don’t do this—visit and relax with people of another race. But God has just shown me that no race is better than any other. Acts 10:27-28, The Message
Racism has always hurt my heart. The thought of one human being treating another human being less than human because of their skin color—makes my skin crawl. As a young boy being bused to a primarily African American elementary school in Meridian, Mississippi—I learned to love, admire and laugh with my black friends. My heart quivers in grief and my eyes fill with tears when I feel the pain of injustice from friends who still experience the sting of racial sin. Thankfully, the unmerited suffering of racism is Christ’s call to embrace His unmerited grace.
Peter confesses to a diverse group of Jews and Gentiles his culture’s sin of racism. God showed Peter (one of the most influential leaders of the infant Christian faith) that no race is better than any other—to think, believe or act superior to another group of people is to commit the sin of racism. One race’s claim of elitism over another grieves God. What one man may call unclean by his smug arrogance or shameless ignorance, is what the Lord calls clean. The birthplace of a person does not determine their value—being born in God’s image defines a person’s value.
“After a long debate, Peter got up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the message of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows and understands the heart, testified to them, giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith [in Jesus]” (Acts 15:7-9, AMP).
Are you or someone you know a victim of racism? If so, speak the language of forgiveness if you have been treated harshly by other human beings because of your race. Like Jesus proclaimed from the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34)—you lift up the cross of love and forgiveness. Those guilty of crimes should be punished by the law and Christians guilty of racism should be called out by the church—and churches guilty of racism will be judged by God. The Kingdom of God is the most racially diverse place in history.
What is the best remedy for racism? Jesus is the short answer. It’s imperative for those of us who follow Jesus as Savior and Lord to individually treat all races with respect, kindness and love. Similar to Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman we likewise—as individuals—go to society’s outcasts. We show them the love of the Lord, we share the gospel and we educate them in the ways of Christ. Passive racism is overcome by active inclusiveness of others different than ourselves. We work together, we worship together, we play together—all for the glory of God!
“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9-10).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me Your heart of love and acceptance for all people regardless of their race or religion.
Application: Invite someone from a different culture than yourself into your home for dinner.
Post/Tweet this today: The birthplace of a person does not determine their value—being born in God’s image defines a person’s value. #WisdomHunters #unmeritedracism
Worship Resource: 6 minute video – African Children’s Choir: Walking in the Light
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© 2016 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
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