The truth is we are all broken and it’s just part of being human to suffer pain. Smashing your finger with a hammer hurts. Slicing open your finger with a knife doesn’t feel good either. According to the National Institute of Health Statistics the annual cost of pain and being human in the United States, including healthcare expenses, lost income, and lost productivity, is estimated to be $100 billion. The goal they say is to give hope and power over pain.
That leads me to ask an important question. How do we as men and women of God give a true hope to those who hurt with emotional and spiritual pain? If we fail to reach out with love to all people it will result in a far greater loss. The truth is, it will cost us the souls of a fallen humanity. Lately I have noticed a more urgent and passionate debate on race and the church. It is long over due. Maybe we had time to reflect while taking cover from a virus that isolated us from the comfort of our churches. The truth is, the enemy will do anything in his power to divide us and make us believe a lie. We have to remain vigilant even through the pain of losing our normal way of worship and fellowship with others. We have to be accountable on all of these issues and can’t be afraid to confront each other. Just recently I had a discussion with a very close friend of mine. It led to a very good question. He asked me why Christians are still divided on the issue of race and the church. You see the truth is, it was a hard discussion to have but when a white man and a black man speak the hard truth in love that means a change is gonna come. Mr. Sam Cooke would welcome that. The truth is, there is no excuse for believers to be lagging behind in unity and racial equality. We should be leading the discussion but we are mostly silent. Maybe we have been using the wrong prescription for pain. Avoiding the pain of people will not make it go away.
The truth is, fear is a crippling thing for most people when talking about why the church is so far from solving the issues of race. If we put our faith over fear the church would have a more aggressive approach to the problems of racial division and it would be far less prevalent. Why don’t we dive into more conversations about this? While talking to my friend we both agreed from the very beginning that people need to repent as a church for not doing more to open up the dialogue. The truth is, we as a human race have failed to understand the fears and feelings of the past and present. And to start the healing it begins with each one of us. Being a white man I see many of my people standing at a safe distance not wanting to get stung by the fiery darts of criticism. Many of my black brothers in the church are angry that they are asked way too many times to pull back the curtain to expose the problems of race. This is the point my long time friend was making. We serve the same God so why don’t we as white Christians pray for wisdom and move beyond our willful ignorance?
From one honest conversation with my friend I learned a great deal. For instance, I asked him why the church was so segregated? He mentioned the dynamics of slavery and how it created a need for black Christians to worship together. So whites went one way and blacks went another. It just naturally created a deep division that still exists. A discussion of why the church continue’s it’s perpetual slide into racial separation has proven to be quite muted. The church just sits in a hot, unhealthy stew of silence and spiritual apathy and if we don’t dive deep into a civil discourse the solution will continue to evade us.
The truth is, as a white man I pray for more understanding into slavery and it’s origin. I know that in the early inception of this sinful subjugation that so called white Christian men saw a need to be the guardians of unequal justice and the evil plot of slavery was created to destroy an innocent race of people. I know that in this perilous time of oppression that the black man didn’t put those shackles on himself. The truth is, it was the white man. But has anything happened since then to shift the angry tides as they crash towards a church that is overwhelmed by the noise of dissension? We as believers have covered our ears and avoided any confrontation that would take down the wall of ignorance that systematically blocks the glory of God in His church. We have voided the real problem for so long. The truth is, it’s a sin issue not a skin issue.
History can be a great teacher as we learn from past failures but then there are some lessons that we never learn. The truth is, God’s children are still occupied with the old relics and not so sacred cows as we pray with idle hands lifted up to an unholy altar of dead works. Absent are the true works of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The truth is, it’s a flat out denial of God’s plan when we don’t pray and worship together as one chosen people. Why does church continue to be the most segregated hour in America? The truth is, the church of God needs to repent from it’s commitment to a white race or a black and we must commit to the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12 says, “by so great a cloud of witnesses we are to lay aside the weight and run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
The truth is, it’s time for both white and black Christians to examine our hearts and ask what we are trying to hide. Scripture says that from the heart flows the issues of life and there is no greater issue than the racial unity of the church. But we are not in one accord and there is no flowing when it comes to a change in the heart. Many are drowning in stagnant waters of a selfish need to be right. The truth is, many white people show no compassion and take pride in telling someone who is black to cover their wounds and get over it. I can also see how bitterness would begin to live in the heart of a black man after there is no real repentance by His white brother in the church. So how do we heal?
There is a battle with Satan ahead and God’s word says, we need to put on the whole armor of God. (Ephesians 6:10-20). The truth is, the church has believed a lie and the one crucial piece of armor is the belt of Truth. We need it to go in battle for all humanity and against the schemes and lies of Satan. The fight will take place in the mighty gulf of mankind that has spanned through the ages of time. And the great saints of God, both past and present, long to see this dark divide filled with God’s shining glory. We must listen for those justified cries of pain as we press forward with great travail to bring the kingdom of God together. We can embrace the pain and remember with a heavy heart the God who suffered by the hands of those who persecuted Him. The truth is, the son of God was beaten, bruised, and crucified by a divided church. He was cursed, mocked, and chastised. To think of the pain that Jesus suffered by the hands of his captors should remind us of how much God suffered for the church. He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. And then I hear a heavenly chant and the roar of a great crowd as they cheer the faithful on. From high on the mountain top they take their jump with joy as they dive into the valley where the sorrows of men rage on. Love will be victorious and all inequity against our brother will be defeated and forgiven. Then a song of peace rings out.”Glory, Glory, be not afraid.” A hard fought battle lies ahead and the wounds will be great. But the everlasting truth is, By His stripes we are healed.