When Silence Speak Volumes

Someone once said that Jesus was color blind. Was he?

From an unknown source:

“Jesus didn’t see color. He only saw people. He saw everyone as a person first and then the other things second, if at all.

In his presence, people felt empowered by a love that was freely given, that wasn’t based on their appearance. People were his invention, made in his image, from every race and color.” 

AND ME?

I was raised to give respect and kindness to everyone, regardless of who they were. So, it was quite a surprise the first time I witnessed racism, and it affected me deeply.

It affected me like it did the first time I saw kids hurt another kid because he was different. It was at school.

Years later, I would see Christians offend other Christians because they were different. It was at church. 

I discovered that people could be cruel to those who were different.

 

AN OLD PROBLEM?

Some say that racism is something that happened long ago and no longer exists. 

Last week a friend told me that while serving a church in Alabama, her husband baptized an African American woman. The elders ordered the baptistry drained and scrubbed. Then he was fired.

I vividly remember the KKK marching close to the church I was serving, it stunned me.

Perhaps racism isn’t as widespread or as overtly violent as it once was, but it still exists, there is still violence, and it’s still a problem.

IS RACISM CHRISTIAN?

It isn’t Christian, but that hasn’t stopped it from happening. Here’s a question:

Is racism more of a social issue or a moral issue? 

Racism often gets parked in a social context, which can hinder believers from connecting it to Christ-centered truth.

An Illustration: Most Christians believe that abortion is sinful. They view it as a national stain and stand against it on moral grounds. 

Other Moral Issues:

  1. Sexual immorality
  2. Abuse of women and children
  3. Pornography
  4. Corruption 
  5. Discrimination 

These are identified as moral issues, but not racism.

It’s a sensitive and prickly thing, with plenty of piercing thorns that many preachers try to avoid. I’ve been preaching for forty years and have never delivered a sermon about the sin of racism. Why is that? Have I been afraid? Has it not been relevant to the churches I serve? 

Perhaps I’ve never accepted it as truly immoral. As a Christain leader, I’m to stand against immorality. If racism is sinful, then it’s a moral issue, and I should stand against it on those terms.

“Rather than build a bridge of connection, I created a bubble of silence.” 

I’ve sympathized with African American people, but not empathized. Sympathy allows me to feel bad, but not have to do anything. Empathy allows me to feel bad, and then to engage in their experience, to come alongside and be part of their story.

It can be complicated. Both sides eagerly list the sins of the other and willingly point the fingers of guilt and shame. It can be confusing.

A JOURNEY

I’m asking, “What would Jesus do, and what would he want me to do?”  

I’m reading books about race relations and discussing the problems with people of color. I participated in a webinar on black-white issues. I’ve met with two African American Pastors, saying that I had come to learn and to ask them to teach me.

I don’t have the answers. Frankly, I’m still learning the questions. But I know we must work towards peace. We should strive for the equality that Jesus died to provide, that there be no sides, only his sacred community.

TO CLOSE

I’m aware of an occasion when a white person refused to take a communion tray being passed by a black person. I’m aware because I saw it.

Folks, if we can’t gather together around the table of communion, how will we ever gather togather around the throne of glory? 

I think someone was right. Jesus is color blind.

Shalom

2 thoughts on “When Silence Speak Volumes

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