4 06 2020

love one another
“I can’t breathe!” If any human being has a heart and soul, those words will be etched upon our consciences forever. How one white man who was supposed to be enforcing the law, could behave so barbarically by literally killing another black man with unnecessary brute force is beyond reason. Why didn’t one of the other policemen intervene and right the apparent wrong? Why could bystanders take the time to use their cell phones to record this horrible behavior, but no one stand up and come to the rescue of someone who was clearly being physically abused right before their very eyes? Have we become a pathetic culture of apathetic spectators so used to just observing that we forgot our responsibility to love one another more than we simply admire ourselves?

Is it time to rediscover the parable of Jesus that told the tale of the Good Samaritan? Samaritans and Jews were bitter enemies. According to the overly righteous Pharisees, there was no such thing as a “Good” Samaritan. The prejudice was taught early by the local Rabbis and when Jesus challenged their hidden hatred, He abandoned earthly political correctness so that the way things are done in the Kingdom of God could be revealed. Jesus preached that this planet would never be the place we would find our true purpose. If we are going to be a devoted Disciple of our Savior, then we must behave like we are citizens of Heaven who model the mission of the Master.

I think it might be the right time to rediscover the real Jesus. Jesus wasn’t a white man. Jesus was of Middle Eastern descent. If Jesus just happened to drop into your worship service next week, how many would not even receive Him as Friend, never mind as Lord, solely because of the color of His skin? How many times are we all guilty of not investing the time into reading the book because we don’t like the cover? We make conclusions based upon what we see and not because of solid evidence that we genuinely know. Even Christians wrongly judge people by their color, their education, by what kind of car they drive and clothes they wear and house they live in. All the things that are not championed in Heaven’s court. How many times do we need to be reminded that God did extraordinary works through very ordinary people? If men and women were filled with too much self-pride, it took up the room in their soul that should have been kept for childlike faith! Unbelief freezes the exercise of God’s power. Miracles don’t produce faith. Faith produces miracles! And faith also transforms our selfish flesh into selfless feats!

The salvation Jesus offers us is color blind. It is the gift of God and not the result of our tainted works, so that no one may boast. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus related to people who were different from him and people who to many so-called religious leaders totally ignored. Jesus spent quality time with tax collectors, lepers, prostitutes, and other hopeless and helpless sinners. Jesus did what He did because of His love for all mankind. We don’t have to condone sin but nothing in Scripture validates hating sinners. There is nobody who is beyond the amazing grace of God! If we don’t respect others, then we are literally telling the Creator that He messed up when it came to making certain groups of people. All of us were created in the image of God. Respect isn’t a synonym for agreement, but it does impact the way a person disagrees. One cannot respect another and harbor a desire to overpower that person through insults, dismissal, or derogatory actions. A black man died in Minnesota because too many white people did nothing! Our lack of movement to do what we know to be true will keep the world believing the lies. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. He invited whosoever to the banqueting table. Nobody has the right to kick anyone out of God’s dining room!

If ever there was a day that those who claim to know Jesus do the right thing, it is now. It’s not all Christians that give Christ a bad name! It’s not all Law Enforcement that give hatred so much fame! It’s not all people that excel in things that shame! Crowds so often have no idea why they came! It’s up to you and me to do the right thing!

Speaking of crowds, the definitive difference between peaceful protests and those who stir up mob mentalities of destruction and defiance must be addressed. Crowds are so often created by criticism and hatred. It didn’t take much in the old west to hang an innocent man, just get the instigators to rile up those in attendance. Crowds make lousy decisions in the Bible. It was a crowd that called Noah a fool and encouraged everyone to stay off the boat! It was a crowd that wanted to murder Moses and take everybody back to Egypt. It was a crowd that chose Barabbas over Jesus when it came to deciding the right one to rescue. There is too much divisive behavior going on in our midst today. We must wake up and realize there is an enemy trying to get us to mistrust everything and live in a manner that will only lead to all hell breaking lose. Jesus has authority over evil. We who say we love the Lord must become advocates for stopping the insanity and not spraying more lighter fluid onto the charcoals!

When I was a Youth Pastor in Omaha, Nebraska, we held an event called the Slam Dunk Contest. Over a thousand young people gathered into our church gym that night. The attendance was made up with kids of all kinds of colors and nowhere else in the area was that happening in a positive setting. On this particular night, it didn’t take much to realize that there was trouble brewing when most of the crowd were rushing to the exits and heading for the parking lot. Outside there was a faceoff between a white kid and a black kid and everyone else was ready to rumble. A sponsor wanted me to call the police but my spirit rejected that quickly because I sensed the enemy was trying to rear his ugly head into something good. I motioned for my assistant to go to the white guy and I immediately wrapped my arms around the black teen saying words like this, “You don’t want to do this. You are better than this. You are so gifted. You came to play some basketball. You don’t want to end up in jail. I believe in you. I know you can muster the courage to walk away and keep your dignity.” Those of you who know me, understand that I talk even louder and faster when I am nervous and at this moment I was petrified, but I knew that if I didn’t do something, the whole place was going to end up in a riot so I did what I believe Jesus would do. No punches were thrown, no blood was shed and everybody ended up going back inside to finish what we actually came for. Everybody later thought I had lost my mind for doing what I did but I knew I had to give God room to bring a miraculous peace to a pivotal moment.

Little kids were asked the questions, “What is hatred?” “What is bigotry?” What is prejudice?” Constant answers of “I don’t know” came back time and time again. A bright little one thought that being prejudiced meant you were sick and maybe she was more right than wrong. But I know that children learn by what they hear and see at home! It is time to break the cycle of evil in our spheres of influence. The church should be the most welcoming place on this planet and if it’s not, then it’s time to stop calling it a church and relabel it as just another social club. I can’t watch because when I see the chaos, it takes my breath away. What will our legacy be? The answer to that question depends upon which set of rules we live by. Are we citizens of heaven or just plain earth dwellers?



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