I’m about to lay down my race card.
Okay, so maybe I don’t really have a race card to lay down. But I do want to share a few thoughts on racism. I’ve been hesitant to write anything that could be misconstrued as offensive or insensitive. But that’s a risk I take whenever I write anything or stand to speak before a gathering of people.
For my 26 years of Christian ministry, I have never shied away from the topic of racism. I enjoy pointing out to professing Christians how inconsistent the sin of racism is with Bible-based Christianity. I don’t care what race you identify with; racism is sin.
I could take a few thousand words and document with Scripture how evil, wrong, and anti-Christ the spirit of racism is, but I won’t do that.
I’ll remind you that all of us have sinned. We were born into this world as sinners. That’s our propensity until we are born-again by the grace of God and the love of Jesus Christ.
However, racism is a sin that is taught and chosen. Stop it! Whatever bigotry you sow, will eventually become an unwanted harvest that must be reaped. Choose love, because “hate is too great of a burden to bear” (MLK, Jr.).
As a child, I was taught to love and respect everybody. My mother would slap the mess out of me if I talked disrespectfully to anyone, regardless of race. I ain’t exaggerating. I’m experiencing a flashback and can almost feel my face stinging from the last time I back-talked her as a child.
I was born, grew up poor, and raised in much less than ideal circumstances. My elementary school years were spent in Jacksonville, Florida. Poverty and many other issues caused me to be the subject of ridicule and disrespect from others. But my African American teachers were kind and understanding, and they lovingly helped me.
But I was a teenager, attending high school in Cherokee County, Alabama, when I realized that racism was still intentionally taught and practiced. In those years, I began to learn that racism also existed among my African-American friends (colorism). That still blows my mind.
My love for basketball caused me to spend a lot of time with my black peers. Basketball was my idol. I wasn’t that good, but I sure loved to play. In my teen years, I played seven days a week. I often walked to the nearest asphalt court, and I was usually the only white boy waiting to get in the next game. Once I started driving, a ball was always in my car, and I kept up my routine. They didn’t all like me, but I earned their respect because I respected them.
Those who have known my life know this, I resist racism. I’ve not been perfect in this regard, but I am growing. And I continue to have a strong disrespect for those who persist in racism, especially if you profess to be a Christian. God can’t bless the ugliness of racism!
I confess that there are many things about racism that I have never experienced and do not understand. However, even though racism is not a simple issue, it is indeed a sinful issue. And with the help of God, sinners can be forgiven, learn how to live a grace-filled life, and treat others with the same love that Christ has shown us all.
In life, I’ve learned that you attract what you respect. However, you repel what you disrespect. I’ve done my best to raise my three children to love and respect others regardless of their skin color. I’m not the only parent that has done this. As a whole, millennials appear to be less racist than the generations behind them, thank God.
Some people don’t realize that racism is an international issue. America didn’t invent this sin. Racism in America though is not one-sided. Because of my love and respect for my black friends and church members, I’ve been labeled. I won’t type out some of the ugly words that have made their way back to me. Some people have refused to attend churches where I’ve pastored because I prefer not to pastor an all-white church.
Maybe you need a different perspective. Let me tell you that I did not choose to be born a white man. Nor did I choose to be born into poverty. I didn’t even get to choose to be born as an American citizen. My black friends did not choose to be born black and they should not be disrespected or treated cruelly simply because they exist.
Let me also assure my white friends of something else. I have some godly black friends in my life that are genuine Christians. They aren’t morally perfect either, but they’re growing. They know all white people aren’t racists. They believe our lives matter. But they are reminding us that racism still exists.
Because of modern technology, modern racism has been exposed. It can no longer stay hidden in sinful darkness. Racism is more filmed than ever and being brought into the light. I pray this leads to a better future for our country.
I’ll end my rambling thoughts today with this word of wisdom.
Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain — and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.