Updated: Jun 6, 2020
"Why is there a black man in your playroom with your girls?"
Her question took me aback but the tone of her voice and the expression on her face left no doubt as to the meaning behind the question. The statement hit me like a slap in the face. This was my friend, a person whose opinion I valued, someone I looked up to, considered a mentor. Yet here she was judging someone by the color of his skin.
"Oh! That's Rod. He's a friend of the boys. He's just playing Candyland with them. The girls LOVE him!"
This scene took place more than ten years ago. My boys had met Rod through another friend and he quickly made his way into our home and hearts!
Rod is a high functioning, special needs man. At the time he was, I think 20 years old. Because of his mental handicap, he had the uncanny ability to sit for hours playing childhood games with my girls, XBox with my boys, and discussing Jesus and the Bible and how much he loves the Lord with me.
We love Rod. I have fond memories of the jokes he would tell around our dinner table, of how he always reminded my boys to take their hats off before we'd say the blessing, and his very loud, "Amen, thank You, Lordt!" at the end of that same blessing. (Yes, he adds a "t" to a lot of words, it's one of the things we love about him.)
I never once gave the color of Rod's skin a thought as we welcomed him in. When I look at Rod, I don't see a black man; yes, I see that the pigment in his skin is darker than mine. But that isn't what I focus on when I look at him. Instead, I see a kind heart. I see an enthusiastic soul who lives and laughs and loves out loud. Rod is our friend but even more, he is forever one of my boys. They grew up together even though he was already physically grown when we met him. Some of our fondest and funniest memories involve Rod.
The fact that my friend, a Christian, was judging him by the color of his skin was appalling to me. The fact that people, including Christians, are still judging him and so many others by the color of their skin still appalls me today. This should not be.
"In the beginning God created...Then God said,'Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.' So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." Genesis 1:1a, 26-27 (emphasis added)
The events of this past week are nothing more than proof that sin has marred God's image in us all.
"All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23
Surrendered to our sin nature, we are all capable of terrible things.
"For those who are living according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh [which gratify the body], but those who are living according to the Spirit, set their minds on the things of the Spirit [His will and purpose]. Now the mind of the flesh is death [both now and forever - because it pursues sin]; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace [the spiritual well-being that comes from walking with God - both now and forever]; the mind of the flesh [with its sinful pursuits] is actively hostile to God. It does not submit itself to God's law, since it cannot, and those who are in the flesh [living a life that caters to sinful appetites and impulses] cannot please God." Romans 8:5-8 AMP
When we surrender our flesh to God, we will begin to understand the value of every human being because we will understand that every human being is an Image-bearer of God.
Another thing these current events prove is that we have an Enemy who is working overtime to keep us divided.
Satan wants to keep us surrendered to our flesh.
He wants to steal the unity Christ brings.
He wants to kill the love for others God's love grows within us.
He wants to destroy any kind of peace between the races so that his agenda can move forward.
Satan knows the power of a united people. He knows when we surrender to the Holy Spirit and begin loving others as God loves them, a great revival will come.
Jesus told us people would know we are His disciples by our love for one another. He taught us to love our enemies and pray for them. He implored us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, and just to be clear on who our neighbor is He told the Parable of the Good Samaritan. (John 13:35; Matthew 5:44, Luke 10:25-37) The Bible is very clear:
Loving God means loving others, even those different than us.
As my online friend, Angela Lawley said:
"This is not a skin problem, this is a sin problem."
And its time we stop hiding it under the rug and start shedding the light of Christ on it. I will be the first to take the plank out of my own eye as I humbly seek God's face for the forgiveness of my own prejudices. I hope you will do the same.
Father God, We are hurting. I can't even imagine the pain You are feeling. To see Your children fighting and killing each other, it's too much to bear, and yet You've been watching us destroy each other from millennia past. Father, Forgive us. Forgive me. I know there have been times in my life that I have judged people by the way they look; skin color, hair length, clothes, the way they smell. Forgive me.
Lord Jesus, You told us the enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy. We are seeing first hand his cunning ways. Holy Spirit, Make us aware of his tactics. Remind us he is the true enemy, not other humans. Enable us to bond together in the love of Christ and bring Your peace to this world.
Spirit, I don't know what to do but I am asking for Your wisdom. You say if we lack wisdom all we must do is ask You for it and You will provide. Give me wisdom to know my part in this narrative. Give my brothers and sister of all colors wisdom to know their part. Give our leaders wisdom to know their part.
Father God, as a friend said yesterday, You use the circumstances around us to get our attention. Lord, You have our undivided attention. We are listening, Lord. Speak. May we all have good listening ears; and hands, feet, mouths that are quick to obey.
Come, Lord Jesus.
In Your power-filled name, Amen.
Until next time keep gathering manna, growing deeper, and gaining intimacy!
May God bless and keep you,
PS: If you are on Instagram go listen to Angela's sermonet on IGTV. You can find her through her user name: @_angela_lawley_
I promise you won't regret listening!