Our Unity Is Greater than Our Divisions
I have been the only “white-boy” pastor in an all-African American church. I was born a gentile, but by faith I am also a son of Abraham. I am grandfather to my Hispanic grandchildren. I have a mixed-mutt Anglo-Swede-German-Celtic and who-knows-what-else of a heritage. I have brothers who are Asian and Native Americans. Our church is a beautiful melting pot of multi-ethnic souls. In the world, there are only two races of mankind. However they are not races based on skin color or ethnic origin. The two races of mankind are those who in God and those are not. If you are in Christ, we are of one blood and we share God as our Father. We are blood brothers in Jesus. We are family. We are one.
Historically, there has always been hostility between peoples of different tribes, tongues, religions, and colors. In Israel, in the Temple, there was a low wall called a “soreg” beyond which no non-Hebrew could go on pain of death. Within the wall, closer to God’s Holy Presence, only the covenant people could go. This wall created hostility between Jews and non-Jews; it was an exclusion zone that created a second class of citizens. It wasn’t racial, it was ethnic and religious. But still, there was a separation …that is until Jesus came.
“Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.” (Ephesians 2:11–16, ESV)
Jesus came to unite all people of good will into one family with God as our Father. Therefore, anyone who is in Christ is my brother or sister… no matter what your skin color, tribe, or language. We are one family of one blood and we are all brothers: black, white, brown, red or yellow or anything in between.We all have God as our Father, and we are part of the royal family as princes and princesses of the King of King. We share a royal bloodline. There is no room for hostility between us because we are all sons and daughters of the King. We share in His Glory and participate in His Divine Nature through the wonderful gift of His Holy Spirit. We share a common destiny and we share a common hope and we are called to a common purpose: to love one another and to have compassion on the lost. Paul says this:
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” (Galatians 3:28–29, ESV)
All inequality is banished in Jesus. All pride of position or of natural birth is excluded, for we all come to the Throne of Grace as children. The sharecropper’s son and the financier’s daughter are all equal in His eyes. So yes, there is hostility between the races. Those not in Christ, not in God’s family, often hate those who are one with Him. Jesus even said this would happen to our race:
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.” (John 15:18–21, ESV)
Even though we must endure racial hostility for His name’s sake, those of us who are in Christ Jesus are called to love one another and love even our enemies. We are to reach out to those who do not know the beauty and goodness of the God who loves them. Until they are in Christ Jesus, they are still outside the wall… a separate race, who do not have God as their Father. Fear and anger are their masters, and they have not experienced the love and peace they long for in their hopes for a better world. They want perfection, but without a change in their own hearts, they are only adding to the flames of a hostile world.
For those of us who love one another, let us pour water on the scorched earth of their hearts and show them that to truly love others, they must first receive love from the God who loves them. When they are healed, they can be part of the solution in a world rocked with hatred and violence.