Last Sunday I asked three men whom I have known and worshiped with for years to stand with me on the platform during our worship service while I made a simple statement, and we prayed together. One looks Black. One looks Hispanic. One looks Asian. And then there’s me.
That picture, and that experience, make a statement, but also call us to something more.
The statement was simple: We stand together–not as men of different ethnic backgrounds, but as men who belong to the King–to speak faithfully on behalf of our King. We repeat His command that we love one another, not thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought. We denounce racism–and because of what had just happened in Charlottesville, particularly white supremacy. We denounce “racial superiority”. We denounce hatred and pride and arrogance and violence. Period. It is against the King’s will. It is wrong. Period.
Making the statement was easy for us. NOCC is one of the most diverse congregations in Orange County. It took literally 30 seconds to find and assemble this small visual–and we could replicate it on the same platform at the same time dozens of times more. God has gifted us with a diversity that allows us to make everyone welcome because He wants to reach everyone.
But that diversity isn’t just a gift. It is a responsibility. And Jesus said “to whom much is given, much is required” (Luke 12:48).
I believe because of this gift, we are required to say more. To also condemn any other group–white, Arab, Black, Hispanic, Asian or Whoever–proclaiming supremacy, arrogance, dominance, hatred–racism. All are wrong. Period.
And I believe we are required to do more. To say these things not just in blogs or in sermons but in person, face to face in conversations with people we know and care about–even if it threatens that relationship. And to find ways to explain how we can overcome racism in our own hearts.
And that’s the catch. No one can see racism in themselves and remove it on their own. To do this requires someone else being inside us. Many racists believe they know about God and even claim to be Christian. They’re wrong–according to scripture they’re wrong. It isn’t knowing about Jesus that matters–it is Knowing Him personally. It is experiencing his love and compassion and forgiveness. Because He said the one who is forgiven much, loves much (Luke 7:47). It is treating others as we would treat Jesus that matters (Matthew 25:32-46).
So here’s the thing. Racism is wrong. Racism is human. We’re stuck with it–look around, you’ll see. We’re stuck with it, UNTIL we know Jesus. Then, he changes us, and we can be used to change others.
Know Jesus, and Be Faithful.