Many Christian churches today are losing their relevance in community and with the youth of today because they resist taking a stand in today’s issues. Churches today hide in the safe harbor of the “Separation of Church and State,” as it is wrongfully understood and enforced. It is a popular hiding place for Christians seeking to avoid conflict and persecution, but this timid position falls short of what it means to be in the world but not of the world. To be in the world implies that your presence should be known. We should be known in the world as representatives of GOD’s standards. We can only establish His standards by demonstrating His righteousness and also applying judgment to the acts and behaviors around us. We must be apt to teach why we believe and why all men should repent and follow the way of Christ.
“Yes, in the way of Your judgments,
O Lord, we have waited for You;
The desire of our soul is for Your name
And for the remembrance of You.
With my soul I have desired You in the night,
Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early;
For when Your judgments are in the earth,
The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.” (Isaiah 26:8-9 NKJV)
Young people are on news feeds all day being informed of the events occurring in the world around them, then they attend Church on Sunday and there is no mention of GOD’s perspective on the things which have vexed their soul. Another unfortunate reality is that often when religious leaders do take a public stand, it is so saturated with the cares of this world it has no redemptive properties. Our GOD is an intimate lover, and we misrepresent Him when we ignore the things going on in people’s lives, and when we take a position that is not reflective of the nature of Christ. YAHWEH the Almighty GOD hears the cry of all people. The Church should be addressing issues that wrongfully affect all people. We shouldn’t be telling people to love their enemies without telling their enemies it is wrong to abuse their neighbors. I have seen many ministers encouraging Black people to move forward from the pains of the past without addressing the reality that white supremacist are still present and repeating the sins of their fathers. I see ministers telling the poor to work hard with their hands and seize opportunity without seeing that they have material to work with and that they have open doors to go through. Just because one person makes it out of the pit by six others yielding their backs to be scaled does not mean that all seven share the same opportunity.
Please understand this, when the Apostle Paul said, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus,” he was not implying that you should ignore racism, sexism, and inequality. He was also not implying you should be blind to race any more than he was implying you should be blind to gender when desiring to start a family. He was establishing that Christ has called us ALL to be joint heirs of His grace and promises together equally, and we should love one another as such. Considering the history of racism and inequality in America, as well as the government sanctioned propaganda which promoted it, I understand why there is still much polarization today. However, churches today are so integrated that church leaders have to begin considering the needs of their entire congregation. Black clergy plagued by the woes of their parishioners during Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Era had to be engaged in helping to bring some relief. Today, there is a great opportunity to facilitate reconciliation through discussing the issues impacting everyone’s lives. This could help counter the effects of past polarization in the Church, but it has to be purposeful and intentional.
Think of this, YAHWEH did not tell the children of Israel to forget their past, instead He instituted many feast and practices of remembrance to help prevent them from repeating the errors of their forefathers and to remind them to show others the same mercy He had shown them. There is a godly way to remember.
33 And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. 34 The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:33-34 NKJV)
Understanding where you are on a journey requires a clear understanding of where you came from as well as where you are going. If you do not have a sound understanding of your bearings, how can you truly know where forward is. Even if you are in an uncomfortable place, it is better to endure and be still until you have learned all your current spot is telling you about how you got there. Hastily moving forward is one of the causes of backsliding.
Christians have been giving the ministry of reconciliation. Reconciliation is the process of making an exchange of value which restores equivalence. In order for this exchange to bring equivalence, their must be an understanding of the deficit. This is where truth and love become paramount in the exchange. Truth will reveal the correct value of the deficit and the virtue and goodness of love empowers the needed expenditure. If this process is not followed righteously then those involved will never reach the final destination of reconciliation, which is a return to good favor. When there is an unwillingness to spend the time needed to understand the true deficit in making sure equivalence is reached, it indicates a lack of actual concern and a disdain for truth. When the Church, which has been given the ministry of reconciliation by GOD, is reluctant to take the time to understand the deficits created by social injustices like marginalization, inequality, and racism, how can we expect the world to care about healing relationships.
I have taken part in at least six Church gatherings this month which consisted of Black and White men, and in none of them was their any acknowledgement of America’s observance of Black History month. I may not have taken notice of this if it were not for the racial unrest that has been covered in much of media these days, along with the buzz surrounding the need to overcome division in the Church. You cannot repair the breach until you understand how wide the divide is. This month provided a great opportunity for making progress on healing racial divides, unfortunately many Christian fellowships have become discouraged with the lack of engagement and enthusiasm around this difficult topic. The journey the Lord has called us to is certain to take us outside of our comfort zones but this is why He has given us a comforter which abides within, the Holy Spirit.
This writing is born out of a desire to see all of us become one in Christ. For us to become one, there are some aspects of our individuality which we have to be willing to let go of. This should be the same concept practiced in marriage, when a man and a woman surrender some of their individuality to facilitate their union as one in marriage. Unfortunately, in these times of cold love, many marriages do not reach this level of love and devotion, consequently seeing the correlation to Christ and the Church between husband and wife has become rare. The Church is referred to as the bride of Christ. The mystery of the Church and marriage with Christ reveals key principles needed to understand what is required of us.
One such requirement is the need for the bride to leave the comfortable affections of her mother and father to be joined unto the Bridegroom. As the Church, we have to part with our identity and affections to this world to become the bride of Christ. As the bride of Christ, we are called to take His name and to be identified with His kingdom. These days men seldom surrender their lives as Christ did to serve the best interest of their bride, so women do not feel safe surrendering their lives in submission to their husband. To fulfill the true call of our lives and to become one, we must be loosed from the anti-Christ, anti-Truth, and anti-Love chords of this present world. The surrender of our lives on the cross is meant to facilitate this new birth toward oneness with Christ and unity one with another. The marriage has been arranged, now the Church has to decide if she will leave the comfort and familiarity of this world to complete the journey and calling of the Bride of Christ. Our relationship with Christ determines where we stand in relationship to one another and the rest of the world.
Amen to the Truth of God’s Word!