Jump Start # 2605
Acts 17:26 “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation”
I borrowed from the King James Version for our verse today. Most other translations change one word. Instead of “blood” most Bibles will read, “man”, “mankind,” or “nation.” They say, “one man,” “one mankind,” or, “one nation.” I like the word blood. Historically, that is accurate. There was Adam. Eve was formed from a rib taken from Adam. One blood.
There are different blood types, yet blood for all of us is red. Man bleeds red. Woman bleeds red. Children bleed red. White people bleed red. Red people bleed red. Black people bleed red. Asians bleed red. One blood.
I was thinking about one blood with the recent events surrounding the death of George Floyd in Minnesota. Let’s be clear about a few fundamentals up front. Prejudice is wrong. It doesn’t matter which direction it is pointed at or comes from, it is wrong. Prejudice is not about skin color, it’s an attitude that I don’t like certain people because they are different. It is built upon arrogance and ignorance. Prejudice can be manifested toward race, religion, nationalities or gender. Prejudice is wrong. Second, violence is wrong. Protesting and having serious conversations are the groundwork for change. Debate things. Argue things. Put the evidence on the table. But hurting others or destroying property is lawlessness. Two wrongs do not make a right. Violence is wrong. Third, professionals need to act professional. This is true of cops, preachers, school teachers, lawyers, judges, docs, and those in administration and politics. If one can’t be professional then don’t be in that profession.
Now, consider a few thoughts from the troublesome times connected with the George Floyd death.
First, it’s easy to jump on bandwagons without knowing all the facts. The truth will come out. It is a time for patience and prayers.
Second, and this is difficult to write and even harder to admit, but we will always have prejudice in the world. It will not go away. It can’t, until people understand that God created all of us and that we are from that one blood. We look different, but we are not different. Without the platform of God, there is no reason and no motive for people to treat others as equals. Why should they? If I answer only to myself, then I become my own law and even my own god. Why should someone be nice to a person of a different color? Why? Who decides what is the right thing or even the nice thing to do? Why should someone listen to you? Why should they listen to me? Removing God from this discussion, prejudice will always thrive. Without God, the Pharaohs in the world will kill Hebrew babies. Without God, the wicked Hitlers in the world will exterminate Jews.
We can sit around tables and have talks. We can play videos of Mr. Roger’s neighborhood. But until one realizes that he is no different and no better than anyone else and that God made all of us just the way we are, then prejudice will continue to spread. This is not a social issue, it is a spiritual issue. And, when communities become more and more secular, they will experience more and more prejudice. The eunuch was from Ethiopia. The woman at the well was from Samaria. Matthew and Zacchaeus were tax collectors. Jairus, a Jewish synagogue official. Cornelius was a Roman soldier. Among the early believers were some from Caesar’s house. All different, yet all the same. One blood. All needing Jesus. All needing salvation.
Third, spiritual principles shape our attitudes and touch all areas of our lives. Troubles in marriage sooner or later come down to spiritual issues. Forgiveness. Grace. Love. Responsibilities. Those are all profound spiritual lessons. The way we conduct ourselves as employees comes down to spiritual lessons. The way we behave in our communities is a spiritual issue. We cannot and must not leave what we learn on Sunday morning in the church house. If we truly believe, what we hold dear will totally change the way we are towards others. It will reshape the way we see each other. Sadly, there will be politicians who want to make more laws and force people to be nice, but it will never work. We are dealing with serious, serious spiritual problems. Compassion has been replaced with hatred. Gentleness with violence. Patience with anger. And, one blood, with prejudice.
Fourth, prejudice is learned in the home. A person isn’t born with hatred in his heart. He chooses that. He grows up in that environment. So the little ones pick up on what the big ones say. And, even in this sad and tragic story from Minnesota, little ones right now are hearing what is being said in the home. The hatred and prejudice can end or it will simply be passed on to a new generation and nothing will change.
Finally, eternity has only two place, Heaven and Hell. That’s it. Black and white in Heaven and black and white in Hell. What is important is not the color of skin, but what’s in our hearts. Faith in Jesus Christ changes a person. The word of God richly dwelling within us changes a person. Here, we can be separate. We can build fences. We can keep certain people we don’t like or agree with out. Out of our property. Out of our sight. And, out of our hearts. But, that won’t happen in eternity. You won’t get a say there. The color of our soul is like one blood. Souls are not black, white, Asian, African, American. Souls are either redeemed in the blood of Jesus or they are marred with sin. The problems that face our times is not a “them” or an “us,” but rather a “we.” We share this planet. We all live under the same sun and sky. We all face the same God. We are all in the same boat, like it or not. The historical record of racism and churches is not something to be proud about, even among our fellowship.
I can’t change the world, but what I can do is change my heart. What I can do, by my actions, is show that I love my neighbor. What I can show is that my heart is as big as the Lord’s. Don’t get caught up saying things that shouldn’t be said on social media or anywhere. More than black, white or any other color, we are Christians. That’s the banner we stand under. That’s our true color. We belong to Jesus. And, now more than ever, we must act that way.