Read His Words Before Ours!
1 John 4:13-21
1 John 2:7-11
Lord, set up a guard for my mouth;
keep watch at the door of my lips.
Do not let my heart turn to any evil thing
or perform wicked acts
with men who commit sin.
Do not let me feast on their delicacies.
In the last few months, memorizing Scripture has moved from “something I should do” to “something I love to eagerly do”. My husband graciously puts up with neon-colored index cards plastered all over the shower door so I can put the verses to memory while I shave and shampoo. I’ve been floored with how effective it is!
But these verses tied me up! I simply could not get my tongue wrapped around the right words at the right time. I was ready to just choose another set of verses to avoid frustration, but I’m too stubborn (or prideful perhaps) for that.
One sentence at a time.
I insistently said the words over and over and over.
Literally 100’s of times.
Probably around recitation #247 I was slapped in the face with the obvious:
The heart is attributed as doing the actions.
Do not let my heart turn to any evil thing or perform wicked acts with men who commit sin.
The subject of the sentence didn’t change when the verb did.
David prayed that God would not let his heart turn to any evil thing or perform wicked acts.
It wasn’t his hands he prayed over,
or that his feet wouldn’t rush to do evil,
that he wouldn’t give the “evil eye” with body language or give it over to lusting.
It wasn’t even his mind that he prayed would flee sin.
David realized that it was his heart that committed sin first.
As racial injustice has grabbed my attention in deeper ways over the last few months, it’s become more blatantly obvious that this problem we obviously have (and is most definitely not isolated to one location of our country), is a heart problem.
Just like I couldn’t see the blaring point of my memory verse without repetition and an opening of my eyes to truth, I have needed to remind myself, repeatedly and often, that I am part of the problem when it comes to racial injustice in our country.
My silence is a problem.
My claim of ignorance is a problem.
When I choose to only have 1 race of friends, that’s a problem.
And it flies in the face of the gospel I claim to hold so dear.
I recently met with a beautiful friend of mine, Keshia. I asked her to help me see what was common place for her everyday life as a black woman that I’d never even considered as a white woman. Keshia shared two gripping, personal stories that she’s given me permission to share with you.
First, she told me of a black homeless man she’d met through her position as a social worker. She assisted with his care after he suffered a major stroke. For her as a social worker some days it’s hard not to pick up from others pain. And, for him the tears he shed and the fear in his eyes, was telling. After helping him secure a rehabilitation facility she continued to stay involved. She visited with him with hopes of helping him get to the surface of his hurt and to bring him hope. Going far above and beyond her job because of her love for people and Jesus. Her heart broke for this man. But, sisters, when she began to share of her faith to this gentleman and the undergirding why behind her compassion for him, he turned away.
He said, “You’re one of them.” (meaning a white person). “I don’t want their God.”
This man associated the Savior of the world,
the God for all nations,
as being a “white man’s God”.
The gospel is being held back, my precious friends, because of racism!
Souls are destined for an eternity apart from a Savior
because of a stigma that the Savior isn’t for all mankind.
This should make us weep!
It turned my stomach, hurt my heart, and made me long to know what I could do.
Then Keshia shared of a woman she had met.
Jenny an unfamilar face went to the altar for prayer. As Jenny headed back to her seat, Keshia could see the tears in her eyes, and a hurting heart . The Holy Spirit prompted an action of reaching out and touching Jenny, holding her tight while speaking words of comfort. Keshia didn’t know her nor did she know her grievances with Christianity and the Lord. Keshia knew she was hurting, and only wanted her to know that she was accepted and loved at PVC. Jenny later at a QT gas station recognized Keshia immediately saying, “You hugged me at the church and told me everything would be okay”. Jenny officially introduced herself and thanked Keshia for the random hug and words of encouragement at church. Jenny talked about how much that moment meant to her as it was one of the lowest points in her life. Since then Jenny had returned back to PV church. Jenny and Keshia has since made a connection and are now friends. Keshia had no idea that she had made an impact on Jenny’s life . One random hug at the church and a few encouraging words across racial borders, seemed like nothing at all, until they happened to cross paths again.
One step of bravery.
And Keshia broke down walls of fear for the sake of the gospel.
You can do the same, my sister.
So can I.
Fear resides on both sides of racial lines, but remember David’s words.
The heart is where we sin first.
The heart is where fear first grows roots.
Stand with me and fight against that fear, refuse to give it space in your heart any longer.
In the end, racial issues in our country, or anywhere in the world, are not about boundary lines, statues, historical perspective, or popularity of one group over another, it’s about the heart.
And for those who claim Jesus Christ as Lord, we are called to so much more in the arena of racial healing and overcoming fear with the love of Jesus inside us.
Will you join me and extend your hand, open your embrace, and dare to tear down the stereotype of Christianity and walls of fear for the sake of the lost?!
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