Sermons

Summary: How Do We Battle Against Racism & Prejudice In The Church And In Society?

Hiding in the heart—Racism & Prejudice

June 13th, 2020 Jeremiah 17:5-11 Acts 10:23-48

We have witnessed more types of upheaval and trauma in our lives resulting from back to back incidents in the last few months than many have seen in a lifetime.

The worldwide pandemic of the corona virus and the tragic death of George Floyd along with the river of consequences flowing from both events have left us confused, angry, upset, fearful and prayerful.

We are looking for leaders who can lift us beyond the violence and beyond the tension of our day. There are some leaders claiming they have a plan to lead us to a better place if we would just vote for them. Somehow their promises have an empty hollow ring to them.

The protests marches, the rioting and looting, and the prayer vigils have called us all to look again at the racial divisions that separate us. We are wondering how did we get here and where is it that we should be going.

The tragic death of George Floyd makes us ask the question, “how did we get to this place at this time?” How could Derek Chavin place his knee on a man’s neck for nearly 9 minutes, choking the very essence of life out of him? How could officers Tou Thoa, Thomas Lane and Alexander Kueng, all Milwaukee police officers participate in this arrest with their actions and inaction and live with themselves.

Many have come to the conclusion that systematic and institutionalized racism are at the heart of this crisis as though institutions and systems are somehow inherently evil. I think we miss something if that’s as far back as we are willing to go.

You see I believe if you had of seen Derek, Tou, Thomas or Alexander, the day before this all happened, they would have looked very much, just like you and me. The same kind of conversations that took place in our homes, probably took place in theirs.

They have family members that they love and some of the dreams of getting ahead that we have. I doubt if they woke up that morning, with the goal of arresting and participating in the killing of any man of any color.

The evil that was lurking inside of them was hiding in the heart, waiting for a chance to manifest itself. We do ourselves a tremendous injustice if we refuse to recognize that same evil is hiding somewhere in our hearts. Though we may envision a place where everybody is treated equally, I want you to know its not a place in the future but a place rooted in the past.

There is only one place on earth where everybody is treated equally at all times regardless of their race, ethnicity, sex or age and that is at the foot of the cross of Jesus. Everyone there recognizes they are a sinner in need of a savior who can change their hearts. They all recognize they are in need of God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness, and they can’t do anything to deserve it.

As many wonder what can they do and who should they listen to in order for us to move forward, there is a voice silently calling out to every person, of over race, of every nationality, of every age, and it says “come follow me.” The invitation comes from Jesus.

But the invitation to follow comes with a price tag. Matthew 16:24-26 (NIV2011) 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?

There is an interesting verse in the Bible that shows up early in Jesus’s ministry in the gospel of John. It says, but Jesus did not entrust himself to them, because he knew what was inside of a person. We want to believe that only evil persons commit evil acts. We even lift them to a status of being demonic, psychotic or insane.

But what really is on the inside of a person. What are we all really capable of? Have you ever thought of doing something evil, that you would never actually do, but the thought did pop into your mind? Why do you think you thought that thought? Again even though we like to think of ourselves as having good moral hearts, God’s view of the human heart is that it is wicked and full of deceit.

Yes we are capable of putting our knee down until it snuffs out the life of another.

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