Let’s start on common ground, there is one undeniable fact – racism is evil.
Here are a few sensitive questions for you to consider – where do you stand amidst on going discussions about racial injustice? Have you ever held racist views? Have you experienced racism and the deep dehumanising grief that can accompany it?
This plan does not claim to have the answers, but together we can come before God, who does, after all as the psalmist said it is He that made us, not we ourselves. (Psalm 100:3) Whatever your internal battle looks like at the moment regarding racism, it is paramount that you bring it before the Judge of all mankind.
If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works? Proverbs 24:12
Today, take your own questions, frustrations, accusations, complaints and grief to God. Don’t wait to have it “figured out”. This fight against racial injustice has gone on for centuries, regardless of how well meaning our endeavours may be, there is no quick fix.
there is no quick fix
King David, is a great example of a flawed man just like you and I, who sought after God. When he sinned, he spoke to God. When he had victory, he spoke to God. When he was running for his life from Saul, he spoke to God. As a shepherd boy, he spoke to God. As a king, he spoke to God.
In Psalm 73 the psalmist was frustrated, by what appeared to him as injustice – why do the wicked prosper he wondered. As he began to voice his internal grief, he came before God. In verse 17 he says, Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.
If like me, you don’t even know where to start with the issue of racism – you’re not sure what to post, tweet, fight for or against – start a conversation with God today. Like the psalmist, simply come into His presence and start talking, and as with any conversation – listen too.
**This is a four-part series so please read posts in chronological order, and share your thoughts. Full series on homepage**
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts. Proverbs 21:2
Most of us will be familiar with Psalm 139. It’s the Psalm that talks about us being “fearfully and wonderfully made”. In this poetic Psalm, we read the psalmist’s reflections on God’s divine providence, as creator of every living thing. What is interesting is that after all is said and done the psalmist concludes with a petition for God to search his heart.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
how is your heart?
At this time of uproar against racial injustice – how is your heart? When God wanted to choose the next king of Israel, He sent his faithful servant, the prophet Samuel to anoint him. Samuel expected the decision to be based on birthright or experience or stature, but as God corrected Samuel in 1 Samuel 16:6-7, He revealed to us that He judges the heart.
6 And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him. 7 But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
God searches the heart of man because, from the heart flows all the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23). When the video of the murder of George Floyd started circulating on social media, there was so much noise – outrage, pain, grief, confusion – it was overwhelming. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t process my emotions, I felt so grieved – heart broken that one human being could do this to another, because of the colour of his skin and it wasn’t the first time.
I asked God, why are some people so evil – how could this happen in broad daylight, in front if witnesses who could film it? Then the Holy Spirit said to me, it’s a heart issue.
it’s a heart issue.
At the core of racism and other injustices constantly playing out all over the world even at this very moment, is the consequence of sin – evil. Man has the ability to conceive evil in his heart, even when unprovoked and unjustified.
One thing is certain, justice must prevail and just laws must be implemented, all citizens should at the very least feel safe and secure in the state which governs them, irrespective of their race. But if racism is a heart issue at its core, then I ask – what stops us from holding these extremely discriminatory views? For many it is convieniently hidden beneath the surface, until it gradually begins to slip through the cracks – our preconceptions, conversations, judgements, biases – in our homes, at school, at work.
Today, simply go before God and pray and reflect on the prayer of Psalm 139:24. Lord, “see if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting”.
**This is a four-part series so please read posts in chronological order, and share your thoughts**
Have you ever done something that completely shocked you?
Kind David, the most celebrated king in the old testament sent a man to his death, equivalent to murdering him (without getting his hands dirty), because he – David impregnated his wife! Uriah was a faithful soldier and David rewarded him with grave injustices. Read the account in 2 Samuel 11:2-15
David’s plan worked perfectly and his heart was so consumed by evil that he took Uriah’s wife as his own, despite already having several wives! But as with every evil and injustice, God saw what David did and He wasn’t happy with him and passed judgement against him 2 Samuel 12:9-12.
Where did it all start? It started in David’s heart. Matthew 5:27-28 says: 27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
David lusted after Bathsheba from afar, and out of his desire was birthed adultery, murder and the judgement of God upon his household. It would be naive of us to believe our own heart is without sin. It’s one thing to acknowledge our flaws, it is another thing to repent.
Today, the invitation is open, to ask God for forgiveness, for the sins we have committed openly and in our hearts. When God confronted David about his evil actions – God said “thou hast despised Me”. When we sin, even where we are told the end justifies the means – the first transgression is against God before any man, because He established the standard of righteousness. In the world two wrongs make a right but in God’s kingdom this is not the case.
Where we have witnessed injustice, racism and we have looked away because of ignorance, apathy or selfish ambition. Where we have justified our wrong doing, in the name of revenge and retaliation. Where we have discriminated, condemned and walked in partiality. Let us pray, as David prayed in Psalm 51 when repenting for his actions:
1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
**This is a four-part series so please read posts in chronological order, and share your thoughts**
It’s ironic that the recent outcry against racial injustice was preceded by a global pandemic.
Racism is also a global pandemic. It is a widespread disease that gradually destroys from the inside out. It is passed on silently from generation to generation, subtly from institution to institution. The recent Covid-19 outbreak saw health practitioners desperately treating symptoms in an attempt to suppress the virus, because they didn’t fully understand the disease or the root cause. It is one thing to be outraged by the consequences of racism, but if we are not mindful of the root, the origin of this pandemic, then how will we ever tackle it effectively?
The origin of racism, it’s core is evil. Evil – sin is an ever-prevalent pandemic. After the fall of man in Eden, sin entered creation and we see it manifested in many evils of this age . Until Jesus returns and this world passes away, sin will continue to be in the world, and evil likewise. So what should we do if hearts are unwilling to change and repent from the sin and evil of racism?
The children of Israel were enslaved by Egyptians for 400 years, their system was the ultimate example of institutional racism. Being born an Israelite in those days made you a slave by default and subject to the oppression of Egypt irrespective of your ambitions or desires in life (Exodus 1:13-14).
13 And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour: 14 And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour.
Egypt wasn’t willing to have a change of heart, even after the land experienced outbreaks of plagues. The tug-o-war that ensued between Pharaoh and Israel for their freedom, was due to the condition of Pharaoh’s heart. Throughout the struggle, Pharaoh’s heart hardened repeatedly (Exodus 9:34-35). In the end God intervened and humbled Egypt with His mighty hand.
34 And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants. 35 And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the Lord had spoken by Moses.
The children of Israel were greater in number than the Egyptians (see Exodus 1:8-10 ), but it wasn’t a coup or revolt that led to their freedom. Instead God heard their cry, arose for them, and He fiercely judged Pharaoh and Egypt for Israel’s freedom.
And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; Exodus 3:7
Even when Pharoah wanted to make their freedom conditional – God made it clear to all of Egypt that this was not an option and Israel gained total freedom.
So how should we as Christians address this pandemic, how should we fight racial injustice? Start with intercessory prayer. To use a modern term – don’t sleep on the power of prayer. Only God has the power to break the cycle of centuries of injustice – to heal those who for generations have been oppressed because of the colour of their skin – to deliver those who may have begun to believe the lies projected upon them. Only God has the power to convict perpetrators who for generations have reinforced these terrible prejudices.
We’ve been sold a lie that prayer is the cowardly response to challenges, even racism. We’ve been fooled into believing prayer equates to inactivity and apathy. We’ve been misled into believing that events in the natural precede those in the supernatural. Actually the opposite is true. Just as Jesus explained in Matthew 12:29 how can you take the possessions of a strong man without first binding him? We cannot overcome the devil in the physical, without first disarming him in the spiritual. Like with all matters of warfare, the battle must be won in the spiritual before it can be won in the physical. So that our physical efforts will not be in vain, let’s begin the fight in our prayers.
God loves us, all of us. His desire for us is always deliverance, always liberty, always freedom, always healing. Today I challenge you to pray. I know it’s not the popular, trendy approach, but it takes the case before the one who really has the power to bring lasting change, the judge of all mankind – God.
Let’s pray for humanity – millions of people experiencing racial injustices daily all over the world. There are millions more reeling from what they had to endure in past generations. Let’s pray for God to deliver the oppressed and to heal the broken hearted – as He promised in Luke 4:18.
Pray for lawmakers, influencers, governments and local leaders – they may be a modern day Pharoah or a Moses – they may be part of the problem or the solution. Pray for God to burden their hearts with an overwhelming desire to eradicate racism. That the existence of racial injustice would trouble their hearts and result in an historic shift in socio-political attitudes – like the parting of the red sea, to bring an end to institutional racism in this generation and beyond.
Let’s pray for wisdom, for God to reveal what needs to be done practically in our local communities, governments, institutions, even our homes. Where is change needed, and what does true justice look like? Our world is broken in so many ways and full of darkness, our hearts break as we are confronted by the reality of this. But I dare to believe, against the grain which says power lies with man – that God, even our God is able to save us.
If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. Daniel 3:17
**This is a four-part series so please read in chronological order, and share your thoughts**
So… I’ve been feeling sorry for myself lately.
During my primary school years – around age 9 or 10, one of the most anticipated events at the end of the school day was the ice cream man. As my mind shifted from the joy of not being the last one to be let out of the classroom (everything was a competition when I was younger lol), I could hear the chugging ice cream van parked on the other side of the leafy school fence. Most of the time I would have already spent my pocket money for that day on sweets, which I bought whilst making my way to school in the morning – golf ball chewing gums, jaw breaker fire balls, strawberry pencils – the list was endless. On those days I had no choice but to reluctantly walk past the ice cream van, envying the reception kids, who were not old enough to appreciate the flake vanilla ice cream they were allowing to melt all over the sleeves of their school uniform.
Other days I resisted the morning sweet binge in order to buy my double cone, three scoop ice cream with nuts, sprinkles and strawberry sauce on top. I had a very sweet tooth growing up. But on most days, I had done the former and therefore missed out on ice cream after school, so I felt sorry for myself. It’s not fair, if only I was like the kids whose parents picked them up from school, surely I would also enjoy this privilege. The truth is I needed to practice self discipline, sometimes it’s better we don’t get everything we want, when we want – everyday could not be “ice cream man day” because that would be bad for my health and I would also probably take it for granted – it took me a while to learn this.
Some 16 years later, as I analyse my current place in life, I still find myself grumbling “it’s not fair”. Perhaps there are aspects of your life that cause you to do the same. Why isn’t my reality like so and so’s? Why can’t everything be perfect all the time? It got to the point where I started to question God: why did You allow things to be this way? I was throwing the biggest pity party. Then I started thinking about Job and how unfair his whole experience was. Here was a guy who was so “faithful” to God, even offering sacrifices for the potential sins of his children and yet God still allowed the devil to take everything away from him! Surely he didn’t deserve that,
why would our loving, good God do such a thing?
The Holy Spirit led me to the book of Job and directed me to read the last 5 chapters and they completely shut down my pity party. If you are feeling discontent or frustrated with where you are in life or a particular ongoing situation like Job, I would encourage you to read just these five chapters – Job 38 to 42.
The truth is our understanding of “morality”, “justice”, “good” is so warped by our sinful nature that we can never ever rightly question God. Yes you can take your questions to God like I did, but accusing God’s nature and character because you’re uncomfortable with where you are in life right now, only shows how wavering and fickle our faith in Him really is.
My mind went to sessions of praise and worship were I had heartily bellowed the song lyrics of the band Housefires’ “good good Father”. I thought to myself, am I not the same person that passionately sang these words to this same God? Why was I struggling to grasp His goodness now? The truth is God is constantly molding and shaping our faith, so that it is steady, firm and sure.
And not only this, but [with joy] let us exult in our sufferings and rejoice in our hardships, knowing that hardship (distress, pressure, trouble) produces patient endurance; and endurance, proven character (spiritual maturity); and proven character, hope and confident assurance [of eternal salvation].
Our faith in God should not be based solely on how comfortable He has made us, or the fact that we prayed and got what we prayed for, or the latest “good thing” that has happened in our lives. God is calling us to a faith that is based on our reverence and understanding of who He is first and foremost.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
It isn’t logical, it isn’t transactional, it’s supernatural – it requires the inner work of the Holy Spirit to sustain this kind of faith, but it is possible to believe God simply because He is God – even when you’re in the storm. You’ve heard of child like faith – it’s very simple – young children believe even before they’ve seen the evidence. So things might be really challenging and discouraging for you at the moment, be encouraged things will get better. My prayer is that the Lord will enable us to wait upon Him, our hope will not be disappointed!
I Peter 5:10
But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
May God enable us to be steadfast in our faith and confidence in Him, so that even in the valleys, the fiery furnace, the oppositions our hope will be firmly planted in Him until He comes to our aid in Jesus name amen.
Peace & Love ❤