I wonder if we can ever love each other as Christ first loved us. Hatred and violence are ugly tools of the devil, which he uses to divide us. We must fight him with every ounce of strength that God provides us. We will overcome him, with God’s help alone.
There’s been division of races, ethnicity, social class, political views and in our religious beliefs throughout history. The Jews were enslaved and held in bondage for centuries. Even in modern times, they are seen as a hated race and they suffer the sting of antisemitism. They are still remembered as the race that killed Jesus, even though they were part and parcel of God’s salvation and grace.
Looking back before our founding, the Native American was looked upon as a savage by the early explorers. Those foreigners may have said they were there to convert and civilized them, but more likely their greed took over and they plundered and ravaged this noble race until they had nothing.
The slave trade was well underway in the 1400s and we all know the horrors of the abuse and humiliation the black race suffered. They helped build a strong industrial nation for their white counterparts and fought alongside them in war after war to preserve the rights of the constitution.
After Pearl Harbor, nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps simply because of their race and heritage. Nearly 60% were already United States citizens who had built thriving businesses .
These are all ugly reminders of the disgrace faced by every human being. The sins of the fathers seem to continue well beyond the third and fourth generations. Wouldn’t it be great if we could just wash away all that prejudice and hate? Our consciences could finally feel free from blame – even though we were not personally responsible for past injustices.
As my city is under siege of the intolerable enemy of hate, we need to stop for a moment and take a deep breath. As we’ve seen in the last few days, hatred has fueled a war which carries with it more hate and injustice. I know that there is a faction within the streets that has nothing to do with justice for a particular race. It has nothing to do with years of oppression. It is simply a means whereby evil men and women can create a diversion. Where thieves, looters and murderers can destroy property, a lifetime of hard work, the American dream of owning a small business and stir a nation already suffering from a pandemic.
This pandemic is far worse, because it may never be controlled. When Jesus commanded us to love one another, He wasn’t putting limitations on that love. Neither should we. There are so many innocents who have been torn apart because of the unlawful death of a black man by a police officer. Yet that very death has been smothered by the flames of anarchy and hate.
God doesn’t look at individuals in this way. Each life that He creates is important – whether they are black, red, yellow, white – He made us and knew what we would be long before we were a glint in our father’s eye. He loves each one of us the same.
When we become part of His family, through Jesus, we are set free from the bondage of this world. Those ugly sins of the past have been washed away and we’re forgiven. Therefore we have become a new creation. We are united not only in our beliefs, but in our love for one another.