“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now … ” –Martin Luther King Jr.
For many Americans today, the constant tension within our race relations is exhausting to think about and, sometimes, too unbearable to deal with. If it makes you want to shut out every media outlet, outside opinion, and crawl into a hole, TRUST me, we are on the same page!
Many Christians seem to be struggling with “what to do” in the midst of racial injustice. We consistently try to blame the other side for its sensitivity (and insensitivity), or we use the words of our beloved Christ to try and cover up this mess with an attitude of “why don’t you just move on, and get over it?” Both of these approaches neglect one of the very things that Christ came and died for: reconciliation.
In my opinion, we’ve forgotten that a proper understanding of reconciliation can answer most of our questions regarding what kind of approach is best in our process of understanding each other and loving one another as Christ has called us to do.
“ … His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.” Ephesians 2:15-16 (NIV)
Reconciliation is defined as the restoring of harmony within a relationship. Reconciliation in the Scriptures is specifically the change in relationship between God and man (or man and man) that was once in a state of enmity and is now in a state of harmony or fellowship. Keep in mind, there is A LOT more to the biblical perspective of reconciliation but, for the purposes of our discussion, this nutshell definition will suffice.
The very definition of reconciliation begins with the understanding that something is broken. We cannot begin the process of reconciliation within America’s race relations if we continue to run from admitting that it is indeed broken.
The goal of reconciliation is always to be UNITED to the other — as Christians, we become one with Christ and become new creatures, as well as becoming one with each other. The church is many members, one body — the body of Christ, remember? Therefore, within race relations, it’s about a united mindset and progression toward a goal of peace and understanding.
This means that in our day-to-day lives we can start a progressive change through true empathy, listening wholeheartedly, and creating open dialogue that actually leaves an imprint on the heart.
One individual who truly showed the American people what it meant to push for consistent and genuine reconciliation was the late Martin Luther King Jr. He was a true pioneer and courageous leader in the civil rights movement, who loved to fight for the rights of black people as well as the progression of unison in the community. Dr. King serves as an awesome example to all of us that change can happen if sacrifice and love, boldness, and a proper view of the Gospel is at the forefront of our action.
America is a melting pot of different races who are inherently beautiful in Yahweh’s eyes and, no matter the issue, we should stand in full confidence of our future because of what Christ accomplished at the cross. He abolished the middle wall of separation between the Jews and the Gentiles, in order to restore peace and unity, and that same power applies to the relationship between all of those in Christ.
How much better do you think the issues in America could be if every follower of Christ had reconciliation at the forefront of their minds when dealing with the race issue? Christ himself lived a life of reconciliation in everything he did! He reconciled us to himself, he reconciled the Jews and Gentiles together, and he outwardly spoke against the injustices of racial oppression of his day.
In like manner, Dr. King decided to take something that was broken and strive to fix it through the unveiling of injustice against the black community. He sought to unite the mindset of all people through the teaching of love and godly identity, in hopes of progressing toward a better and harmonious future. We’d like to honor the man behind so much transformation in our country and thank all of those who have fought against racial injustice with boldness and courage.
We love you.
“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable…every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.