Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Looking back we can only be embarrassed and ask for forgiveness for such open evil. Even worse, the church should hang its head in shame that it took a secular government rather than a Spirit-empowered church to lead the way for the changes we see today.
But as we enter Black History Month, I wonder if we have changed enough since Dr. King’s dream speech in 1963? The answer is not at all clear. It is true we don’t have lynchings or overt segregation, but some believe that racism is deeper and more entrenched than before. Laws have forced open doors but they haven’t changed hearts.
Hearts are changed most effectively and permanently only by the power of God. The ability to respect and love – not just “tolerate” – people who are somehow different than ourselves comes only from one empowered with God’s Spirit. Dr. King understood this and wrote: “Evil can be cast out, not by man alone nor by a dictatorial God that invades our lives, but when we open the door and invite God through Christ to enter. ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him and he with me.’ God is too courteous to break open the door, but when we open it in believing faith, a divine and human confrontation will transform our sin-ruined lives into radiant personalities.”
Dr. King was murdered for the sake of a dream that people would someday be known for their character rather than the color of their skin, for their goodwill rather than their race. Every real Christian has a large stake in this dream for it did not originate with Martin. Rather, it is from God himself who said all people are created equal and in his image, that there is no such thing as race in Christ.
Pursue the dream. Intentionally build a relationship with someone unlike yourself. Love them in deed and not just words. Invite them into your home for supper. Play a game together. Become friends. For people who love God the dream of fostering love for our neighbor is not an option – it is a matter of obedience.