by Richard Mansel
On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his remarkable “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington to thousands of people./1 By April 4, 1968, King’s voice fell silent because of an assassin’s bullet at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis./2 Nevertheless, King’s legacy still resonates today.
God sends Samuel to anoint the next king of Israel (1 Samuel 16). Samuel goes and gathers the family of Jesse together. Seeing Eliab, he says, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him” (1 Samuel 16:6, NKJV). God tells Samuel, “For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). David is not among the sons presented to Samuel because they thought he was insufficient. God had different criteria and David received the anointing.
God examines the heart. “For the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts” (1 Chronicles 28:9).
Dr. King said, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.'”/3 Ironically, some of the men who penned this “creed” from the Declaration of Independence were not practicing these very principles, despite their self-evidentiary nature.
God condemns the duplicitous man. “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). The residual racism we harbor in our hearts, but hide from others, will boil over if we do not purge it from our lives.
The world separates man by race, creed, color, and a host of other trivialities. We are called to glorify God and walk accordingly (Ephesians 3:20-4:1). Christ commands his children to cease being respecters of persons (Acts 10:34).
Racism and bigotry are worldly behaviors. They have no place in the kingdom of God. We must dispense with the world’s narrow-minded ways and lift our minds to a higher calling.
We must see people as God sees them. Dr. King said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”/4
We all have friends, relatives, neighbors, and associates who refer to people of different races and cultures in a derogatory manner. It does not matter how we were raised or what experiences we have had or what our culture expects. Christians have no right to act as the world does (Matthew 5:43,44; 1 John 2:9; John 13:34).
God knows we have different races and cultures but never commands us to dispense with these cultures. Paul told Gentiles and Jews to see each other as one body of Christians. However, they were still people of Jewish and Gentile heritage.
Different races and cultures exist. We must understand that these differences exist and not demand that they become like us in order to be accepted. Those who do things differently than we do and do not violate Scripture can continue as they please, without our ridicule. God demands that we do not judge others on criteria that we do not wish to be judged by (Matthew 7:1,2).
We pray that the Church will begin leading in racial unity rather than emulating the world’s sin. If we will finally see people as souls, rather than color and cultural distinctions, we will take a huge step toward becoming lights to the world. Let us start today. Bigotry and racism must finally be silenced among the Lord’s people.
2/ Today, the Lorraine Hotel houses the National Civil Rights Museum http://www.civilrightsmuseum.org/
by Richard Mansel