Real Christianity: The solution starts with me
If we open our eyes, the solution is right at hand. But we have to be willing to go all in.
I grew up in a predominantly white beach town, where I went to a school with predominately white kids. However, my three closest friends during my teenage years were black. We never cared what color we were, but just enjoyed each other’s company. I knew it was a struggle for them, being the very small minority, as kids could be awkward around them because of the color of their skin, but they just let it be. We laughed things off, but it obviously wasn’t fun for them. They appreciated that I never tried to be like them, and we never cared that we were different colors. We were friends because we loved to be together and that would not have changed because of color or race.
I grew up believing all men are created equal, and in hopes of being with people who shared this belief I moved to San Francisco, the “all-inclusive” city. It didn’t take very long to see how short humanity fell in upholding this principle. I made friends with many different races, cultures, and backgrounds. But I quickly realized that no matter how much people try to be good to each other, it just doesn’t work. People mock each other, judge each other, backbite each other and are slow to listen to a belief that’s different than their own, or even to accept a person who holds such a perspective.
Finally, an answer
After two years in this environment I felt hopeless. I moved home to San Diego, where I started to seek God for answers. It was then that He led me to a man that saved my life. He was a black man, not that that mattered, because it was his message that saved me. His name was Jether Vinson and he spoke clearly of a solution: that we need to find the sin in our own nature and be done with it. That Jesus came not only to forgive us, but to save us from the sin that binds us. I quickly saw this was the only answer for my, and all mankind’s, problems! No matter how hard I tried, I too had these judgmental, condemning thoughts toward my fellow man, and who could save me from such destructive thoughts?
Jether introduced me to a Jesus I never knew, one who could sympathize with my weakness, as He was tempted in all points just as I am. (Hebrews 4:15.) 11 years ago, I gave my life to the Jesus who conquered sin in the , and now He helps me daily to do the same. I am nowhere near perfect in this, but now I see a clear path towards such liberty.
The solution is to follow Jesus’ lead
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:14. Today, as before, many people are not able to see that this verse applies to all humanity. If we cannot see the worth in all people regardless of race, politics, societal factors, size, weight, or anything at all, then how can we help create lasting peace? Jesus’ heart was that we should be good to all people. He abolished all enmity in His flesh. (Ephesians 2:14-16.) Enmity is everything that divides us as humans. It’s all of those condemning, judging, arrogant, egotistical thoughts. Jesus destroyed all of this, and therefore He was able to perfectly love all people, yet without accepting their destructive ways.
We see a perfect picture of this when the scribes and Pharisees wanted to stone the adulterous woman, and Jesus answers with: “He who has committed no sin can cast the first stone.” All of them had to walk away, and then Jesus said to the woman: “If they do not condemn you, then neither do I. Go and sin no more.” Rather than condemning her, He was able to help her by that statement, “Go and sin no more.” (John 8:1-11.) Jesus is not a liar, so we must believe this is true and possible.
Start with the root of the problem
Is that not the answer to the world’s problems at the moment? Is sin not the root of the problem in all of life’s situations? James 4:1 states: “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?” I think if we’re honest we can see that if we want to fight the world’s problems, we have to start with ourselves. How capable am I of being good, merciful, loving, peace-making, etc., with those I am closest with? Or even more so, with my enemies. Am I able to love those who hate me?
It’s my own will that makes me unhappy and creates unrest in me and around me, and it is here that I am in need of a Savior. Jesus has become such a Savior for me. So I ask, how can anyone help stop racism or any of the world’s problems without first being freed from sin themselves? As movements have come and gone, and while some of them have had a good effect on humanity, I personally choose to stand for a movement that has and will always remain. Then I can become an instrument for righteousness in God’s hands and He can use me for good in this world. So I stand with Jesus who wishes that all people be saved and come to a good life where they can make a real difference in the world around them.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.