Self-Supremacist or Christ-Supremacist?

Whose fault is it – The President, politician, reporter, social media, our culture, white people, African Americans?  Would things be different if we had a different president?  I’m appalled.  You’re appalled.  We vent on Facebook about how sad it is and how ignorant people are.  We are saddened. Scared. Angry – and maybe a bit self-righteous?

Look in the mirror.

I have a question for you – and be honest, okay?

  • Have you ever passed someone on the street, in the grocery store – in your church – who looked different than you do?  When your paths crossed, did you look at them and quickly divert you eyes to look somewhere else? Did you have a thought or an attitude that would be considered “racist”? A thought that was critical, unloving, and instantly placed you in a higher place than the other person because of how they look, walk,  talk, what they believe,  because of where they are from,  or because they are a different color than you?

Have you? I have.

What we are seeing take place in our country – the racism,  riots, rallies, and violence – all of it is actually an extreme example of what we all have present in our hearts.  All of us.  The pride, hate, and ignorance is present in every one of us.  Oh sure, you may bring the thoughts captive, speak truth to yourself, remind yourself that everyone is equal in God’s sight.

But we have to remind ourselves!  Self-righteousness is present in all of us. It’s there.

White Supremacist? That may not be you. But take the time to evaluate your heart. What group of people do you think is better than another group?  Maybe it’s never left your heart or thoughts, never been verbalized publicly. Or maybe it has, but you’ve never held a rally or waved a sign that says, “YOU WILL NOT REPLACE US!”; and you’ve never run your car into a crowd of people that don’t agree with you…but it’s there.

In any self-righteous heart attitude that looks down on another, you reveal yourself to be a Self-Supremacist.

“This is the newly-adopted mantra of the “White Supremacist” movement… “YOU WILL NOT REPLACE US”!  Oh, the richness of soteriological irony: as one with European DNA, my only hope in life and death is knowing that, when I stand before the throne of judgement, indeed I have been replaced by the One who chose to come down to Earth as a Middle-Eastern Jewish man! JESUS is the Only One who can claim the title of Supreme. Through His broken and bloodied BROWN flesh, He has redeemed for Himself a people-made up from many nations and languages, followers living under the banner over all creation = “CHRIST IS SUPREME!” (Col. 1:15-20) 

We are the “Christ-Supremacists”!  We do not carry torches that bring only more darkness; instead, we are the torch-bearers of The Light that is life to all men. (John 1:1-4)  Our identity is no longer in our own ethnicity, but now securely resides in the person and work of Jesus Christ. We bow underneath the tearful prayer, “You Must Replace Us“!” ~Annie Locke

Oh Father! Please forgive me for the part I play – even if it’s just a heart attitude – in this crazy mess we find ourselves in. Please change my heart that it may be completely free from any unkind, unloving, critical, prideful, self-righteous,  and – yes – even racist thoughts or attitudes that may be present.  My identity is no longer in anything but the person and work of Jesus Christ. I bow beneath the tearful prayer, “You Must Replace Me!”

He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30

We are Called to Care for One Another

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

Community, according to Webster’s online dictionary, is the following:

A group of people living in a particular local area. A body of people having common rights, privileges, or interests, or living in the same place under the same laws and regulations. Common character; likeness.

The word “community” is used quite frequently these days. I understand why it is used and that the concept is important, but I wonder if, by using the word “community”, we may be cheating ourselves out of what really needs to be the focus:

Learning how to function as the body of Christ. 

In the body of Christ, each individual has accepted the undeserved gift of Salvation. Because of Christ’s death on the cross, our sins are covered and we are in the process of sanctification. Then we are adopted into a family – GOD’S family!

  • Sanctification: the process of becoming holy and perfect.
  • Adoption: Once we become a Christian, God brings us into His family. We become His children.

Ephesians 2:19 tells us that we are members of God’s household. This is not a normal, earthly family. We have been plucked out of a lost, dying, disconnected world and placed in a family. The family of God. We were never meant to live independently from each other. If that were the case then we would not be referred to as “the body” of Christ. No part of the body can function on it’s own.  Hebrews 10: 19-25 tells us to cultivate our relationship with God and then to nurture and cultivate our relationship with the body.

The body of Christ includes every single one of us who has been drawn into a relationship with Christ. We stand on level ground.  At any given time, we should be able to turn to any person who is a member of the body of Christ and know that we will be cared for. Taking the time to remember our calling enables us to look beyond ourselves and see everyone as being a member of a family – whether it be online, in our church, or in our friendships.

19 Ways We Are Called To Care For One Another

  1. Pray for one another (Eph. 6:18; Col. 4:2; I Thess. 5:17;James 5:16)
  2. Encourage one another (I Thess. 5:14, 2:11)
  3. Edify one another (I Thess. 5:11)
  4. Exhort one another (urge to pursue some course of action; warn and advise) (Hebrews 10:25, 3:13; Phil 4:2, I Thess 4:10)
  5. Admonish one another (warning, reproof, teaching ) (Romans 15:14, I Cor. 4:14, Col. 1:28, 3:16, I Thess. 5:12, 14; 2 Thess. 3:15)
  6. Love one another (John 13:34)
  7. Care for one another. (I Cor. 12:25, Phil. 2:4)
  8. Bear with one another (Romans 15:1, Gal. 6:2)
  9. Forgive one another (Eph. 4:32)
  10. Help one another physically (Gal. 5:13) and materially (I Tim. 6:17, 18)
  11. Worship with one another (Heb. 10:24-25).
  12. Be devoted to one another. (Romans 12:5).
  13. Honor one another (Romans 12:10)
  14. Rejoice with one another (Romans 12:15)
  15. Serve one another (Galations 5:13)
  16. Carry one another’s burdens (Galations 6:2)
  17. Encourage one another (I Thess. 5:11)
  18. Offer Hospitality to one another (I Peter 4:9)
  19. Confess our sins to one another (James 5:16)

When we live this calling we become a light for a lost world to see and a haven for our family members. How have you been living out your calling?  How have you been blessed by a member of the body of Christ?

What Can I Do About Racism?

“You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself…” Leviticus 19:34 

It was one of those hot, humid days when the weather man says, “A high of 89 degrees, but it feels like 99!” The automatic door slowly swished open as my squeaky-wheeled cart led me into the cool grocery store. I was greeted by the chill of the air conditioning, the welcoming scent of coffee brewing, and the smell of deli fried chicken.

As I mindlessly began my weekly grocery shopping, an overwhelmingly helpless feeling began to settle over me. A twinge of fear entered my heart.  “What can I do?” I thought? “What can one, middle aged woman do to make a difference in this mess we find ourselves in called ‘racism’? How will they know I’m not one of those people who hate?”  I am tempted to put my head down, make no eye contact, do my business, and move on.  Yet I know that is not what God wants me to do.

This chaos that traces back to the beginning of time – division, racial tension, and angry, hurt people – It has always been around in one form or another. “Lord, what can one person do?” I pray. And a still, small voice whispers in my ear.  The answer floods my heart and mind:

“Every human being longs to feel as though they are valued.  Every time you interact with a person, no matter who they are, leave them feeling like they are valued. Look them in the eyes. Listen to them. See them.”

Simple.

The knot in my stomach slowly disappears. I ask God to expose any hidden places in my heart that may harbor even the smallest hint of racism. I ask Him to give me a heart that values each human being that enters my life, no matter how brief the stay.

After placing the last item on my grocery list into the cart, I make my way to the check out line. Unloading the food onto the counter, I glance up and greet the young man who is bagging my groceries. I make eye contact and ask him how he is doing. He tells me about himself. He says it’s been a long day and that he’s tired. He tells me about his mom and about his dog. We laugh and I tell him I have a son about his age.  I thank him for his work. We say good bye.

A middle aged woman and a 20 something, African American man had a short conversation about their lives.  Both felt valued.  Both looking past age and skin color.

God is teaching me that He can use me to  make a difference – one valuable person at a time.

 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”  John 13:34

Give Your Life Away – Because He First Loved Us

On the wall in my little kitchen hangs a simple black sign with white letters. I saw it one day on a website and knew I had to order it! The day it arrived I excitedly tore open the box, pulled out the sign, hammered a nail into the wall, and hung it in a spot where it would serve as a daily reminder of the only reason I am able to serve and love the people God brings into my life. The sign says,

“We love because He first loved us.”

As I have gotten older, I have become more acutely aware of how pitifully weak I am. I have also become more aware than ever before of who the Source of all my living, serving, and loving others is. Sadly, my flesh often fights for attention, wanting others to look to me, rather than directing them to my Source of strength: The One who first loved us! 

A few years ago, God allowed me to see a beautiful example of a woman who sought to direct others to Her Savior. It was one of those moments when your eyes are supernaturally opened, and you know that God has flung back the curtains, putting the spotlight on something that He wants you to see.  I had the privilege of attending a conference where missionary/author Elisabeth Elliot was the main speaker. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. I was completely overwhelmed and fought back tears the entire day.

What was it about her that brought me to tears? Was it that she was beautiful, successful, or that she had published over 20 books? Was she an eloquent speaker? Fashionably dressed? Well educated with fancy degrees? Was she young and relatable? No. Other than publishing over 20 books, most of these things do not describe her.

She was an older, average looking woman, and was soft spoken. Her dress, although tasteful, was somewhat plain. She had graduated from college, but most of her “education” came from life, trials, and years spent on the mission field. What she had to share came from years of experiencing God through tragedy, loss, and living for Him. She never sought recognition, fame, to be published, and she never promoted herself.  She was a simple woman who served God, and God decided to use her life to mentor others and to help make His name famous.

When the conference was over, she led over 2,000 women in a closing prayer. After the prayer, she began to make her way down the middle aisle to the back of the auditorium. As she started down the aisle, all 2,000 women stood and began to give her a standing ovation.

She immediately put her head down and thrust her hand over her head – pointing up. She wanted the glory to go to God alone.

Overwhelmed with the desire to emulate what God had allowed me to see, I burst into tears. That day I knew I wanted to serve God in a deeper way, by serving my family and those whom He has chosen for me to live life with. If He chose to do anything more than that, may it be to make HIS name famous.

When my life calling is finished, may the image that I leave be one of my head bowed, and my finger pointing up to the One who first loved me. His example of sacrificially giving His own life for my sin is the example that I desire to focus on every day. That daily reminder of undeserved grace is what keeps me serving the precious people who are placed in my life, and who are so desperately needful of being directed to Him in all things.