Racism in the USA and the Church's Response
Updated: Jul 4
Message from Pastor Shana Wise:
Matthew 18:1-4 (NKJV), At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”2 Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, 3 and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
When I was a child, I went to school in Portage Michigan. For the first five years of my primary education, I was usually the only black child in my classroom. I use to beg my mother, who was a school teacher in a predominately black school, to let me go to school with her so I could be around other kids that looked like me. I never received my request until I went to middle school, but little did I know that God had a plan for me.
Growing up, most of my school friends were white but by the time I got to the sixth grade, middle school, I had black, white, Hispanic, Asian, and an Arabic friend(s). I was always the kind of girl who got along with people, making friends was never hard for me. I never forget I had a birthday party when I was about eleven years old, and most of my friends came over to celebrate with me. We had so much fun that day!
We all enjoyed being in each other’s company, and our differences were never an issue, rather they drew us closer because we enjoyed learning about one another’s culture and we enjoyed being around each other, which equated to fellowship to me as I reflect back today.
We never let our color, ethnicity, race, background, or religion (because some of my friends were Muslim and Buddhist) come between our friendship. I believe true fellowship will always allow us to see past our differences, rather, it will cause of to celebrate the diversity of God’s beautiful creation. That is what my friends and I had for that brief period of time, true fellowship, and we just loved being around each other. I believe that is why Jesus told the disciples that they must become like children to even enter the Kingdom of God. All that most children want to do is play, have fun, and be around other kids. They do not care about the things that divide adults (race, religion, viewpoints), rather they enjoy fellowship over division.
Addressing Current Events
Matthew 5:13-16 (NKJV), “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
As I was watching the events unfold in our country over the past month (and before) concerning the death of George Floyd and the protest and rioting that followed afterward, I began to cry out to God in anguish and despair. Between the news broadcasting the death of George Floyd continuously, to see the protest and riots in the streets, and lastly seeing various people taking to social media and venting; the whole ordeal left had me feeling a variety of emotions from sad, to hurt, angry, frustrated, confused, and at some points hopeless. I remember being asked to pray on a conference call and all I did was cry the whole time because my spirit was so heavy and burdened.
I remember one morning when I heard a word from the Lord stating, “Now is the time for the church to shine so brightly, that when the world sees you, they do not see color, rather they feel the presence of God.”
He reminded me of some people that I have encountered over the years that were not angels, but you could feel and sense the presence of the Lord resting on them. It was like when I was in their presence I experienced the peace of God in them that radiating towards me.
Sometimes life has us so busy that we miss spending quality time with God (outside of local church) and we miss the harvest that is all around us.
Now, more than ever we need to filter what we see and hear through the Spirit of God (John 4:23-24). With all the messages that we get bombarded with every day, it is important that our flesh does not override the Spirit. Unfortunately, we as believers do this because we get more into our feelings than our faith.
God allows adversity to happen within the earth, mainly for the church to respond accordingly. He also allows these things to happen because:
1) Prophecy has to be fulfilled.
2) The church must go through the fire to be purified.
3) Adversity exposes how deep our roots are in the faith. God is separating the wheat from the tare, the sheep from the goat, and so on.
4) Adversity should increase our spiritual senses.
There are phrases and movements going on that are named #blacklivesmatter, #alllivesmatter, #policelivesmatter, which are all true statements and causes, however, if we are going to respond in Spirit and Truth, the churches response should be #allsoulsmatter! Why, because God reminded me that George Floyd, Ahmad Asbury, Brianna Taylor, and all others who have lost their lives at the hands of police or vigilantes’, never lost their soul because, ALL SOULS BELONG TO GOD! When we all die, our soul, not our body, is going to return to God. We must remember that a soul does not have a color, we are all living souls housed in a body (that is temporary).
Matthew 10:28 (NKJV) And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
History of Racism in the USA
Rather we want to acknowledge it or not, racism in America started with the foundation of this country AND in the church. Blacks in this country were enslaved for 400 years, and during slavery, the blacks were not allowed to worship with the whites. It was also told to the slaves throughout the generations that:
1) We were cursed because of our skin color.
2) The white man was equal to God because Jesus was white and therefore the white race was the pure race and almost equal to God. We have also been told and shown a blonde hair blue eyed Jesus from slavery and even until today. Most all images of Jesus (bible, tv, pictures, film, etc.) and any person in the bible, has always been characterized as white.
3) God intended for us to be slaves because it was biblical.
4) The blacks were not even considered fully human.
The laws of the land, from the foundation of the country, were never in favor of the black people, rather they had to be amended over the years from the period of the civil war and even until today.
Even after the civil war, parts of this country still were still segregated until the 1960s (and in many cases still is today), meaning that blacks and whites could not even congregate together in some states.
Due to these alarming historical facts in the history of the church in the United States, we as the body must acknowledge the fact that these incidences are still having an effect in the church of 2020. Most churches are still segregated. Many believers only feel comfortable worshipping around others that look like them and are culturally similar. Some believers do not feel comfortable around other races. These examples apply to all races (black, white, Latino, etc.)
We must not be afraid to address our prejudices and insecurities because if we are going to truly move forward in unity, love, compassion, and empathy for one another, we must breakdown the divide in the church.
Points of Discussion
· For blacks in America, we have always talked about racial disparity, injustices, inequalities, and police brutality amongst ourselves and in our communities. Why is it so hard to have this conversation with our white brothers and sisters?
· What are some of the fears you are dealing with during this time in the country?
· What has the Lord revealed to you in the midst of what’s going on?
Finally, I have decided to take a pledge regarding my faith in Jesus Christ. I pray you will join in with me:
1) I refuse to hate anyone for the color of their skin.
2) I refuse to lose hope and faith in Jesus Christ.
3) I will continue to be the salt and light of the world and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Spirit and in Truth.
4) I continue to love, even the ones who are the most difficult to love (unconditionally), because that’s how God loves.
5) I will continue to reach across the lines and get out of my comfort zone for Christ's sake.
About the Author
Dr. Shana Wise is an ordained Pastor and CEO of Wise Choice Ministries (est. 2016). She is the founder of The Well Christian Women’s Network formally known as Christian Women Preachers United. Dr. Wise is the author of women’s devotional, Acts of Intercession, and The Impact of Your Election (available on Amazon). She received a Doctor of Divinity degree in 2019 from St. Thomas Christian University. Her passion is to teach and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, equip others to apply the Word to their lives, and demonstrate the Word through the power of the Holy Spirit. She is a televangelist that appears on social media outlets and television. Shana is married to Ron Wise and is the mother of four children.
Video discussion from the ladies of The Well CWN from Facebook Live on Monday, June 22, 2020.
Let's keep the discussion going, what are your thoughts as it relates to the church uniting against racism going on in the USA and globally? What is your feedback regarding the points of discussion?