I rarely modify the word “Christian” with adjectives like red, yellow, black, or white. Occasionally, however, an event happens that threatens to divide God’s people of a racial nature. The recently ended George Zimmerman trial in the death of Treyvon Martin is one such event.
It seems to me that so many children of God have reacted to the verdict in that trial along either political and, as often, racial lines. Everyone from adherents of the NRA to those of the NAACP seems to have strong opinions and stronger reactions. From such a long distance away from the facts of the case, many whose opinions are decidedly sympathetic to one side or another seem certain that either justice or injustice was served by the jury.
While forming an opinion about cases like this one may approach inevitability, there is a caution to be heeded.
We cannot allow the world’s division, whether due to politics, religion, race, or the like, to infect us and divide us. That means that we should be very careful as we communicate with one another through the various means we use–Facebook and other social media, email, the Bible classroom and pulpit, and even our conversations with people. Our passion cannot be rooted in these things that do not matter in eternity! Eternal things ought to be our cause and obsession.
When I was a graduate student at Freed-Hardeman, Earl Edwards taught a course on missions. He depicted the first-century scenario powerfully, asking, “Can you imagine Paul and the other apostles spending all their time picketing abortion clinics, lobbying Rome, or consuming themselves with the social causes of their day?” His point was that the early Christians’ focus was on the living hope (cf. 1 Pet. 1:3). They were not distracted by the causes and factions of their world.
Please be careful of rhetoric in defense of Zimmerman or lament of Martin that raises walls that Christ died to destroy. While his focus was Jew and Gentile rather than black and white, his words apply to us today that Christ “is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation” (Eph. 2:14). The wall of separation, in context, was the Old Testament. But, the law represented that which kept the two groups apart. Christ reconciles us in one body and makes us “one new man” (Eph. 2:15-16).
There will be no “white heaven” and “black heaven” (or whatever race comes to mind). That being the case, we had better develop and maintain colorblindness on earth. Let the world be divided, if they will not submit to Christ. Let us be united, submitting to our Lord!