Redeemed saints, stripped of both their sin and their skin color, Spirit filled brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, each one gloriously unique in their physical makeup, but at their soul level washed in the blood of the Lamb.
I feverishly wrote these words down when Dr. John Perkins spoke at Catalyst14 a couple of weeks ago. His story resonated with me and made me long for us to be color blind and to see people as Jesus does—with a compassionate heart for the lost and a redemptive grace for the found.
Dr. Perkins is eighty-four years old. In his life he has seen some things. He fled Mississippi when his brother was killed. However, when he came to know Christ, he moved back and was right in the thick of the civil rights movement. He told a story of how he had been arrested and was being tortured while in jail. As the tines of a fork were being pushed up his nose, he cried out to God to save him and allow him to be used in ministry.
These words broke my heart.
They break my heart because I want us to be better fifty years later at racial equality and injustice, but I am not sure that we are. I look around and still see divisions based on skin color, politics, gender, sexual orientation, and beliefs.It must sadden the heart of God to see his people like this
Jesus looked at folks with eyes of compassion. He came to save the lost and the broken and the sinful. Of course he noticed whether someone was a Jew or a Gentile, a Galilean or Samaritan, a man or a woman. But what mattered most to Jesus was the heart.
Jesus saw people for what they were: sheep without a shepherd.
Then he did something about it.
Jesus called people on their sin, but then he offered them a better way.
Why don’t we do the same?
Instead of looking at each other’s differences, why don’t we seek out some common ground? We all want to belong, we all want to matter, we all want our lives to mean something.
We all struggle to take care of the day-to-day grind of life. We all want to find love and have secure families and make sure our children have a chance in this world.
We all want to know that we are right with God. Even the one that claims there is no God still has a small measure of doubt deep down that they might be wrong. That the spark they feel inside is a soul and does carry on after the body is dust.
So what are we to do as Christians?
Jesus gave us the answer: “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew 9:36
Why don’t we do the same?
Instead of seeing a black man or an Asian woman or a Hispanic child, see through the outside to a soul in need of a Savior.
- Show them that our God is bigger than the color of their skin and He came to save sinners like you and I.
- Shower them with love instead of judgement.
- Point them to the Bible as a source of direction and encouragement and hope.
- Stop pointing fingers and start lifting hands to our fellow human beings.
Perhaps then, when we put our Gospel to work, will people like Dr. John Perkins see that their work has made a difference. Maybe then the world will want a little more of the Jesus that we portray with our lives.
And maybe then we will be able to look a little more like Heaven here on earth.