One of the hindrances of God’s love in our society today is racism – the idea that one’s race is superior to other races. The prevalence is in from the top of the society to its bottom – turn on the news and you are likely to hear about it, talk to friends and your conversation might shift to that. Unfortunately, it has found way into the church.
Paul in his epistle to the Ephesians expresses the grandeur of the love of God – may have power, together with all the saints, to comprehend the length and width and height and depth of His love, 19and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:18-19).The love of God knows no bounds. In-spite of the love of God towards us, why is it not affecting the society as it ought to. Atheists will ask, “if there is a God why is there so much evil in this world?” The main reason is because the love of God is reliant on man for its fulfilment.
A story that comes to mind is the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-40). Philip was instructed by the Holy Spirit to go and meet a man not disclosing his identity. On getting to the road the Holy Spirit told the white man to join the running chariot without disclosing the identity of of the passenger. The white man ran as fast as he could to join himself to the chariot and as he peeped to see who the passenger was he discovered he is a black man, much inquiry tells that he is an Ethiopian at the service of the Queen. Philip preached to him, baptized and was taken by the Holy spirit. It appears as if the Holy spirit was indifferent about skin colour that was why he forgot to disclose his identity. It appeared that Philip was no racist either that was why he preached to the black man even after his discovery.
Much of this was exemplified in the past where white men have descended to the black continent to share the good news. This endeavour seems to contradict its purpose on a white continent: the pioneer of Azusa revival learnt about the gospel by sitting by the door of the church because white men would not allow black men in the church. We have cases in some churches where the sitting arrangement is that black people dominate a section of the church and white people the other. This racial consciousness amongst believers extends to the circular society, where qualification is not taken into consideration or even more so being a Christian but being white or black. It is no wonder why some black people concluded that Christianity brought by missionaries was just a tool for colonization and slavery. Is he a Christian that judges you based on your skin colour? This is the love of God marred by race.
I think the problem with racism in the Christendom is the preservation of old identity. In his epistle to the Ephesians, he exhorts them of the change that has occurred in their identity – you are dead and your life is hidden in Christ. In other words, the life they have is no longer theirs but a life that is Christ – if Christ can be bias in showing love then they can and vice versa. He went forward to extend their identity towards race – here there is no Jews, Greek or barbarians but Christ is all and in you all. In other words they are to see themselves as one irrespective of their differences.
Another is the contamination of new identity in Christ by infiltration of world’s ideas. The world have ideas in preserving, for example, international economics, migrations etc which are effected by laws and policies. Migrants or races can suffer hostility because of these in the advancement of national interest. But consider the persecution of the early Church, how they fled to different places and were accommodated by brethren in those places (Acts 18:2-3) . Such may be hindered today because brethren have conceded to world ideas – “this is our country, don’t come here. Die in your country”. Are they Christians and are you Christians? This is the love of God marred by race.
The capability of a man to transmit the love of God to another is rooted in the soul of the man. For example, it is hard for a man who is broken to love easily. The demonstration of his love is shown by his mindfulness of us and the thirst for affection of us in Christ’s sacrificial offering (John 3:16, Psalm 8:4-8 ) – Christ is God’s love. No man can fully express the love of God without Christ. A man can express love but will still be hindered by some values in his identity for example, social class. but with his identity in Christ he learns to love unconditionally. Therefore the innate nature of a Christian (one with Christ) is to express the love of God in its fulness.
Why does the issue of race then still persist within the global church – “Examine yourself, how Christ is formed in you. Know you not yourselves, except you are reprobate” (2 Corinthians 13:5) . The danger racism poses within Christianity is the continuance of its marginalization within the society. In contrast the will of God is that the kingdom of God is enacted through the Church and giving life to everything it touches in the society (Ezekiel 47) . Christians are to shine as lights in this world, showing examples in every instance of racism declination and thereby reforming the society.
The love of God transcends the barrier of race, erecting itself in peculiar places, attracting affections and unifying men.
Shout this – “It is no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me.”