Tomorrow, 10.19.17, the University of Florida will be hosting Richard Spencer, a known white supremacist and president of the National Policy Institute. This has stirred many emotions throughout the community of Gainesville. Spencer does not represent the University of Florida or our community’s views in Gainesville.
It has been amazing to be part of the unity in this great community and to see unity throughout the Church. Unity is not uniformity. It is when we celebrate our differences. That means we love past our comfort, reach beyond personal preference, and think about more than ourselves.
The Church in Gainesville has chosen to use the hashtag #PrayStayAway. Meaning that we should all pray and stay away from the events that will be hosted at the Curtis M. Philips Center for Performing Arts. Please stay away and do not give Spencer and his followers any voice. They do not deserve one and certainly have not earned one in our community. Stay away from the event and pray like crazy tomorrow.
We should pray for unity. We should pray for dynamic diversity. We should pray for safety. We should pray for love over hate.
But, praying is not enough. In the wake of the events I challenge people in our community to do more than pray.
Racism is not a political issue, it’s a Gospel issue. In Jesus’ Church, “There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female; for you (all of us) are one in Christ Jesus.”
God can use this for His Good.
This is what the Bible says about race:
-We all are created in His image – “So God created man in His own image” – Genesis 1:27
-God doesn’t show favoritism – “Then Peter began to speak: “Now I really understand that God doesn’t show favoritism, but in every nation the person who fears Him and does righteousness is acceptable to Him.” -Acts 10:34-35
-We all form ONE Body – The Church – “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body-whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free” – 1 Corinthians 12:13
-Heaven is made up of ALL Mankind – “…there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” -Revelation 7:9
Here is our challenge as a community:
-See People like God does – Racial diversity was God’s idea. “Man sees what is visible but God sees the heart.” Our hearts, regardless of our skin, are the same. We are all children of God, so see people like God does.
-Change the way we Listen – A lot of racial tension would be eased if we would just take the time to listen to people different than us. Not out of obligation, but out of respect. James, Jesus’ brother, wrote, “Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.”
Racism is still a common sin in the world today. The solution is to change the way we listen to one another. What if listening became doing life with each other? Beginning to truly embrace people that are different than you socioeconomically and racially could radically change your outlook. We bridge the gap by changing the way we listen to one another.
-Love people like Jesus does – Jesus gave His life for ALL of us out of Love.
Jesus was recorded in John chapter 15 starting in verse 12, “This is My command: Love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you slaves anymore, because a slave doesn’t know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I made known to you everything I have heard from My Father. You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. This is what I command you: Love one another.”
God uses The Church, Jesus’ Church, as the Hope of Reconciliation in the City of Gainesville. Not just to learn, but to LIVE in the Unity of the Gospel of Jesus.
So, pray, but don’t just pray. We are called to Love God and Love our neighbors. Not just the neighbors that are like you. Unity is not uniformity. Unity is when we celebrate our differences.
See people as God sees people. God sees the heart.
Change the way we listen to one another so we can be racial reconcilers in our community. There is unity in the Gospel of Jesus.
Love people like Jesus does…regardless of the color of our skin.
Pray. See. Change. Listen. Love.