38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.
41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Mat. 5:38-48
One of my childhood friend’s father used to say, “The white man is a child of God”. In observing all that the white man was capable of doing – and possibly even his comportment – this uneducated village man saw the pre-eminence that God had granted the white man over the rest of mankind. And he acknowledged it. To this day I respect this man for his words. Those were bold words to say in those days, when everyone else probably considered the white man an imperialist exploiter. No doubt today, in the current atmosphere of worsening racial hostilities, it probably would start a small world war to re-state those words. But I am sure my friend’s father would not hesitate to say them again: he was the kind of person who would stick to his convictions even if you put a loaded gun to his head.
Personally, I too consider that in the world there is the white man first, and everyone else following. That I regard to be the natural order of things. In my perception, I see that, in many ways that we cannot deny, God has placed the white man above his fellow man. That is my personal opinion.
But, of course, that is not the entire truth. It probably is not even the truth at all. This is because the truth under the New Covenant that we have with God is that the true “child of God” can only be one who has been begotten, and is walking, in the Spirit. And being spiritual has to do with character. The child of God, therefore, is one who can show forth the character of God through his or her life, attitude and everything. The white man, the black man, and any man of any color, can only be a child of God if they can bring forth the character of God in their lives. That is the truth.
There is currently a race war going on in the U.S., and it is bringing out the worst out of everyone involved. I will not delve into the murky details but, clearly, when you read the news, you can feel the bitterness, the anger, and the outright hatred gushing out of people’s hearts. That means these things/attitudes were always there, but there was nothing to bring them out. Now a situation has arisen that is stirring the waters, and the water flowing out of people’s hearts is not clean at all; it is muddy.
But this state of war is not peculiar to the U.S. alone. The entire world is seething under an unseen force, and “warfare” is written all across the face of the earth.
Nations are at war with other nations.
Citizens of one nation fight each other.
Even worse is the warfare going on inside our homes as husband fights wife, parents fight children, and relative engages relative.
Most unfortunately comes the admission that in church, too, there is warfare. And the worst part is that it is the leaders who are at the fore-front of this “church warfare”. They fight for the positions of power as well as the money. I believe this is the most inexcusable warfare of all, for it is to these very people that God has chosen to reveal Himself as a God of grace. But God’s people today are so hell-bent on getting their rights, they will fight their way right into the furnace.
All this warfare points to a fall in the character of mankind. Slowly but surely, mankind today is sinking into into the depths of the most spiritually malicious enemy of all – self. But in His words, Jesus pointed to the singular thing that can lift man again and turn him into a true “child of God”: the cross. The touch of the Master, through the revelation of the cross, brings true peace and calm in a man’s heart, because it transforms that man and makes him a loser. A true child of God is a loser. He willingly surrenders his earthly rights, just as Christ surrendered them.
That is why the church today needs a revelation of the cross. We cannot preach to the world what we ourselves are not living. We cannot teach the world character they are not seeing in us.
The New Covenant of the cross is the greatest miracle ever, and we are living right in the center of it. This, therefore, is the day when the church needs to rise forth and shine; to show forth the great riches of God’s grace. To turn the other cheek for your enemy to slap, to go two miles when one is required of us – that is true grace! This is the one single thing that is guaranteed to triumph in the face of all the hatred and violence in the world. Any other weapon will simply backfire, even a gun.
The simplicity in Jesus’ words above is awe-inspiring; and yet, to arrive at this excruciatingly simple state of affairs will require we, the church, to crucify our lives and die to self.
[Below: It is indeed well with our souls, if crucified with Christ]