Hebrews 5:12-14: In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food. Anyone who lives on milk, being still and infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature. Who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
I want to first state that I am by no means an expert in things that I will cover in this text. I am just someone who is allowing the Spirit to move through me. Second, the title of this write up is “Christians: This requires eating meat.” Eating meat means that you understand that everyone you talk to may not agree with you on social issues. This is maturity! A mature Christian understands that listening before speaking is both wise and a biblical teaching. James 1:19, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” Brothers and sisters we are getting it wrong by turning the verse around….being quick to anger, quick to speak, and slow to listen! God wants us to be fully grounded Christians who are not swayed to the right or left by the toxic dance of the world. He wants us to be Christians who are in constant prayer for thy fellow man. He wants us to be Christians who are moved when evil acts happen. He wants us to be Christians who are sympathetic when people cry for help! And more importantly, He wants us to be Christians who love no matter what a person looks like or believes! Even if that means loving someone who despises you!
Brothers and sisters, we are called to respond to others in love. Taking a look at your social media post is a great way to gauge if you are responding to God’s children in love. Ask yourself this one question: Did I pray and ask the Lord to speak through me before I posted that question, comment, article, picture, etc? Allowing the Spirit to speak through you will benefit you and the person(s) it is intended to reach. If the Spirit is love and He speaks through you, then all that can come out is love! And remember, love isn’t always pretty but it isn’t evil, quick to anger, dishonoring, or unforgiving. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” In everything we do, let’s do it with the love of Christ brothers and sisters. No matter the circumstance may be.
1 John 3:15 says, “Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.” Looking at the previous verses look at the hatred Cain had in his heart which ultimately lead him to murdering his brother. The Bible’s description of Cain is fitting for the time that we are in right now. My brothers and sisters don’t be like Cain who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother! We will take a deeper look into Cain’s relationship with Able later.
My White Brothers and Sisters in Christ
First, I want to tell my white brothers and sisters who reads this section that I love you. I am praying that you and your family continue to receive favor and protection from the Lord as you live out His will for your life. I want to start this section with a hard truth you must come to grips with: In America (and across the world) black people are still being treated in horrific ways due to their skin color. No, not every horrific act against a black person is rooted in hate or racism, but brothers and sisters you must realize that many of these acts still exist! Let me say this (my opinion) with confidence, you won’t be separated from the Lord or have your Christianity taken away from you if you accept that there are still forms of racism in our society! In fact, by accepting that there are still forms of racism, you will be starting a fight with the enemy in an area that he has been very lucrative in over the years.
My brothers and sisters please realize that there is a group of people that are being attacked by the bully called Racism! This bully lives down the street in their same neighborhood. This bully has been terrorizing the community for years. More tragically, this bully has been terrorizing individuals who live in your household, your own brothers and sisters. Please think about this example…a bully has been tormenting your brother every time he goes outside. None of the neighbors will do anything about it because they are all intimidated. Every time your brother goes outside you go to the window and see this bully severely beating him. You even hear him crying out to you for help. You sit at the windowsill and shed tears but do nothing else. Your brother tries to fight back but the bully is too strong and has too many people afraid. Every time your brother returns to the room he asks why do you sit at the windowsill and watch the bully beat on him up? He tells you that it hurts more to know that you’re watching the beating than the beating itself! He tells you that all he wants to do is play outside like the other kids in the neighborhood. He says the bully has even told him that he will kill him soon! You tell your brother that you were too afraid to help but next time you will step in. But the next day the same thing happens and so on and so forth. Now you’re to the point where you don’t even sit at the window anymore. Now you just watch tv or play video games when it happens. You have convinced yourself that this is how you are able to cope with the fact that the bully is hurting your brother! Then one day your brother comes in after the most severe beating and tells you that the next time he goes outside, he thinks the bully might kill him. You finally go speak with your Father about the situation and He tells you that He has raised you for such a time as this. He tells you that it has hurt him to have his son, your brother, come to him every day pleading and begging for help against the bully. He says he tells your brother that he will send help soon. You Father says that He knocks on your door every time your brother goes outside but you don’t answer. He says it hurts Him that you see your brother getting hurt but you and you even choose to ignore His knocks. Your Father then reminds you that the bully is only hurting your brother because you are too scared to face him. He tells you that the bully is both you and your brother’s fight but you need to take the lead! He tells you that you have it in you to completely kill this type of bully. He tells you that He has created you and your brother to kill different types of bullies but this one is you will ultimately destroy. He tells you that all you have to do is walk hand in hand outside with your brother and the bully will die. He says that you can never let your brother’s hand go because this type bully could reappear. Filled with courage and hope you grab your brother’s bloody hand, hold it tight, and walk outside. You both see the bully from a far running at you full speed. Then you and your brother hold up your hands together and the bully is destroyed!!! You and your brother have a humongous celebration because the neighborhood is free from that terror!
There’s a lot we can unpack in this example, but the moral of the story is that God has raised you all for such a time as this. Just like God has a plan for all of us as individuals, it would be naïve of us to think that He doesn’t have plans for different races of people. God is too big and too wise! The world is listening brothers and sisters, this is your time to face this evil head on! This is your time to come along side your black brothers and sisters. Without your help, we will never beat the bully of racism. What if God has raised you up for such a time as this?
Practical ways you can help defeat racism is:
- Pray to God to search your heart and lead you in the way of everlasting. Specifically Psalm 139:23-24 says, “Search me, God, and know my heart;test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
- Stop people in your social circle who spew out hate, discriminate against minorities, or deny that racism does not exist.
- Allow individuals to celebrate their culture and take part in the celebration with them
- Help create legislation
- Fight for equality
- Fight against injustice
- Seek to understand different cultures
- Know that everyone is made in the image of God so when you come against them, it’s a shot at God as well!
You must also understand that your words can hurt. Sometimes when you are trying to make a point it comes across extremely insensitive. I would ask you to please allow the Spirit to speak through you. Be careful about speaking from your point of view or speaking your personal opinion. Realize that any and everyone can give an opinion. Our society is saturated with them! If it’s not backed up by the word of God, then what good is our human opinion. Lets be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to give our opinion!
So again, my white brothers and sisters in Christ, please see my heart! I only want you to understand the plight of your fellow brothers and sisters and encourage you to pray, ask, and start. Pray to God that he will soften your heart (if it’s hard) and give you understanding of what is hurting your black brothers and sisters. Ask God what He wants you to do to defeat racism at its core. Start doing what God has created you to do to combat racism (protest, fight for equal rights, run for office, educate people in your social circles, etc.) I love you all so much and please know that I will continue seeking the Lord first whenever I talk about these issues. Together, let’s defeat the enemy and continue doing God’s work!
My Black Brothers and Sister in Christ
At this moment brothers and sisters let’s take a breath and pause! My heart is hurting so deep right now and I know yours is too! I want to tell you all that I love you and I am continuing to pray for you and your families. We as a people have had an extremely difficult time navigating through life due to the reality that people hate or mistreat us because of our skin color. If you need to cry right now go ahead and cry. And when you do cry out, cry out to the Lord! He hears you just as he heard his people in Egypt crying out to Him. Realize that you have a heavenly Father that cares about you and your wellbeing. You were made in His image. Genesis 1:27, So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Brothers and sisters remember that the Lord is your foundation, then, everything else comes after that. Unfortunately, there is a truth that you must accept and come to grip with brothers and sisters. The truth being the world may continue to hate or mistreat you because of your skin color.
Brothers and sisters, I know it may be hard to hear but that fact of the matter is that people may continue to hate us because we are black. Mistreating black people has been very successful for the enemy worldwide. We know that the system of brutal treatment of black people runs deep in the United States in particular. We know that there have been countless individuals that look like us killed just because they were black. Unfortunately, this may not be the last time a black person is killed in such a horrible way due to skin color. So what should our response be during this time and going forward? We must pray and continue to fight for equal rights, fight against inequality, and fight for justice! We need to continue to let our voices be heard all over the nation and world in this fight against racism! We have to do it in a peaceful non-confrontational way. The way we find out how to let our voices be heard is through prayer. Our efforts need to be exactly how God wants it to be, nothing more, and nothing less. The Spirit will lead us to demonstrate, post, speak to political figures, run for office, vote, etc. Keep in our mind that the enemy is using this evil called racism to tear the black community and all races apart. Individually, we can’t allow the enemy to put in our mind that we are meant to be against everyone that doesn’t look like us! With that being said, brothers and sisters, we must be careful to not categorize an entire group of people as being racist or having hate toward black people.
The fact is that there are extremely kind hearted and sympathetic white brother and sisters that only want to help. When we say things like, “White people are racist” or “White people don’t care about us” (or similar phrases) it demeans all of the good work that some of our loving white brothers and sisters have done and are doing to combat racism. The fact is our white brothers and sisters may never fully understand what it’s like to be black but we won’t fully understand what it feels like to be white. The enemy attacks both groups, it just looks different! Just as we can’t classify all white people in the same boat we must not classify all law enforcement officers in the same boat as well. Let me be clear and state facts, “all law enforcement officers are not bad.” Brothers and sisters, if you think any of the statements I mentioned involving all white people or all law enforcement officers being bad or racist are completely wrong, I would ask you to please pray and ask God to search your heart. Just like all black people aren’t the same, we need to realize that all white people and police officers aren’t the same. You do have great people that God is using in a mighty ways! Sticking on the topic of law enforcement, personally I have had the pleasure of knowing some tremendous individuals, from school resource officers to police officers who let me go with a warning when I ran a red light or failed to stop at a stop sign. But I have also encountered the dark side of law enforcement. There have been unfortunate situations where I know I was mistreated because of being black. When I was about 17 years old an officer pulled me over across the street from an elementary school. There were several buses lined up ready to pick students up, so I pulled to an empty spot across the street from the school. The officer quickly got out of the car, asked me for my license and registration. He asked me why I parked across the street from the buses. I explained to him that I did not want to block them from leaving the school. He shook his head, left and ran my information. When he returned, the first thing he said was, “parking over here was stupid, what are you stupid or something?” I said, “no sir, I’m not stupid I just wanted to…” and before I finished the sentence he told me to step out of the car. While searching me, he asked what I was doing in the area. I told him that I was going home and I lived about a two miles away. After he searched the car he said I couldn’t drive it home. I asked him why and he stated, “because you can’t.” I then asked him if he could call my mom or take me to her so she could come drive the car home. He then stated, “no, walk boy!” I said, “excuse me?” knowing that the term ‘boy’ was often used by white men to insult and belittle black men throughout history. Again he said, “walk”. I started walking and the officer drove behind me the entire way to my home. I felt embarrassed. I felt ashamed. I felt black!
Another unfortunate situation I had played out on my own college campus. After one of my evening classes, some friends and I went to the court to play some pick-up basketball. After finishing, I was stopped by an officer on the way home. When the officer came up to my window he asked for my license and registration. I ask why I was stopped. Without answering my question, he asked me what I was doing on campus. I told him that I had just come from playing basketball and that I was a student. His response was, “something’s not right!” After he ran my license and registration he told me that he was just checking things out. I asked, “what does that mean?” He stated again, “I’m just checking things out!” While he was looking through the car with his flashlight I said, “look sir I have my student ID right here.” He then put his hand on his gun about to draw it. Tears then came down my face as I held up my hands up with my college ID card in hand. I said, “sir, I told you I was a student, I just wanted to show you my ID.” After seeing the card he then said that everything would be ok he was just making sure everything was ok on campus. He then let me go. As I left, I thought about how easy that situation got extremely serious and it was totally out of my control. I thank God that things didn’t escalate to something worse!
Unfortunately, I have had several other bad interactions with officers throughout the years but through it all I thank God for keeping me safe from harm. It breaks my heart knowing that individuals that look like me have lost their lives because situations got out of hand during their encounters with law enforcement. I personally can tell you more good encounters with law enforcement than bad ones. But Brothers and sisters please hear me when I say this: all law enforcement officers aren’t bad, but all law enforcement officers aren’t good either. We have to understand that these individuals are human beings who are subject to sin just like you and I! We do need reform in law enforcement, but we also need reform in our hearts!
Please look at my heart brothers and sisters and know that I am only following our Lord’s example. Jesus was betrayed, hated, tortured, beat, and mocked all before He was nailed to the cross. And while He was on the cross, He left us with the best example of what true love should look like. He took on all of our sins and asked, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do!” Luke 23:34
Brothers and sisters let’s not get on the defense every time we hear something insensitive or ignorant coming from someone who does not look like us. As this text heading states, “this requires eating meat!” If people dislike us solely based on skin color, in spite of all of the work we are doing (praying, protesting, changing laws), then what should our response be? We are to love our brothers and sisters in spite of their discrimination, in spite of their ignorance, and even in spite of their hate! This is a hard teaching, but Jesus is very clear about how we’re supposed to treat our enemies or those who persecute us! Matthew 5:44-48, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Unpacking this verse, we see the foundation of Jesus’ message is love! When Jesus tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, this was something He showed us through His own actions when He was walking the earth. During the last supper, Jesus washed all of the disciples feet including Judas. The one who would betray Him in the end. Then when Jesus was on the cross He said, “Father forgive them, for the know not what they are doing.” If Jesus is the example that we are following, then we have to love like He loves, pray like He prays, and forgive like He forgives.
Brothers and sisters let’s not be quick to anger with an entire group of people (that being white people and/or law enforcement). I know we want justice and many times the system fails us but at the end of the day God will have the final say so. Unfortunately, the fact is that some of the people who do wrong in this life won’t get the judgement they deserve through the justice system. This is when we have to know God sees all and He will get His justice! When we are protesting, we as mature believers must never give the impression that criminal activity like looting, rioting, etc. is ok in our society. Remember that the world is looking for light and we are the ones who God has chosen to give it to them. In John 18:10-11, Jesus showed us how to respond to a society where you are persecuted or treated unjusticely! When the officials came to arrest Him, Peter took out his sword and cut off a soldier’s ear. John 18:10-11, “Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” When Jesus was at the one of the most stressful points in His ministry, He still didn’t allow any unrest or criminal activity to be done as a reaction to what was unfolding. Brothers and sisters we must still carry our integrity even during tragic situations. We must remember that we are the salt of the earth and as we lead others will follow. I love you my brothers and sisters in Christ!
In conclusion (to all in the body of Christ)
Brothers and sisters we must recognize that the enemy is using us to serve his purpose. Hating someone because of his or her skin color is an easy fight to take up for the devil. It’s low hanging fruit! It doesn’t take much thought or effort. All you have to do is see someone who has a different shade of skin than you and start hating them. We are not called to live like the world lives. We are called to be game changers in society. The world in its present form is dying a well-deserved death, but we will live for all eternity with Christ! Let’s always keep that at the forefront of our hearts!
My suggestion going forward, brothers and sisters, is that you don’t air your feelings out on social media until you’ve sought the Lord’s advice. Pray and listen for the Lord to speak to you. You may find out that the Holy Spirit does not want you speak at that moment. He may move you to do something else that would glorify the Lord. In this season in my Christian walk I am eating meat! When someone comes to me for advice or with an issue I almost immediately pray in the spirit to the Holy Spirit. I pray, “Holy Spirit speak through me.” Sometimes He leads me to say things and sometimes He doesn’t. But whatever He leads me to do, I am content with that and give the situation over to Him. We must understand that God does not need your opinion! That may be hard to hear, but its truth in its rawest form. Looking at Jesus as our guide we see how He was constantly at one with the Lord. Jesus always said and did what thus says the Lord. Looking at Jesus telling His disciples His motivation behind His mission, we look at John 14:6, His only duty was to do what His Father tasked Him with doing! If we are mature Christians eating meat, we must understand that God has us on an assignment and we need to do and say what has task us to do! Ephesians 2:10 puts it plain and simple, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Think about this, John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have eternal life.” This is one of the most quoted passages in the Bible. Unpacking this verse shows us that Jesus did several things: Came down from His heavenly throne, walked on the earth as a man, died for the sins of man, and defeated death by rising three days later! Going further, after he rose he walked the earth for a time and then left us His Spirit! So my question to you is, what spirit are you leaving God’s people? Let’s look at what you post on social media for example. Your “word” is what you post on Facebook or other social media platforms and the spirit you leave is whatever lasting impression you left with the ones who read your words or heard you speak. Brothers and sisters, please be careful with what you say or write! Not everything you think has to be demonstrated by words or said with your tongue! Practice telling the Spirit to speak through you if you’re feeling emotional. He will never lead you astray and what you say or write will be in love. Or, the Spirit may tell you not to say or write anything but to just pray! We all could practice the latter!
Lord, I come to you as a humble child filled with great sorrow and love! Lord you know my heart. You know my passion. You know my desire. Lord I pray for the George Floyd family. I pray that you comfort them during this extremely emotional time. Lord I pray that you continue to seek after his little daughter so that she excepts you as her Lord and personal savior. Lord I ask you to put your hedge of protection around her and ordain her steps in life to glorify you and you only! Lord I pray that you be with the families of the many black individuals that have been murdered by law enforcement or another race due to hate. Father I pray for the individuals that have murdered the black individuals because at the end of the day Lord you still love them and want a personal relationship. Lord I pray for their families as well. Lord help us collectively defeat racism, please Lord! I ask you that if there is anything you need me to do to fight for equal rights, equality, or justice, please speak to me. Please show me what you want me to do to glorify you! At the same time Lord, I ask you to take any bitterness, hate, hostility, etc. out of me and make everything in me clean. I ask you Lord to bring peace to our country right now. Help us defeat racism, discrimination, and hatred of any kind. Help us to recognize that the enemy of our soul does see color but does not care who he kills at the end of the day. He just sees us as children that you love and died for! I pray for the black community as it continues to heal from years of being tormented, tortured, and murdered due to people being led by the enemy. I pray that you kill the evilness of racism once and for all. But if racism is not defeated Lord, I pray that you continue to point people toward you and your glory! I pray that the white community continues to heal from a lifetime of being called racist. Lord I know that racism exists but not everyone is guilty of it. Lord I pray that you speak to this community in a powerful way! Lord I ask you to help blind or hateful ones in this community to see that their minority brothers and sisters are crying out for help. Lord I ask you to soften their hearts. Lord I ask you to be with our community leaders, law enforcement officers, and politicians. Lord you love all of them because you knew them before they were born. I ask you Lord to help them make good decisions when in their positions. Lord I pray for our President. I pray that you continue to speak to his heart and show him what he needs to do to pull our country together. Lord you know the heart, so if there is anything in his heart that is not clean I ask you to make it clean. Lord I thank you that we don’t have to go to any of our leaders for the final answer because you were the final answer when you went to Calvary, died, then defeated death rising three days later. Lord I thank you for walking me through the many challenges I’ve had in life due to my skin color! I thank you for showing me that the skin color you gave me is not what defines me in your eyes! Yes, you have gave me this beautiful complexion as a highlight when you made me but my color does not automatically guarantee me eternal life with you. No Lord you have stated that I must accept you as my Lord and personal savior. I did Lord because you gave me life through grace and mercy. When I was destined for hell Lord you picked me up and showed me life! You have yearned for a personal relationship with me from the beginning just as you have done for all of your children! I thank you for not allowing me to not hate people just because they have hurt me. I thank you for helping me daily to see people as individuals first and not their skin color. I thank you for bringing great people into my life that raised me to love, in spite of, not because of. I thank you for my strong and beautiful mother who always corrected me anytime I made a derogatory statement. I thank you for the countless black men who poured strength into my life! I thank you Lord for blessing me with two sons who I will raise to love you and your children. I thank you for blessing me with a beautiful wife who is passionate about her community but also loves the rest of your children of all shades! And last but not least, Lord I thank you for raising in me up for such a time as this! Amen.
-Written by Darrell Starling