Continuing my series. You can find the first one here.
Things I’ve learned
I’m a racist. I’m sorry, but (and) it’s true. I told some of my black friends today (lol – yes, I went there). But seriously, the more I speak with white people and the more I hang out with black people, the more I realise I’m a racist.
Now, that word is filled with different meanings and definitions. I’m a traditionalist. I’m comfortable with dictionary definitions and I hate definitions that change to suit an agenda. The word “racist” is one of those words. I hate words like #whitesplaining and #whiteprivilege as I think they do more harm to the conversation than good.
I’ve never been racist in the traditional segregation/supremist sort of way. No, that’s so 20 years ago. But over the years I realised that I know nothing about black, South African people, who I pretend are my brothers and sisters in Christ.
I don’t know their language. I don’t understand their culture. I don’t understand their way of life. I don’t understand their struggles. I don’t understand their history. I don’t understand their hair (that’s a joke). But I pretend that we share the same love for this country, yet what is this country if it is not the people who reside in it?
Nothing else has eternal value other than the people that surround us.
Now, as I’ve spoken with white and black friends about this all, one realises just how terribly messy a topic this is. There are all sorts of things that people want to add to the conversation, from political stances to personal “I’m not racist, but…” (and who hasn’t been there, am I right?).
But there is one thing that continues to inspire change and hope in me. The Jesus that I believe in and His gospel that I profess publically talks about a Kingdom vision that transcends any discussion of this earth or its rulers and powers. Over the past few years I’ve been challenged more and encouraged deeply by the concept of God bringing about Salvation for the nations, and at the end of our time when this earth is no more, the Throne of God will be surrounded by the nations; every nation. Every tongue. Every tribe. Every people group. Every culture. Everyone that is different to me. Now, if you hold racist tendencies (and I believe many of us still do), if you don’t think pursuing relationships with people different to you is worthwhile – Heaven is going to absolutely suck for you! Because you are going to be surrounded by the different, and thank God for that. Because unless Jesus came, only one people group had a chance – and it probably wasn’t you.
So for these past 4 years, I’ve been absolutely immersed into a culture different than mine. It has challenged me, changed me and caused me to cherish the unique creation of God. In particular I have learned to love the Xhosa people and their cultures and customs. Not everything. In every culture there are things which are against God, mine included. But there are beautiful things within the Xhosa culture that when met by the gospel transform it into a masterpiece reflecting the awesome hand of God, and He will use this beautiful culture to continue to spread His Gospel to all the peoples. And I’m all the better for it.
What I’m Still Totally Convinced About
God cares more about who you are to Him than what you do for Him. This is something I’ve been teaching for around 6 years now, and I’m more convinced of this than ever. Really it gets to the core of who we are: our identity. Identity is the core of who we are. It the question that every person has asked. Who am I? Where do I belong? What is my purpose in life?
In Jesus we are made sons and daughters of a deeply loving God. God has saved me, and therefore my utmost priority in life is not what I do for God, but rather who am I to God? Answer? I am saved, sanctified and sent by God. He has done, He is doing and He will do through me. I am never more loved by Him than I am right now.
Here’s Romans 8 to bring the point home:
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:37-39)
Really all this boils down to two things: I’m a sinner in need of a Savior. Whatever superiority I’ve believed myself to have is null and void before the cross – thank God for that. I am made free to serve Him without the chains of human history. I am made free to give up whatever privilege or rights I’ve grown accustomed too. I am made free to live in a better culture, a Kingdom culture that invites ALL cultures to sit together before His thrown, where one day we may join the Four Living Creatures and sing (in our various tongues, of course): Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty. Who Was, And Is, And Is To Come.
Soli Deo Gloria