FROM YOUR PASTOR’S HEART January 16,2023
Today is “Martin Luther King, Jr. Day” in the United States. It commemorates the life and work of Dr. King, who was a Baptist minister and prominent leader in the civil rights movement. We are encouraged to use this day to reflect on the principles of racial equality and non-violent social change, which Dr. King encouraged. He dreamed of a day when his children “will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” I also share that dream!
The truth is that we, as a nation, needed to change our ways regarding race relations. As Christians, we know that the first step toward redemption is confession of our sins. And our nation, like every nation on earth, needed to acknowledge the errors of our ways. We are wrong to pass judgment on other people for any reason. God’s Word is clear: “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matthew 7:1). The reason we are not to be judges of one another is that we cannot see beyond the outward appearance, so we use that as the basis of our assessment. Yet, God looks upon the heart of man to judge him. He sees and knows the true nature of a man, whether he is good or evil. So, the Lord is the only one qualified to pass judgment.
I am happy to say that our nation has made some strides toward racial equity. We see proof of this in the church, as we welcome people of all nations, tribes and races into the faith family. Sadly, this was not always the case in America. I see signs of growth and racial reconciliation in Memphis every Monday, as we gather at Bellevue Baptist for Pastor’s Conference. Seated side-by-side, we represent the racial diversity of our city, as we worship in harmony the Christ who makes us one. There is still room for improvement in our interactions with people of different colors, nations and tongues. Yet, I am convinced that the Church must play a vital part in working towards mutual love and respect among all God’s children.
I have been criticized by some of the younger generation for saying that I am “color-blind” when it comes to people. They deem that as being disrespectful to “people of color.” What they fail to understand is that, in my heart, I see all people as the handiwork of God. Who am I to criticize the work of the Lord? Let us continue to work towards Dr. King’s dream and the Lord’s command, by not judging one another!
Serving in love, Bro. Jim