My father was born in the Jim Crow South in 1929. He grew up sitting in the back of the bus and drinking from the “colored” water fountain. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1947 and fought in the Korean War. He still had to sit in the back of the bus and drink from the “colored” water fountain.
When our family moved from Massachusetts to Texas in the late 1960s, we stopped at the Pennsylvania border so he could change into his uniform before we drove through the southern states. The uniform was a signal to anyone who stopped us that someone would be looking for him if he failed to report to his duty station.
He achieved the highest rank possible for an enlisted soldier, but that didn’t exempt him from the sting and humiliation of racist remarks.
I thank God my life is different than his. I don’t share his story to evoke sympathy or disdain. I share his story to show how far we’ve come in race relations in this country. Too many times we focus on the problem in lieu of acknowledging the progress.
Do we have racist people in this country? Absolutely. Because we’ll always have sin in this country. But, are we a racist country? Absolutely not.
To leaders, that’s an important distinction. Often, we’re looked to for direction in reconciling racial differences. Everything we need to know about racial reconciliation is in the Bible. And it has nothing to do with being woke. We’re not commanded to be woke. We’re commanded to be biblical.
To achieve racial reconciliation, we just need to follow the Bible.
Paul tells us in Colossians 3 starting in Verse 1 “Since, then you have been raised with Christ, set your heart on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.” He continues in Verses 11-12: “Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all and is in all. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. And finally, in Verse 14, he says, “Overall these, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
As we love, we unify. As we unify, we glorify.
As leaders and speakers, we can set the example and lead others in glorifying God amidst racial strife.
Here are four ways leaders can unify and glorify:
- Stand for truth. Always.
Use God’s word to combat the prevailing narrative in our country and stand for truth. Satan is a liar. He seeks to divide and devour. Beginning in the Garden of Eden, Satan tries to convince God’s people of things that aren’t true. He wants to make us think something is wrong with us because of the color of our skin, whether we’re black or white. That’s why he says if you’re black, you’re a victim and if you’re white, you’re a racist. Neither is true. Leaders don’t fear speaking truth.
- Focus on the future, not the past.
In Christ, we look to the future. We shouldn’t allow anyone to direct our efforts to things in the past. We cannot change them, but we can learn from them. In the future, we have hope.
- Don’t make decisions based on popular culture or your conscience.
Popular culture and your conscience change. God’s Word does not.
- Don’t be fooled into thinking the fight is about race.
Race is a distraction which Satan is using to push an agenda that is anti-white, anti-American, and anti-God. It’s a military tactic called diversion: direct attention away from the real attack.
While we’re fighting about melanin–something we can’t change–he is quietly dismantling the nuclear family and erasing God from our society.
My father was not fooled by the diversion. He was a leader who stayed focused on the real battle. He knew our struggle is not against flesh and blood.
As leaders, let’s not be fooled by the distraction either.
Putting on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:12) will help us stay focused on the battle laid out before us. That’s how we’ll be able to endure and triumph.
Don’t make decisions based on what is happening around us.
Make decisions based on the love He has placed within us.