Ephesians 2:12-18, 31 In those days you were living apart from Christ . . . But now you have been united with Christ Jesus . . . For Christ himself has brought peace to us . . . he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us . . . He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death . . . Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us. . . We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord.
Perhaps, like me, you’ve been dismayed by reports of people slurring racial groups over the coronavirus pandemic. This behavior may be par for the course for people who don’t know Jesus, but for us who want to follow him, it indicate basic misunderstanding of the Gospel: Jesus’ love for the world—for all people everywhere—and the role of the cross in breaking down racial hostility.
I love Jesus and have been adopted into his big family (Eph 1:5). Anyone anywhere who loves Jesus is my adopted brother or sister. Jesus tells us over and over to love each other. As John records it, I count nine times Jesus said this in his last few days on earth.
In case that’s not enough, Jesus also tells us to love those we consider “enemies”: But I say, love your enemies! (Matthew 5:44); Love your enemies! Do good to them . . . Then you will truly be acting as children of the Most High (Luke 6:35).
So, any time we think, speak, or act in racially prejudicial ways, we are acting AGAINST Jesus, rather than for him.
Why am I making such a point about something so obvious? The church has a horrible history of hate and hurt rather than love. And it can be subtle. Someone makes a racial slur as a joke. We laugh because we want to be accepted in our crowd. And because it got a laugh, we repeat it somewhere else . . . It can be as contagious as the virus.
Let’s so anchor ourselves to Jesus and let our roots grow down deep into his love (Ephesians 3:17-19) that we can help heal the harm that has been done in God’s name, rather than adding to it. COVID-19 offers us one more opportunity to do just that. Let’s make love contagious!
One organization seeking to heal the wounds: bethebridge.com