Saturday, January 9, 2016

Segregated No More - Martin Wiles

For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when… he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. Ephesians 2:14 NLT

As a child, the only color difference I knew about was what my parents taught me and what I noticed in a box of Crayola crayons. 

When I was in the fifth grade, our family moved to Jackson, Tennessee. For the first time, I saw a person of color. I didn’t understand the word segregation, nor did I ever wonder why there were no people of color in my classrooms. 

In the 1960’s, my hometown was a hotbed of racial tension, but I didn’t understand why. I simply knew the National Guard was called in, bricks were being thrown through car windows, certain areas of town were under curfew, and several local college students had been killed by the police. I knew the town had a bowling alley, but little did I know the owner refusing to let people of color in would start a riot that would eventually lead to a book entitled The Orangeburg Massacre. There was a wall of separation.  

Prior to Christ’s coming, Gentiles were considered beyond saving in the eyes of most Jewish people. Much like African Americans and other minority groups were in the eyes of many people. But Jesus shone the love of God the Father for all people. He went to the rejected, the scorned, the shunned, and the avoided. He taught that God loved all people equally. 

Fortunately, I grew up in a home where my parents and grandparents taught me to love all people. Color wasn’t important, nor was social standing. God created them all: red and yellow, black and white. They were all precious in his sight. 

Only people see the differences that divide us in reality: skin color, race, class, culture. Since God loves all regardless of any of the preceding, I should as well. I’ve made that my life’s goal and taught my children to do the same. If Christ loved so much that he would die for all people, how can I possibly love any less? 

Let God’s love for you break down any walls of segregation you’ve built. 

Prayer: Father, may we see all people as You do: worthy of love and capable of doing great things in Your kingdom.

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