Jesus’ Cure to the Racial Divide

On July 18, 2016, I had the opportunity to speak with Melissa Pellew on the Bellator Christi Podcast.1 We addressed the racial divide that has plagued our nation. During our conversation, I was reminded of the lesson I shared with the kids at a local church. The children were diverse in their ethnicities ranging from white, black, to Latino. I shared with them the story found in John chapter 4 where Jesus met the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well.

In that encounter, Jesus broke several barriers. One, Jesus broke a racial barrier that existed between Samaritans and Jews. Two, Jesus broke a gender barrier as Jewish rabbis normally did not speak to women. Three, Jesus broke the barriers of tradition. Fourth and most importantly, Jesus broke the sin barrier as He forgave the woman of her sins. But as we look at the issues of our time, we also see that Jesus’ encounter offers a cure to the divisions that ail us. Jesus’ approach serves as an excellent model to provide healing and reconciliation.

jacobs well.jpg
Actual Jacob’s well in Samaria.

Listen to the concerns of the person.

Jesus practiced good listening skills. While He was God and knew fully the situation at hand, Jesus still allowed the woman to speak. He heard her concerns and did not dismiss her. Jesus asked the woman for a drink. He listened as she timidly asked, “How is it that you a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria” (John 4:9).2 Jesus also listened to the woman as she exclaimed “Our fathers worship on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship” (John 4:20). Listening is an activity that has greatly been lost. To provide healing, we must first listen to the problems that are on the table. Those issues may be sensitive. Those issues may make us uncomfortable. Nevertheless, when we listen to another person, even if we vehemently disagree with that person, we demonstrate respect to that person.

Create a relationship with the person.

Christianity is relationship-based. Melissa and I discussed on the podcast that people often segregate and divide because of the lack of knowledge of those who may differ from them. Melissa noted that a person should not simply befriend someone to proudly say, “I have a black friend” or “I have a white friend.” Rather, a person should desire to befriend others for the sake of the person, not for selfish pride. Jesus demonstrated such behavior with the Samaritan woman. The woman was shocked that Jesus spoke to her (John 4:9). The disciples were equally surprised that Jesus was speaking with a Samaritan (John 4:27). Jesus did not think to Himself, “This person is a Samaritan. I will befriend her so that I can tell the folks back home that I have a Samaritan friend.” No! Rather, Jesus saw her for who she really was. She was a person who needed salvation, a person who had been excluded from her community. She was a woman who had a horrid past and a displeasurable present condition.

Forgive the failures of the past and present.

The Samaritan woman had a past. She was a woman who had been married five times and was currently living with a man (John 4:16-19). Coming to the well when she did demonstrates that she was an outcast as “women were more likely to come in groups to fetch water.”3 Jesus could have easily condemned her, saying, “You have a past, so I don’t want you in my kingdom.” Rather, Jesus forgave her past and transformed her present.

As a Caucasian Christian, I do not know the struggles that black Christians have faced. When I drove a school bus, I remember the friendship I had with a black Christian man. We spoke about different issues. I remember him telling me about his return from war in Vietnam only to be disallowed entrance to a restaurant in the South because of his skin color. From what he and other black Christians have told me, the struggle is real. It also must be noted that racism comes in all forms and fashions. Thus, discrimination against all whites because of what a few white people have done is just as racist as discrimination against a black person, Latino, or otherwise for what a few in the particular group has done. The same logic applies to police officers. A few bad cops do not mean that all cops are bad. By the way, such accusations are not only morally wrong, they also represent a logical fallacy–the fallacy of composition/division, i.e., judging the whole by the part.

While I have never been in the situations that my black Christian friends have faced, I do know what it is like to be hurt. I know what it is like to feel demeaned and unwanted. I know what it is like to feel like an outcast. From those experiences, I know firsthand the choice all of us face: forgiveness or bitterness. Forgiveness is extremely difficult, but for the Christian it is commanded. Jesus said, “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses” (Mark 11:25). In the end, a person can find healing in Christ’s forgiveness or can continue down the path of hate-driven bitterness. This is true for a person regardless of the amount of pigment one’s skin carries.

Acknowledge the present problems.

Jesus did not cower and did not waver. Jesus acknowledged the problems that the woman faced and the differences in the traditions that Samaritans and Jews held. For many, it is easier to pretend that the current problems are not real. While I did not agree with the caller on our latest show on all points that he made, I would concede that we cannot pretend that there are no current race-related problems. Like Jesus, we must not cower and waver. We must stand firm, choosing to love our neighbors as ourselves (a pretty important commandment in Matthew 22:39). As Melissa stated on our podcast, “It is time for the church to take the lead on racial matters and provide reconciliation.”4

Provide biblical answers.

Lastly, Jesus did not avoid the problems. Instead, Jesus confronted the issues that the Samaritan woman presented and provided biblical answers to those problems. As Christians we have the answers to the problems our nation faces. We know that God is sovereign and will provide justice in due time. God created all of us in His image, thus illustrating that the life of every human being matters regardless of race. The biblical worldview also incorporates the understanding that heaven will consist of all nationalities and ethnicities. John writes, “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb'” (Revelation 7:9-10)!

Conclusion

For the Christian, there is no reason for us to commit to violence. Christianity’s sole message is about love and peace. We must remember that “God is not a God of confusion but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33). Satan is the one who seeks to “steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10). Therefore, the primary message of this article is found in Paul’s great word of encouragement: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). Let us pray for peace, love, and understanding.

© July 18, 2016. Brian Chilton.

Revelation 79 [widescreen]

Sources Cited

1 Melissa Pellew, interviewed by Brian Chilton, “Healing the Racial Divide (with Melissa Pellew),” The Bellator Christi Podcast (July 18, 2016), http://www.blogtalkradio.com/pastorbrianchilton/2016/07/18/healing-the-racial-divide-with-melissa-pellew.

2 Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture comes from the English Standard Version (Wheaton: Crossway, 2001).

3 D. A. Carson, The Gospel according to John, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans, 1991), 217.

4 Pellew, “Healing the Racial Divide (with Melissa Pellew), Bellator Christi Podcast.

Advertisements

Jesus–the Barrier Breaker

Recently, I heard the racial remarks made by a principal of a private school during the graduation ceremonies in Georgia. The most troubling matter, to this writer, was not only that a principal allowed herself to spout forth racial comments during what was supposed to be a celebration, but it was that this episode occurred in a church with a big bold cross standing behind her. One may question what all transpired during the meeting. But the episode proves that unfortunately, racism is alive and well in our modern times—much more than individuals would like to presuppose.

However, when an individual evaluates the life of Christ Jesus, one will find that Jesus was a barrier breaker. Jesus consistently broke barriers. In John’s Gospel, one will find a particular episode where Jesus spoke with a woman at the well. In this case, Jesus broke at least five barriers.

1.     Jesus: the Barrier Breaker of Race.

The apostle John denotes that Jesus “came to a city of Samaria called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph; and Jacob’s well was there. So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well” (John 4:5-6a).[1] John also reports that “It was about noon” (John 4:6b, NIV).[2] Then, “There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, ‘Give Me a drink’” (John 4:7). The woman then said to Jesus, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman” (John 4:9)?

The woman asked why Jesus would even address her. Why? The woman inquired this of Jesus because there existed racial tensions between Jews and Samarians. Jews remained purebred, whereas the Samaritans stemmed from a mixture of Jewish and Assyrian bloodlines. Many Jews did not have any dealings with Samaritans because of this great racial divide. Jesus, however, demonstrated that He is no respecter of persons, meaning that “there is no partiality with God” (Romans 2:11). Jesus does not distinguish between a person who is of a darker and/or a lighter complexion. As the children’s song states, “Jesus loves the little children—red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.” If Jesus makes no distinction between races, then why in the world should we???

2.     Jesus: the Barrier Breaker of Religion.

The woman at the well challenged Jesus with another barrier that existed between her people and the Jews. She said, “Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem” (John 4:20, NIV). Jesus corrected this problem by noting that “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). Often different religious spectrums and backgrounds create barriers. However, in this case, Jesus breaks this barrier with truth. Various denominations focus on varying aspects of the faith. Nevertheless, one needs to understand the essential truths that comprise mere, or basic, Christianity. It seems to me that the time has come where Christians need to lower their minor denominational differences and elevate the core beliefs that comprise the Christian faith.

3.     Jesus: the Barrier Breaker of Socio-economics.

It is reasonable to posit that this woman was in many ways an outcast. The woman, as noted in John 4:17-18, had been married multiple times. She was probably an outcast in her society. The woman probably barely made it by on the funds that were provided to her. However, Jesus did not come to the most respected person of Sychar. Rather, Jesus came to one of the more despised of Sychar to preach the message of grace and truth to her. When accused of befriending those who were not the best and brightest of society, Jesus responded, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (John 9:12, NIV). While some only associate with the wealthiest and most successful, Jesus breaks such a barrier.

4.     Jesus: the Barrier Breaker of Gender.

When the disciples returned, John denotes that the “disciples…were amazed that He had been speaking with a woman” (John 4:27). Why were they amazed that Jesus would speak with a woman? It was due to the custom of the day. It was not proper for a man to speak with a woman in public. Yet, Jesus was not concerned about the traditions as much as He was concerned with the spiritual condition of the woman in question. Christ loves men and women. Salvation is not for men alone. Neither does this promote feminism—a thought process that tends to occasionally exclude men. Rather, Jesus is concerned with the spiritual condition of all people. It is for this reason that “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

 5.     Jesus: the Barrier Breaker of Sin.

Jesus did not “beat around the bush.” Jesus directly focused on the woman’s problem—sin. Jesus intentionally said to the woman, “Go and call your husband and come here” (John 4:16). The woman responded and said, “I have no husband” (John 4:17a). Jesus retorted, “You have correctly said, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly” (John 4:17b). How’s that for political correctness? Jesus exposed the problem. The woman repented, accepted a new life found in Christ’s grace and truth, and was even used as an spokesperson who helped bring the community to faith. Jesus broke down the barrier of sin, but He ultimately broke down the barrier of sin when He died upon the cross for the sin of the world. The apostle Paul notes that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-24). Paul also denotes that it is “by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Jesus broke these five barriers—and many more at that. Why then should a disciple of Christ seek to rebuild the barriers that Christ has torn down? Is such a one truly acting as a disciple of Christ? It behooves the Christian believer to tear down barriers of racism, expose the truth found in Christ (apologetics) and thereby tearing down the barriers of doubt and cynicism, to demonstrate impartiality to those more and less fortunate than ourselves, to keep from misogynist and feminist motifs that create unneeded strife between the sexes (note that egalitarianism and complementarianism issues are not being addressed here), and furthermore live with integrity and to preach the saving message of Christ. Like Jesus, we should be barrier breakers.

© May 2015. Brian Chilton.

[1] Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture comes from the New American Standard Bible (La Habra, CA: Lockman Foundation, 1995).

[2] Scriptures marked NIV come from the New International Version (Grand Rapids: Biblica, 2011).

Has the Dream Been Realized? Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

marchonwashington     Today (August 28th, 2013) marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.    Although it must be admitted that our society has advanced by great leaps and bounds, one must ask; has the dream been realized?  In this article, two of Dr. King’s emphases in his “I Have a Dream” speech will be examined as the question will be asked: has the dream been realized?

Kids Holding Hands

Dream of Equality

One of the core tenets of King’s speech was on the equality of all people of various races.  King stated, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” (King 1963, 5).  This is a biblical theme also.  Jesus said, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24).  Paul stated concerning the church, “The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:12-13, NLT).  James, the brother of Jesus, even wrote, “Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law” (James 2:8-9, NLT).  Therefore, Dr. King’s voice of equality was a very biblical message.  Are we where we should be in this regard?

We have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go.  In some regions, the role of race is not as much a factor as it is in others.  But, let us be honest.  There are still tensions.  Perhaps the passing of time will in the future mend the wounds suffered in the past.  In order for this to occur, people must be diligent in building bridges with others of different races.  Christians should lead the way.  The evangelical Christian should realize that God created all of us.  Yes, we all have weaknesses and faults.  But, we are all creations of God and have a purpose for being here.  This should help the Christian, of all people, to understand the necessity of loving others.  If a person is loved by God, who are we to act any differently?  Yes, if a person strays, kind-hearted corrections should be given with the best interest of the other in mind.  But, nothing should surpass the love that we are commanded to possess for people of all skin tones.  As the Gospel hymn is sung, “Red, yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight…Jesus loves the little children of the world” (Hymn: “Jesus Loves the Little Children,” Public Domain).  We are not there yet, but we should judge more by the “content of their character” (King 1963, 5) rather than the color of any person’s skin.

freedom

Dream of Freedom

King said, “When we allow freedom to ring when we let it ring from every city and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholic, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last, Free at last, Great God almighty, We are free at last” (King 1963, 6).  The area of freedom is one that brings great concern for many people today.  Are we still the “land of the free”?  Considering the fact that individuals are losing the right to publicly profess their faith, one must wonder whether the First Amendment rights of all Americans will stand after the next century has passed.

jesus-statue in Montana     In Montana, a statue of Jesus, which held significance for the veterans being commemorated, was challenged by the Freedom from Religion Foundation.  The American Center for Law and Justice reports, “Part of a war memorial on Big Mountain at Whitefish Mountain Resort in Montana since the 1950s, the statue was inspired by monuments the soldiers – who were also members of the Knights of Columbus – saw in the mountains of Europe during the war” (ACLJ, “ACLJ: Federal Court in Montana Keeps War Memorial in Place – “Win for Protecting Religious Heritage and History of our Nation”).  Is this really freedom?  It seems that we have taken a different turn than what Dr. King had imagined.  King said, “With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day” (King 1963, 5).  The great irony is, Dr. King, if living on earth today, might find that his dream of freedom was gained on the racial spectrum, but would be losing ground on the religious spectrum…the very fuel that sparked the fires of his bravery and fortitude.

Conclusion

A lot of good was done on August 28, 2013.  Dr. King reminded us of the great kinship that we all hold together.  We have many problems in our day and time.  The United States of America is more divided than ever before.  However, Dr. King reminded us then, as we need to be reminded now, that we are all creations of God.  Every life has a purpose and value.  The world may look at you as a loser.  You may have been called a mistake.  But, God sees you as a winner.  God sees the person you could be.  Despite the differences that many possess, let us be reminded of the value of life as we celebrate the work and message of Dr. King.  For Dr. King reminded us of what the Christian should have already seen…that every person of every race is made “imagio dei” (in the image of God).  As God told Samuel, “The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7, NLT).  As the realm of freedom is addressed, may it be reminded to the reader that true freedom comes through a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  Paul writes, “Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death” (Romans 7:24b-8:2, NLT).

free-in-christ

Seeking to love all…red, yellow, black, and white,

Pastor Brian

Bibliography

ACLJ, “ACLJ: Federal Court in Montana Keeps War Memorial in Place – “Win for Protecting Religious Heritage and History of our Nation”, (ACLJ.org, June 25, 2013). Accessed August 28, 2013. <http://aclj.org/american-heritage/jay-sekulow-aclj-federal-court-in-montana-keeps-war-memorial-in-place-win-for-protecting-religious-heritage-history-of-nation>.

King, Martin Luther, Jr. “I Have a Dream,” Washington DC. March on Washington, delivered on August 28th, 1963.  Accessed August 28th, 2013. <http://www.archives.gov/press/exhibits/dream-speech.pdf>.

New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995.

Tyndale House Publishers, Holy Bible: New Living Translation, 3rd ed. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2007.

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

Click here to hear the “Redeeming Truth” show on the same topic

 

What’s Love Got to Do with It?

Pastor Brian Chilton

Tina Turner popularized the song “What’s Love Got to Do with It” in the 80s.  Turner asks a good question.  What does love have to do with our lives?  For the Christian, it has everything to do with everything.  We are preparing for Valentine’s Day.  Many view love according to the Greek term “eros.”  “Eros” or “erotic” love is a sensual, sexual type of love.  But that is not the ultimate type of love.  Some feel that love is in the form of brotherly love in order of the Greek term “phileo.”  But that is not the ultimate form of love.  The New Testament writers recorded the words of Jesus with the term “agape.”  “Agape” love is unconditional love.  It is not an emotional love, but a love of choice.  This form of love effects every aspect of the Christian’s life.  As we examine love, it would behoove us to look at what has been called the “Love Chapter,” 1 Corinthians 13.

What’s Love Got to Do with…Politics?

Many evangelical Christians are engaged in politics, and rightfully so.  Politics affects everything we do in our nation.  But, we must remember that our first responsibility lies in our heavenly citizenship.  I am staunchly against abortion.  I believe that abortion is murder.  However, if I lose the love that I have for those who committed the crime, I have lost my center of focus.  Let’s read what Paul says in the opening part of I Corinthians 13.

“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;* but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.”Tyndale House Publishers, Holy Bible: New Living Translation, 3rd ed. (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2007), 1 Co 13:1–3.

I am afraid that in our effort to stand against what is wrong, we have failed to show what is right.  I firmly believe that we must stand for truth.  However, if we lose the love that God has commanded us, we have become off-centered from authentic Christian faith.  Liberalism and legalism is two opposite ends of the same beast.  Liberalism occurs when a person focuses on love with no truth.  Legalism occurs when a person focuses on truth with no love.  They are both equally dangerous.  The Christian should be both “salt” and “light,” standing for truth and love.  We need to do this ESPECIALLY in the realm of politics.  Remember, we are ambassadors for Christ first.

What’s Love Got to Do with…Apologetics?

Apologetics is a rational defense of the faith.  To be an apologist means that you defend the faith.  This exercise focus on the intellect and mind.  However, if one fails to speak to the heart with love and compassion, you will lose the impact of what you are seeking to do.  Paul continues…

4 “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” Tyndale House Publishers, Holy Bible: New Living Translation, 3rd ed. (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2007), 1 Co 13:4–7.

We can win a person’s mind, but if we don’t win their hearts, have we really won?  Unfortunately, I have witnessed on Facebook and YouTube many debates that have gotten ugly on the Christian’s part.  He or she will win the battle intellectually, but will lose the war.  If we choose to engage in debate, we must not only prepare our minds, but also our hearts and spirits.

I know it is difficult.  95% of the time an atheist will begin to insult the intelligence of a believer, especially if they are stuck in a corner.  It is natural for the believer to strike back with great ferocity.  Is that loving our enemies?  I know it is difficult, but we are commanded to show love to all.  As Dr. William Lane Craig once said in an interview, “We should not try to win arguments, but seek to win souls.”

What’s Love Got to Do with…Church?

Church should be the most loving place a person could attend.  Is it always?  Not really.  Many churches display the love of Christ in a powerful way.  This is not to say that problems won’t arise.  We are all still sinners saved by grace.  Yet, many churches do not show the love of Christ.  One church in particular that comes to mind is the Independent Baptist church known as Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas.  If you base Christianity on Westboro Baptist, it would be like basing your opinion of a NASA rocket by a paper model of a rocket.  The paper rocket may claim to be a rocket, but it has no power because it is not real.  When a church focuses their attention on hate instead of love, that church ceases to be an institution of Christ.  Christ told us that the two great commandments were to love God and love our fellow man.  Those commandments take precedence over all others.  Jesus even told the disciples that He gave them a new command…to love one another as He loves us.  How is it loving to focus one’s attention on how God hates individuals?  Let me add, that yes we should stand for truth and justice.  But, don’t lose your focus of love while doing so.  Paul continues…

8 “Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages* and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! 9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.”  Tyndale House Publishers, Holy Bible: New Living Translation, 3rd ed. (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2007), 1 Co 13:8–10.

God has given us all gifts.  We should use them to the fullest of our abilities.  However, we should never seek to worship or receive worship for our efforts.  Only one person should receive worship: the Triune God.  No one else.  I would dare say that it is when a person takes his or her eyes off of Jesus and places it on another that it is then when problems begin to arise.

What’s Love Got to Do with…Personal Living?

Paul continues…

“When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.* All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” Tyndale House Publishers, Holy Bible: New Living Translation, 3rd ed. (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2007), 1 Co 13:11–13.

“Childish things”…what are those things to which Paul refers?  The word “nephios” refers to an “infant” or one who is untrained.  This coincides with Paul’s thought in the latter part of the passage when he speaks of seeing things clearly.  What are some childish things that we cling to while seeking to obey Christ?  Racial prejudices, self gratification, and selfish motives are just a few.  Let me remind everyone that heaven will be filled with people from all generations and with people from all walks of life.  White people, black people, Native Americans, Indians, Latinos, Arabs, Jews, Russians, along with a multiplicity of other nationalities will be there.  Let me also remind everyone that Jesus was Jewish.  Since He was outdoors quite a bit and due to His olive complexion, Jesus may have been dark skinned.  This is in stark contrast to the pasty, anemic Jesus you see in many Christian films.  If Jesus were pale skinned, that would be fine.  If Jesus had a complexion as dark as night, that would be fine.  For Jesus, whatever skin tone He possessed, gave us life eternal.  He taught us how to love.  That transcends the childish preferences of skin color that some still maintain.

It may be that the “childish things” are other issues in your life.  Whatever the case, may I challenge you to love the way Jesus commanded you by simply giving Him your “childish ways”?

                                                        

Conclusion:

As Tina asked, “What’s love got to do…got to do with it?”  Well, love is NOT a second hand emotion.  Love, for the Christian, is the focal point of his or her life.  The love of God and the love of humanity should flood every Christian’s life.  If we were to focus on this tremendous truth this Valentine’s Day and beyond, maybe would would see a change in our culture.  Maybe then, everyone would truly know how love has everything to do with everything.