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Chain Breaker p.3

This last segment of our chain breaker devotionals has been a weighty process in thinking, comprehension, belief, and writing. The writing has been particularly tricky because it is hard to write about things you are not sure of. Or rather, something that you still struggle to believe and accept is hard to convey. When this post is over… you may not have a neatly gift-wrapped gift of an answer. At least it may not feel that way. It certainly doesn’t for me every time I come back to these questions and the resulting responses. Sometimes these answers that I receive from God are so comforting and reassuring. Then other times, those same answers produce a cyclone of violent emotions that have no beginning and no end. It’s just loud winds and the destructive trail left behind. Still, it’s time to break out of these chains and the prison that systemic racism has on us. Let’s go for a ride in the cyclone. But remember, Christ is our shelter in the storm. So while we’re riding the winds, know that God has us in the eye of it. Through it all, we are safe in His perfect peace.

Chain Breaker pt. 3

A repeated argument that I have heard over the years is that “Christianity is the white man’s religion. It was just a construct used to keep the black slaves in check”. This argument was supported by the knowledge of a particular scripture used out of context. The scripture in question is Colossians 3:22a. “Servants obey in all things your masters.” This scripture was often used to justify the abuse of slaves and servants alike. From what I recall of history lessons, this scripture didn’t say “servants.” It said, “slaves.” The slaves that genuinely received God through Christ were fearful that they were not doing God’s will if they didn’t take the abuse and remain as slaves. Other slaves saw the injustice and slavery itself as a sound reason to want nothing to do with God at all, ever. Sadly, the latter is still the case today.

So lets dialogue about a couple of reasons that this usage is not the proper context and application for the mentioned scripture.

1) the slavery of American history is not biblically defined slavery. Meaning God did not and does not condone how African Americans and Americans of African descent were treated. The bible is clear about the parameters of servitude and slavery. This was not it. In biblical terms, slavery in American history is the definition of “menstealing.” This term is found in 1 Timothy 1:10. The concept of this term is referenced back to the book of Exodus 21:16- “and he that stealth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.” Or we can look to Deuteronomy 24:7 -“If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel; and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him; then that thief shall die, and thou shalt put evil away from among you.” Yowzah! That’s certainly not taught in history class! But what do we do with this? What does this teach us? It confirms that what was done to African Americans and Americans of African descent is in Gods eyes sinful, and therefore punishable by death. So if it is sinful, why would a Holy God tell his people to submit to or participate in it? In short: He wouldn’t, and He didn’t. 2)This historical application of Colossians 3:22a is out of context because of chapter 4:1- “Masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.” God addresses how the slave and servant are to serve their “master.” But, God also speaks to the masters and how they are to treat their servants and slaves. Let’s give a list of scriptures that address how masters are to treat their servants: •Ephesians 6:9 •Leviticus 25:35-55 •Jeremiah 22:13 •Exodus 21 & 22 The fact that Colossians 3:22a was used to justify the abuse and detrimental treatments of the slaves is in complete contradiction to the command in Colossians 4:1. The white slave owners only taught on “part” of the text. They twisted this part of scriptures to their gain and benefit. Which leads us promptly to point 3. 3) God is the final say of His word, not man, and our finite interpretations of it. Meaning, no matter how man misuses scripture, it is on us to read and learn God’s word for ourselves and to follow God’s word. This is commanded to us in 2 Timothy 2:15. We are told to study to show ourselves approved. When we stand before God, none of us will be able to say that we didn’t follow Him and His word because someone else did not teach it to us right. We will have to give an account for ourselves. Now understand, those who teach incorrectly, those who teach on a twisted scripture for gain, will also have to give an account. At the beginning and the end of this, God is God. He is sovereign, the first and final authority of all creation. He is the just and the justifier. (Romans 3:26)

God, being both just and the justifier, means that all the wrongs ever done He has named its price and paid the cost. I confess that this is where God has shown me I am stuck in my flesh. He has taught me; my heart lacks both love and understanding in this matter. Every time something negative happens between a black person and a white one in authority; my anger over history is rekindled. My lack of hope that there will ever be a difference meant that I did not fully trust God to avenge all sins and iniquities. Let’s be clear; God is not asking me or any other person that has known oppression and systemic hardship to put our head in the sand and ignore it. He is telling us that there is no payment a man can make to repay the hurt they have afflicted. This is why we were all once stuck in slavery to sin without hope. We owed a debt that we could not pay. But Jesus could, and He did. We often sing in church; “Jesus paid it all. All to Him, I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain. He washed it white as snow.” Jesus. Paid. It all. My pastor has often said the old adage: “all means all, and that all “all” means.” So if Jesus paid it all, then history is covered. Those white slave owners, and the ones who stood idly by knowing all that was happening, God has taken care of that. Like you and I today, they either accepted Christ and allowed him to take that sin debt. Or, they died in their sins and will spend eternity in hell away from God. This is not merely because they were cruel slave owners. But because they like everyone else was born in sin and needed a savior. However, they died without having accepted one. They chose to keep their sin debt, and therefore are now paying the price.

God has humbled me in reminding me through scripture that my people are not the first to face injustice. We are not the first people to have our blood stain the ground and call out to Him for vengeance. Scripture also tells us that my people, my black community, will not be the last. My life as an American of African descent I was born into. I have no evidence to suggest that we choose which culture we will be born into before our life here on Earth starts. But there is a choice of which eternity I will live in after I die. That choice is made by us in the here and now, and scripture tells us that some who have chosen a life with Christ will be oppressed and persecuted for that. They will be killed for that choice, just as surely as some black people have been killed for no other reason than they were black. God is aware of this. He knows it is coming, just as He knew manstealing in and for America would happen. He has named the price and paid the cost. He hears the blood that was shed and someday will be. He knows, He cares, and He has it handled already.

Every day, and every time something happens, we have to ask: Do I trust that Jesus has paid it all? That the chains of sin have been broken by Him?

Scriptures showing God Knows •Genesis 4 •Genesis 20 •2 Corinthians 5:17 •Revelation 6 •John 3:16 •John 3 •Revelation 20:14-15

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