Beginning with the End in Mind
There is one goal for sharing what is written below…that race will cease to be a barrier to the fellowship of true believers in the Body of Christ. The Lord came to remove all barriers that separate His people. He has made the provision but it is up to us to receive it and apply it to our lives. We are living in a time where the Body of Christ must be the light shining out of darkness. Jesus our Lord told us that all men would know that we are His disciples by the love we have for one another (John 13:35). That is the light the world needs to see. A people totally separated from this world who selflessly give themselves over to be used by God to save the lost. A Body that is joined together with no cholesterol that would prohibit the flow of the Holy Spirit so that we rise up in power to defeat the devil and set captives free. It’s time to let go of racial identity in this world in order to experience the fullness of who we are in Christ Jesus.
Colossians 3:11- 15
…Put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
An Exhortation for the Integration Generation
I was talking with a group of friends about forgiveness and someone made the following statement, “You know you haven’t really forgiven someone when memories or recollections of hurtful events can still draw raw emotions to the surface.” Those raw emotions are a telltale sign that the wound is still bleeding and healing has not taken place. God can actually be trying to heal the wound. But, every time we recount the stories of what happened to us or continue to watch movies and films that incite anger and hurt we snatch the scab away.
There are many who have experienced very real, traumatic, and life-altering experiences simply because of the color of their skin. When people talk about the Civil Rights Era or what it was like to be among the first black students to integrate a school…you can hear and see that emotion bubble to the surface. The wound is still raw. Am I saying that we ignore injustices and experiences like they never happened? Of course not. The wounds are real. But, we must allow God’s healing balm to set us free from the emotional and spiritual bondage that such trauma causes. True healing takes away the sting of the wound. You may have a scar…but the wound should not still be bleeding.
What is the first step to healing? Forgiveness. The Lord says that if we do not forgive the sins of others He will not forgive us. We recite the Lord’s prayer over ourselves saying, forgive us our trespasses, even as we forgive those that trespass against us. All the while, so many of us carry unforgiveness, contempt, and bitterness in our hearts. How can you tell if unforgiveness is there? Just listen to what is said. Listen for the hurt and rejection. Listen for the bitterness.
The Bitterness of Blackspeak
Listen to the conversation at the next get-together or family dinner. How much of that conversation is dominated by blackspeak? What is the defining characteristic of blackspeak? Blackspeak is punctuated by bitterness and unforgiveness. “They just doing this to Obama because he is black.” (Never mind that what Obama stands for is diametrically opposed to the Word of God.) “They don’t want us to have nothing.” “They can’t stand to see a black person get ahead….” “They, they, they….” Blackspeak is dangerous. It makes us comfortable justifying our own disobedience to the Word of God by focusing on the wrongdoings of others. The Lord said to forgive those who trespass against you. He put no qualifiers on that statement.
Ephesians 4:31 says to let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice…
The Greek meanings of these words accurately describe the condition in the hearts of many when it comes to racial issues. Here are just a few.
Wrath – passion, angry, heat, anger forthwith boiling up and soon subsiding again
Clamour – a crying, outcry, tumult in grief, wailing of those in distress
Evil speaking – slander, detraction, speech injurious, to another’s good name (i.e. “they” being a generic group that includes all white people including those who are true born-again believers).
In Hebrews 12:15, the Bible says that a root of bitterness causes trouble and many are defiled by it.
Resentment is another word for bitterness. Resentment is defined as bitterness at having been treated unfairly or from experiencing injustice. There are a lot of emotions that tag along with bitterness including disappointment, disgust, sadness, rejection, and etc. The Word of God describes bitterness as a root. That means something is going to grow up out of those feelings of resentment and that other people will be defiled by the fruit that it produces. This bitterness is passed down from generation to generation in the guise of remembering where you came from and remembering your history. The truth of the matter is that remembering history is very different from re-living experiences and emotions. I can acknowledge the history of black people in America without having the emotional chains tug at my heart each time slavery or the Jim Crow South is discussed. For some, this very statement is tantamount to a form of black folk blasphemy. In reality, it is the very essence of true freedom in Christ Jesus.
Blackspeak was made glaringly obvious to me when a non-black person became a member of my extended family. The dinner conversation changed. It took a couple family gatherings and some awkward moments but the blackspeak slowly disappeared when that relative was around. It was then that I realized just how abnormal it is to always talk about what it is to be black or the black experience (however you want to define it). It’s not just abnormal…it’s bondage. The moment I let any perspective or experience shape how I view life or another person I disallow the work of Christ in my life. How can God use me to save the white person sitting next to me on my job if I can’t relate to him or her as a person because of deep-seated prejudice, unforgiveness, and bitterness in my heart against white people? I can’t. These things are spiritual barriers that must be confronted, confessed, and repented of.
We are not called to think like a black person or view life from a black person’s perspective – we are called to have the mind of Christ (Romans 12:1-2 and 15:6; 1 Corinthians 1:10 and 2:16; Philippians 1:27 and 2:5). Christ came that we might have power to overcome every worldly limitation. To overcome does not mean to simply cope with life. The life of the overcomer is being seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus where my race has no bearing on who I am in Him.
Unbelief Bars the Promised Land
I was raised to be proud of who I was as a black person, to know my history, where black people came from, and to appreciate the past. I studied black history from a very young age and continued through college. By the time I got to college, I was convinced that Jesus indeed was a black man and black people had some kind of specialized spirituality when it came to God that had been forged in us through hundreds of years of oppression and bondage.
All that began to change when I was born-again. Everything about being “black” became secondary and ultimately inconsequential. I would sit in those same classes in college and could feel the shift within myself…when people talked about black issues and being black I didn’t have much to say and even felt somewhat off-kilter. I didn’t realize what was happening then but old things were truly passing away. All that black consciousness began to fade away into nothingness.
Even though I knew in my mind that being black had no bearing on my salvation and life as a Christian, the Lord continues to show me over the years just how deep that bondage can be. For several years, even after salvation, I could not settle in my heart why it seemed that black people were treated so badly everywhere in the world. I would ask the Lord, why is it that no one likes black people? Why do black people always seem to get the short end of the stick? One day, the answer came that instantly gave me perfect peace. I was expecting some earthly focused answer that explained why black people as a group were targeted in this country (and elsewhere) but that is not the answer that came. Instead, the Lord focused me on who He was and His faithfulness.
It doesn’t matter how bad the injustice or how complete the oppression over a group of people…the Lord takes care of His own. Those born-again believers who were enslaved, or experienced the Jim Crow south, or lived under any other oppressive worldly, satanic system were not defined by their situations or circumstances because their lives were governed by the Lord. Once I focused on God’s faithfulness perfect peace came in this area. I believe this was made real to me when I was visiting the Texas state museum. There was an exhibit there on slavery. One of the profiles included a newly freed slave whose former owner had given them a house and land after the Civil War. As I read this story, I got the deep impression that this was the favor of the Lord on this person’s life. No matter what is going on with the world systems, no matter the time, or the place…the Lord is faithful. There is always a remnant of believers. He takes care of His own.
I realize now that asking those questions was a sign of my own unbelief and lack of understanding in who God truly is and the promises of His Word. Once I truly believed that He is faithful, that He is well able to do exceeding, abundantly above what we can ask or think, my heart entered into the rest of the Lord. As long as we focus on earthly situations and circumstances instead of receiving the heavenly vision of God the Father, we will remain bound.
A parallel can be seen in the children of Israel. They were slaves in Egypt for 400 years. God delivered them all out of slavery but only 2 of that original generation went into the promised land. All of the others (estimates of 1-2 million people) died in the wilderness and never entered into the fullness of the promise. The generation that was born in the wilderness, those that had not known Egypt, was the generation to take the promised land.
The Bible tells us that the first generation did not enter in because of unbelief (Hebrews 3:17-19). What undermined their belief? Even though they were set free physically, they continued to identify with their experience as slaves in Egypt. They held onto the memories. They recalled what it was like in Egypt. Even as God manifested supernatural power among them and gave them victories they never let go of their worldly identity to lay hold of their God-ordained destiny. While Joshua and Caleb continuously looked forward to the promise, everyone else was continuously looking back to Egypt. In looking back to Egypt, they never received the fullness of what God had laid before them – the promised land. For believers, the promised land represents the promise of the Spirit. The promise that a life in Christ is lived above the limitations of worldly labels and systems in order to manifest the power of God in our generation.
Let this be a sobering example for us. There are many Christians that the Lord is calling to enter into the promise of the Spirit. However, unbelief – rooted in bondage to earthly identities and experiences – is barring them from the promised land.
A Prayer for Healing and Release
Healing and forgiveness is not easy. You may even find it difficult to say the prayer below out loud. Don’t give in to emotion. Focus on Jesus and his word. His grace is supplied to do the rest.
–I repent for allowing racial identity to have preeminence in my life over the Word of God. I repent for all acts, thoughts, words, and emotions related to unforgiveness, bitterness, prejudice, and racism whether consciously or unconsciously held.
–I forgive all individuals and families that held my ancestors as slaves and pray that those of their lineage come to know the saving power of the Lord Jesus Christ. I break the power of any curses put on the bloodlines of white families by my ancestors through hoodoo, root-working, voodoo, or any other satanic activity.
–I forgive any incidences of rape, pedophilia, molestation, and any other form of sexual trauma. I forgive any white ancestors in my bloodline for rape, incest, and other ungodly unions. I break the power of any resulting generational curses causing sexual perversion including fornication, adultery, incest, masturbation, whoredoms, homosexuality, lesbianism, sodomy, and any other sexual behavior outside of the will of God. I break the power of any generational curses causing babies to be born out of wedlock, the breakdown of the family, and the breakdown of marriages.
–I forgive all individuals that perpetrated terror and acts of violence against me, my family, my ancestors, and community. I forgive all acts of discrimination and injustice past and present. I release all these things knowing that Jesus took on the ultimate injustice when He died as an innocent man to pay the penalty for my sins. He experienced the ultimate rejection that I might be accepted by the Father through Him. He was hated and despised that I might be reconciled to God. In honor of His sacrifice and in obedience to the word of God, I choose this day to forgive.
–I release all bitterness against white people and American society past and present for injustices against me, my family members, ancestors, and community.
–I renounce all emotional bondage, hyper-sensitivity to racial issues, black consciousness, and deep seated prejudice whether unconsciously or consciously held. I yield my emotions to the Holy Spirit, turn my focus and mind to heavenly things, and pray for the cleansing of my heart.
Thank you Lord for the power of your cleansing blood, for healing, and for the ability to love and forgive so that I may be free to be led by the Spirit and fulfill your perfect will for my life.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I am reminded of a song we used to sing at the church I grew up in.
I am free, praise the Lord, I’m free.
No longer bound, no more chains holding me!
My soul is resting, it’s such a blessing
Praise the Lord, Hallelujah I’m free!
God bless you.