Let me begin by saying that I am no authority on urban problems. I know very little when it comes to all the details concerning our cities, but I have lived in or near the “ghetto” for the past 15 years and these years have made an impression on me.
The Christian claims to be a special person, special because he is a child of God. His life has been transformed from a life of sin to a life of love and perfect obedience through Christ. We say we have the love of God in our hearts and I believe that we do. But, all too often we find that old man of sin forcing his way into our hearts causing God’s love to be forced to the background. This is never more apparent in our attitudes than with respect to the Black man in our society.
In this city and, I suppose, elsewhere, we have been indoctrinated with propaganda to cause us to look down on the Black man. The older generation, by often referring to the Black race as an inferior one, has in effect caused our attitudes to become the same. Whether we are willing to admit it or not we are prejudiced toward Blacks and many other minority groups. Through most of our lives we came to believe that most Blacks followed the pattern of being drunk, lazy and responsible for the increase in crime. Their homes are wrecks but look at the cars they drive and of course they all own a TV set. Blacks, like other people, are concerned with prestige. They are no different than a white person except for their background and heritage. But unlike the whites they have been forced to take a passive role rather than an active one as most whites enjoy.
It is time that we as Christians realize what has happened in our country. The Black man through no fault of his own is seen as an outsider and often as a rebel. He is being forced to use force to make his demands met. We should begin to love our neighbor regardless if he is black or white. It isn’t an easy thing to turn around and begin to love someone whom you haven’t loved before. But because we have the love of God in our hearts we can make a small beginning. I feel that because the world doesn’t have this love of God they can never begin to love the Black man as the Christian can. This is quite evident in this country because of the lack of progress in the area of civil rights. Unregenerated man can love nobody but himself.
You must remember that I am not saying that the Church become active in the field of civil rights, but rather that Christians as individuals become involved. It is amazing how apathetic a Christian can become. He goes to Church on Sunday and for the rest of the week, he seems entirely content to sit back and watch the world in which he has been created fall apart. Of course we know that the end is coming and that these are signs of the times, but this is hardly an excuse for us to sit back and wait for the return of Christ. Man is an active creature. He cannot be content to become a person who isn’t involved.
Today more than ever the Christian must let his light shine. A Christian must be willing to become active in urban problems, including the Black problem. The Christian is the only one in God’s creation who can love as Christ has told us, because he has the love of Christ in his heart.
I realize, of course, that by writing this article I won’t change our long conceived attitudes overnight. The Christian is constantly in a struggle with the Devil who often times comes out on top of the struggle. All we can do is try to live the lives God has commanded for us. Put a little love in your heart.
Originally Published in:
Vol. 29 No. 10 February 1970