7 Reasons Why My Faith, Not My Race, Comes First

By Laurel J. Davis
Originally posted in The Reluctant First Lady

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Comparatively, any stance I take as the mother of young Black males against the seemingly race-charged bloodshed of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Ezell Ford and Oscar Grant will not merit me entry into eternal life with God. Indeed, and with all due respect, even Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, President Obama, attorney Crump, Iyanla or the NAACP are no more able to save me from my sins than Sarah Palin, any news anchor on Fox, or the Ku Klux Klan are able to condemn me to hell. I'm not accusing Palin or anybody on Fox as being racists. I'm just trying to make the strong point that only Jesus saves (and condemns), and just like He doesn't care that I'm Black, I don't care that He's not.

Faith Before Race Reason #3: What God Commands
The Lord's commandments and instructions to us say nothing about what we are to do with respect to individual racial heritage or culture. We are not instructed one way or the other to stand up for our rights as Black people (or White people, or any color of people).

Now, plenty of commandments do relate in varying ways to social justice. But these are more often in the sense of keeping your own self in check: you be kind, you be fair, you judge righteously, you put the needs of others before your own, you consider yourself lest you also be tempted, you don't forsake the assembling together, you confess, you forgive, you put away with all malice all envy, strife, evil speaking, etc.

On top of that, the commandments to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:39) and to do unto others as we would want them to do unto us (Matthew 7:12) can be applied to modern issues of race — not to focus on race but rather to motivate us to not focus on it. These instructions presuppose that such things as race should be at most a secondary concern in the attitude and life of a Christian. How can I love you or treat you like I want to be loved or treated if either one of us is distracted by what makes us different from each other?

Instead, I should focus on my faith, which teaches me to love people regardless of race and allows me to be free to take a stand against racial and social injustice in a way that glorifies Christ without fear of disappointing (i.e., being called an Uncle Tom by) other Black folks.

Faith Before Race Reason #4: What Really Solves Problems
The fight for racial equality and social justice won't solve society's biggest woes. Speaking as a Black person and the mother of young Black males, yes, let's keep bringing attention to the undeniable fact that racism brews in this country, let's better train our kids and our cops on what to do in law enforcement situations, let's improve our laws, let's bring greater accountability, let's promote positivity in our communities. Fighting for these worthwhile things can bring practical change for the better.

But speaking as a Christian, fighting for racial equality and social justice in and of itself won't improve marriages, it won't deliver your child from drugs and alcohol, it won't heal you from cancer, and it won't stop racists from being racist, bad cops from being bad, and law breakers from breaking the law.

Most of all, it won't bring Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Ezell Ford or Oscar Grant back to life. Will it help to prevent more undeserved killings? Certainly, and it's a real hope that I share as a Black person, a mother and a Christian. I can't imagine any of my kids dying that way. Protest rallies and marches for that cause right there, are worth it.

But my faith reminds me, there's something far more urgent to stand against than another tragic death due to race, and that is another tragic soul dying without Christ. Souls destined to hell is the greatest problem in the world, and my faith, not my race, reminds me that only belief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ can solve it. My faith, not my race, compels me to share the hope of eternal life in heaven for whosoever will believe, regardless of race, color, creed, culture or heritage, because death does not discriminate and neither does the Savior.

Plus, Jesus Christ can, in the meantime, help solve marriage problems, deliver your kid from addiction, heal cancer, and cause racists, bad cops and law breakers to repent.

Faith Before Race Reason #5: What Really Unifies Us
In my opinion, racial pride and the rallying cry for social justice may seem to bring unity, but they really only bring together people who are already on the same page, even if they're of different races. Not that that's a bad thing, of course. It's great! But we have to remember that equality and justice are not the same things as unity and harmony.

In my opinion, standing up for your race especially in this country with its history of slavery, is a tricky balance. Its inherent attention on racial and cultural differences only perpetuates the focus on what makes us all different. For instance, a natural phenomenon already exists whereby people of the same race tend to congregate together. Even in Christendom, that's in large part why we have "Black" churches and "White" churches and "Hispanic" churches and "Korean" churches, etc. along with "mixed" or "multi-cultural" churches. It's not necessarily racism, but just a tendency to gather based on perceived ability to relate better, comfort level with cultural differences, and personal preferences about styles of music, worship or preaching.

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Published on 7-13-15