The greatest evangelist who preached to more people than anyone in the history of the world gave us a chilling warning before he went to heaven.
In spite of all our affluence and achievements, Billy said unless we focused on the transformation of people's hearts, there would be worsening racial discord that is "more militant and a great deal of blood will be shed" (World Aflame).
His concern was echoed recently by Dr. Ben Carson, one of the preeminent neurosurgeons in the world. Raised in an inner-city broken home with a poor education he is one of our most respected and influential black leaders as a presidential candidate and now prestigious Cabinet member. His core conviction, like that of Rev. Graham, is profound yet simple: "The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart."
Instead of embracing seductive excuses for not succeeding such as victimization or systemic racism, Dr. Carson, like Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, Michael Jordan and others work hard and persevere amidst setbacks. They reject race baiting and relate to Barack Obama, who, abandoned by his father yet rising to become president, telling us, "Yes we can!"
We are living through the most harrowing experience of our lifetime. It's time to be difference makers! A massive three wave tsunami hit us unexpectedly: worldwide pandemic; economic catastrophe; nationwide racial riots. Our assignment is to be compassionate communicators of the gospel and biblical truth to see hearts changed, rescuing the masses from deception to seize their destiny.
For 50 years, I've worked hard to help people of all color succeed while strengthening race relations. I came to Christ because of a black minister in Cleveland, Ohio, where I was the only white man in his congregation. I served the city's first black mayor, Carl B. Stokes, and then worked in community relations at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C., where the majority of the population is black. God even arranged for me to speak in large conferences in apartheid South Africa to help foster change, which finally came peacefully when Nelson Mandela was released from prison, became president and called everyone to forgiveness and a change of heart.
Racial Tension and Revolution
Recently, The Wall Street Journal ran an article by a Russian expert who cited chilling parallels between the Russian Revolution and America today. He cited the power grab of intelligentsia elite; rationalization of left wing violence; glorification of havoc; vilification of law enforcement and their supporters; defense of vandalism; stifling of dissent ("cancel culture"); and added, "unless there is some moral force that will stop it, the slide will accelerate" (Wall Street Journal, June 7, 2020).
Christian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky said the Russian Revolution was launched as God was removed. "If there is no God, everything is permitted."
Nobel Peace Prize winner Alexander Solzhenitsyn was once asked, "What made it possible for the Russian Revolution to take place and socialistic communism to rise to power?" His reply: "Men forgot God."
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. told us in the '60s, "History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."
That will not be us! We are His peacemakers with a biblically informed worldview.
Refresher on Race Relations
Instead of propaganda adversely affecting multitudes, let's convey:
—"So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him" (Gen. 1:27).
Black, yellow, red or white, we are all image-bearers of God, so we treat all with dignity and respect!
—"for there is no partiality with God" (Rom.2:11).
—"But if you show partiality, you are committing sin" (James 2:9a).
—Our Pledge of Allegiance declares, "liberty and justice for all," so that's how we live.
—Scripture states, "He has made from one blood every nation of men to live on the entire face of the earth" (Acts 17:26a). Our motto from 1776 says, "E Pluribus Unum" ("out of many, one"), and this is our core conviction.
—"He has told you, O man, what is good—and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" (Mic. 6:8). Therefore, this is how we live as children of God who are difference makers yet discerning, so we're not involved with leftist extremists splashing "social justice" on every cause under the sun.
5 Guidelines to Advance Everyone Yet Avoid Extremism
God has given to us "the ministry of reconciliation" as "ambassadors for Christ" (2 Cor. 5:18, 20). Here's how we help bring biblically informed healing and racial reconciliation to our hurting world.
- Pray. Ask God to search your heart; repent of any racist attitudes or actions; intercede against "powers and principalities" at work; petition for laborers, especially black leaders for the harvest; pray for discernment for our leaders and yourself to not be deceived by "white supremacist" or "epidemic police brutality" rhetoric.
Example: "Black Lives Matter" dangerous agenda: Defund/disband police agencies (except, of course, those guarding celebrities, athletes, leftist politicians and so on.); reparations for slavery (mega trillions, bankrupting America); guaranteed income (without working) for minorities; free college /open admissions (Harvard, Yale, Massachusetts Institute of Technology) for minorities; voting age to 16; all "political prisoners" released from prison; develop an armed branch of "peace officers." [Note: George Soros, committed to the destruction of America, donated $33 million to Black Lives Matter as we notice their deafening silence in Chicago, where 2500 black people have been shot since 2015. Ninety percent of the killers are black, yet they say little to nothing.]
- Do justice. Jesus stood up for the oppressed, victimized and marginalized while confronting corrupt people and practices exploiting the vulnerable. He said to be "salt," preserving so things won't rot and be "trampled underfoot by men" (Matt.5:13).
Example: Christ-followers are involved with legitimate feeding, shelter and education programs; assisting needy widows, single moms, children, elderly, sick, disabled and mentally challenged; adoption of orphans; ending sex trafficking and rescuing innocent preborn babies. "Open your mouth for the speechless in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction" (Prov. 31:8). With 1000 black babies aborted daily, we say, "Little black lives matter too!" So we expose what Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. calls "black genocide."
3. Love kindness. Kindness is a forgotten fruit of the Spirit that we must recover in our day of racial tension and incivility. We "keep our center firm and edges soft" as we operate in a different spirit by accepting people, listening attentively, taking a genuine interest in their views (repugnant as a few may be), then winsomely sharing our perspective from a grace- filled heart.
In my study, I have only one poster. It is an oversized one of Martin Luther King Jr. saying "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." He echoed what black icon George Washington Carver said: "I will never let another man ruin my life by making me hate him."
Agree with these two men as we hear race-baiters and rage-filled activists (one prominent "Reverend" owed $4.5 million in back taxes!) calling for solidarity to "tear down this white supremacist nation built on the backs of slave labor." Just don't ask them to give up their iPhones or athletic shoes made in slavery-established, repressive Communist China.
I live by a "kindness mantra". It's the acrostic H.O.P.E.—Helping Other People Every day. I intentionally look for ways to connect with people in ways that become a platform for sharing the gospel: I smile; greet people; compliment their baby; thank a veteran, policeman or nurse; offer to serve if there's a need; initiate conversations addressing minorities respectfully as "sir" or "ma'am"; inquire if they've experienced "racial profiling," then vicariously ask forgiveness. (I did this just 24 hours ago.)
4. Walk humbly. Renouncing any prideful attitude toward anyone, we should approach everyone in an attitude of humility as a servant.
For a decade, we've "adopted" a special minority family in downtown Nashville, hosting them consistently in our home as they have become part of our lives; invited a young black student in need of housing to live with us for several years (we share an almost family bond, along with his parents, for 20 years); took the posture of a learner and spent summer vacations in Birmingham, Selma and Montgomery to learn from the museums and historic sites about the black experience. I don't share these examples to boast but perhaps to inspire by example. (Check out Here's the Deal podcasts on Charisma Podcast Network for a free exciting right resource now!)
5. Share the gospel. The only thing that can truly change a country, a culture and a life is not legislation, education or a massive demonstration but rather regeneration—the "new birth"—changing hearts through the gospel. Our root problem is sin! Join me in the adventure of lifestyle evangelism by utilizing 5 FREE YouTube videos to inspire and help you!
Here's the deal: I'll defer to Billy Graham to underscore God's heart to change hearts at this critical time. This is where we started so listen as he brings things to a close.
"In Christ the middle wall has been broken down. There is no Jew, no Gentile—no black, white, yellow or red. We could be one great brotherhood in Jesus Christ. However, until we come to recognize Him as the Prince of Peace and receive His love in our hearts, the racial tension will increase, racial demands will become more militant and a great deal of blood will be shed. The race problem could become another flame out of control." —Billy Graham
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