June 3, 2020 - Painful

When I woke up this morning I already knew it was going to be a painful day because of what happened on yesterday. It was going to be a day of facing the realities of racism and hatred one more time. It has been painful watching many of the videos regarding the mistreatment of African Americans throughout our history. Just imagine how many cases of abuse, brutality and violence by police and whites have gone unnoticed and unreported. It is painful knowing that we as a people have to watch history continuously repeat itself.

It is painful to even think that one race of people could have such disdain for another race. I asked my wife last evening, "What is it about us that cause the white man to hate us with such vengeance? Is it our color or are we a threat because of our determination and persistence to succeed?"  It is painful knowing that our makeup is basically the same, but we at one time were considered to be inferior and had no rights which a white man was bound to respect. To look back over history to see how far we have come is painful, but we give our God thanks for the gains we have made.      

Recently there have been instances where reporters have made reference to the Tulsa Race Riot that took place on May 31-June 1, 1921. It is painful to read of such a massacre. I only refer you to this event to help you understand how so much hatred and violence has taken place throughout history, but we knew very little about this incident because it was not to be publicized. In brief, Greenwood, a neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma was a very prosperous city where blacks had done very well. Most of the city's 10,000 black residents lived in this neighborhood called Greenwood. The blacks had thriving businesses until one day a young  black male was falsely accused.  On June 1, 1921 thousands of white citizens went into Greenwood and burned homes and businesses over an area of 35 city blocks. Tulsans worked diligently to rebuild their homes and businesses, but segregation was too strong of an opposition. Over the years there has been a deliberate attempt to cover this sad story up. Read it for yourself. It is painful, but it is true.

It is painful today knowing that America is in crisis. It is painful to watch a police officer hold George Floyd to the ground with his knee for approximately 9 minutes. It becomes even more painful to hear him call out for his mother because of his distress.  It is painful to watch over and over again the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, a jogger, by two (3) white men. The list of blacks, male and female, who have died meaningless deaths go on and on. It is painful to know that 400 years of racism has existed and is as strong today as it was in the past. It is painful hearing politicians supporting white supremacy during his campaign . It is painful seeing families grieve for the death of a loved one due to senseless killing. It is painful to be in the middle of a pandemic and racial tensions at the same time. It is painful to watch congress do nothing in a time of such tensions and unrest. It is painful my brothers and sisters to know that 40 million people in America are unemployed.  

The heart of God must be mighty heavy about now. I recall in scripture that the prophet Jeremiah served with a broken heart. That is why he was called the weeping prophet because his heart was broken because of the plight and condition of his people. Jeremiah's responsibility was to call the people into repentance and change. It was painful, but he did it with a tear in his eye.  

Scripture: "While Jesus was here on earth, He offered prayers and pleadings with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue Him from death. And God heard His prayers because of His deep reverence for God. Even though Jesus was God's Son, He learned obedience from the things He suffered. In this way, God qualified Him as a perfect High Priest, and He became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey Him." Hebrews 5:7-9     

As painful as it may appear, I believe God is going to transform lives in all of this.

Not a sermon, just a thought!

Robert Earl Slade, Pastor