stevengworld

Costly Courage: The What Pt 2 | September 25, 2017

Growing up being the only black kid in many white classrooms has taken its toll on me. It has hardened me in many ways I never knew at the moment. Years later I have unearthed those emotions that are put on display in sometimes unfortunate settings with people unaware of my past fights and trials. Yet the one thing those classroom lessons did not create to my dismay is compassion.

The fact that I am a recipient of grace was never something I heavily thought of unless the preacher broached the subject. The irony of carrying around the prideful badge of Calvinism never translated into a posture of grace in my life. My ability to spout off the 5 doctrines with conviction were indeed costly, but never compassionate. Looking back, I realize that I was fooling myself into thinking that I was making followers of Jesus by making them into doctrine of grace card members for life. Not an ounce of compassion. However, what I have recently caste onto others was the very thing of which I was guilty.

During the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement, Black men and women under the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Phillip A. Randolph decided to hold up the American ideals in the face of their oppressors by asking a vital question that is still relevant today: “Ain’t I a man?” This question dripped with compassion and conviction. The two aren’t always mutually exclusive. Most social ill issues ought to drip with compassion and conviction. Sadly most Western evangelicals have only attached conviction to their pleas. So adoption and abortion are yearly championed in sermons. That’s usually the only type of elephant in the room White preachers are willing to point out.

If Americans are endued with certain inalienable rights from their creator, and I’m born in America, then ain’t I a man who has a creator with rights? How can the other elephants in the room of our society be addressed much like abortion and adoption? The answer is compassion! The compassion that human beings afford to others who are in need due to mistreatment, loss, or tragedy. The compassion that is bigger than the sometimes narrow Christian focus, but definitely not less. We have seen this after hurricanes and tornadoes ravage communities.

In terms of reconciliation, it’s key to note compassion ought to have outside the corridors of Christian buildings in various ways. Recalling the parable of the Good Samaritan, this stranger showed compassion for another stranger who was considered an enemy. Jesus felt compassion on the large crowds that followed him looking for signs and wonders, and he fed them. The early church pastors in Acts 6 evidenced compassion towards the Greek widows and placed 7 men in authoritative position to put compassion on display. The costly courage of showing compassion in this race of reconciliation is a battle of identification struggle. Meaning you won’t be allowed to identify with the same people and groups you once felt comfort with as soon as you visibly show compassion for the marginalized (read ethnicities). Though appealing to the covenantal promises of God may warrant you a listening, it can also result in division and an extra elephant in the room.

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