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Re: #4
In Response To: #3 ()

Choosing Jesus prepares you to be a real agent of change in our community. We have had enough leaders who have experienced some success, but who got off track somehow. These sidetracks have taken many different forms, from sexual and financial scandals to a constant pursuit of acknowledgment from the white community. Too many of our leaders have compromised our spiritual heritage in order to gain political or economic allies. A vibrant relationship with Christ will give you the power to govern yourself and live according to what is right, not according to what is expedient.

Those of us who discover the power of a relationship with Christ and who see the need for spiritual transformation in our community must band together to build a new future. We must give our brothers and sisters a reason to turn away from the traps that surround them. Jesus is that reason. We must tell the truth about the challenges we face and develop an agenda for overcoming those challenges. That agenda emanates from Jesus. Then we must forge the strategies that will allow our people to make the kind of broad-based progress we all long for. Those strategies will come from people who have the mind of Christ. In the Book of Proverbs in the Bible it says, "Righteousness exalts a nation..."{6} If we allow the righteousness of Christ to flow through us, and thereby through our community, we can turn the tide.

We have been looked down on so long and so pervasively, and our people disappoint us so often, we can begin to wonder if the negative stereotypes are really true. In this vulnerable state we are susceptible to the persuasiveness of eloquent orators like Louis Farrakhan or anyone else who will tell us that we are the best, brightest, most noble people on the earth. It is easy to buy into ideas that lift black people above all others. Our righteous anger is easily manipulated to get us to buy into theories of a white conspiracy to hold us back. It feels good to hold someone else responsible for our struggles. Of course, there is plenty of racism remaining in this society, supplying fuel for those who would stoke the fires of rage and resentment.

Jesus, in what he taught and what he modeled, provides a different perspective. He teaches us that those who have oppressed us will be called to account for their actions. He also directs our attention back to our own responsibility. We will be called to reckon with our own choices. Jesus spoke a message that echoes across the landscape of time and penetrates to the heart of our predicament.

"I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.. So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." John 8:34,36

All the problems we face as individuals and as a people can be summarized in one word--sin.

Sin is the biblical word for those actions and our general state of non-conformity to the will and design of God. God made the universe to run on certain principles. When we step outside the bounds of these principles, we enter into sin. This definition helps us understand Jesus' teaching that all sin is harmful. If God designed things to run and function a certain way, whenever we step outside of those design boundaries, we are likely to experience negative consequences. Black people's suffering is either because of someone else's sin or due to our own. Yet, Jesus promises to free us from sin.

You see, God is holy. As such, He cannot tolerate the presence of sin. It is contrary to His nature. So, sin must be dealt with, or judged, and punished. Yet, God is loving. How could He be both just and loving toward us rebellious, sinful human beings? He resolved this dilemma by taking on human flesh Himself, walking this earth, and dying a painful, humiliating death to pay for the punishment of our sin. How could one man's death pay the penalty for the sin of billions of humans? Because He is God, both infinite and eternal. He created an infinite and eternal payment for sin by submitting Himself to death. How do we access this freedom that Jesus purchased for us? By personally accepting him as Savior and Lord. This is the freedom our forefathers found in the midst of slavery. The freedom to transcend their circumstances. The freedom that comes from living on the basis of a higher reality. This is the freedom that ignited the activity of so many who have fought for the freedom and dignity of our people. This is the freedom that you can experience if you will place your trust in Him.

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Re: #4

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