by Dr. Tony Evans
Something I sometimes hear from my white brothers and sisters when it gets around to Black History Month each year is, “Tony, tell me again … why we have to have Black History Month? And shouldn’t we have White History Month, too?” That statement is usually followed up by a chuckle in an attempt to take the edge off of what has the potential of turning into an awkward conversation.
But I welcome discussions like these because they provide an opportunity to place a subject front and center that often only lurks in the shadows of Christendom. That may sound like a strong statement—that black/white relations or racial reconciliation across any racial barrier needs to be a “front and center” subject—but I say that in light of the emphasis God Himself places on His body living, acting, moving, communing and serving in oneness and unity in His Word.
What does unity really mean?
God does His best work in the midst of unity. In fact, so essential is the issue of oneness in the church that we are told to be on guard against those who try to destroy it. (Romans 16:17). God has intentionally reconciled racially divided groups into one new man, (Ephesians 2:14-15) uniting them into a new body, (Ephesians 2:16) in order that the church can function as one (Ephesians 2:13). When the church functions as one, we boldly brag on God to a world in desperate need of experiencing Him.
But how do we as a Church function as one? We don’t. He does—both in us and through us.
When we got saved, we were baptized into the body of Christ. No matter what our race, gender, or class is, when each of us came to faith in Jesus, we entered into a new family. We didn’t create God’s family. We became a part of it.
That is so important to realize because far too often we are trying to force unity when authentic unity cannot be mandated or manufactured. Instead, God says we are to “preserve the unity of the Spirit” (Ephesians 4:3). The Holy Spirit has created our unity. It is our job to preserve it.
The reason why we haven’t solved the racial divide in America after hundreds of years is because people apart from God are trying to invent unity, while people who belong to God are not living out the unity that we already possess. The result of both of these situations has been, and will continue to be, disastrous for our nation. Let alone disastrous for the witness of Christ to our nation.
So what does this have to do with Black History Month? Everything…
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|Recommended Resources: Oneness Embraced: Through the Eyes of Tony Evans | Letters Across the Divide: Two Friends Explore Racism, Friendship, and Faith|