As we celebrate Black History Month, we recall our rich heritage, filled with courage, heroism, and the memory of the sacrifice of countless men and women who gave their lives for freedom. Looking at the past, we see how far we’ve come. Living in the present, we see how far we still must go. But more importantly, we must look at the future. We must ask ourselves: what steps must we take to realize the equality and freedom that we have yearned for as a people since the captivity of our ancestors?
Although we have advanced economically and socially in so many ways, most blacks are still wounded, angry, and hurt. Though the medals of economic and social attainments have been awarded to us, we are still being held back by spiritual bondage.
An alarm has been sounded by the media as reports are released describing the plight of Black America. From the breakdown of the family, to the rise in teen-age pregnancy, to the slumping number of blacks entering college, and now to the sobering fact that 25 percent of all AIDS cases are black people – even though we make up only 10 percent of our society – it has become obvious that we must have an accurate diagnosis of our problem in order to reach a solution.
Although the chains of slavery have been removed from us, we remain enslaved unless we find true spiritual freedom. Jesus Christ once said, “What does it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26). We as black Americans must face up to these words.
Observing the symptoms that are ailing many blacks in America today, we must conclude that we have a heart problem. Though many blacks attend church and live outwardly religious lives, the truth is that most of us are broken, disillusioned, and bitter. Most of us are not living victorious Christian lives.
Why? Many of us have made unforgiveness and bitterness against whites an idol in our lives. We sit in the church pews and profess allegiance to a God of love and forgiveness, yet we constantly nurse our hurts. But Jesus stated it plainly when He said: “If you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions” (Matthew 6:15).
The Pharisees in Jesus’ day faithfully attended religious functions and kept all the rules, yet He was not pleased with them. These people did not understand that it is His love and His Spirit that is to rule our lives – not rules. We need to learn this lesson, too. Only when we experience a living, loving relationship with Jesus Christ can we experience the kind of freedom that we are all longing for.
Have you been looking to social and economic gains to heal the wounds in your spirit?
A new generation of black Americans is emerging today, and they are looking at a heap of shattered dreams for the promise of a better future. We must point them to the only pathway that leads to freedom – obedience to God’s Word. As we are immersed in a loving relationship with Jesus Christ, and as we deny our own selfish desires for His cause, we will see that the ultimate issue in our struggle was not racial. Our deepest need has always been the need for a Savior – which God has provided through Jesus Christ.