Grace Over Race

It was in a Bible study where I heard it first used, and I couldn’t help myself from commenting on it. We were watching a video on the Palestinian conflict with the Jews in the Middle East and we were talking about change. No change is possible anywhere on earth without God first changing the hearts of the people. It doesn’t matter what culture you study, there are always groups of people who are isolated in order to be mistreated. The symptoms are always the same:

• Our rights are not the same

• Our privileges are denied

• Our hardships are due to our race, religion, or politics

• Our lives are lived as victims of systemic haves and have nots

• Our pain is generational which is perpetuated

Human beings are born in sin, and that sinful nature is what causes all victimization and perpetuates the hatred for each other. Our sinful nature is not subject to laws, therapy, or self-help remedies that promise hope. The only way we can honestly get free from the grip that sin has on our lives is to be changed from the inside out.

Freedom comes from God … freedom from hatred, abuse, shame, guilt, and being a victim. You cannot change the heart … that is God’s job. You may change habits and take a new direction in your life, but the truth of the matter is that without taking care of the sin issue with God, not much will change. No heart change means change has not happened … you are only shuffling the pieces on the puzzle board to get a different view.

Let’s take the issue of race, for instance. Race divides us and continues to keep us divided. Why? Because our culture doesn’t know how to get past how race affects everything because we allow it to do so. We are a racist culture because everything is about race. We can’t have a disagreement with each other without the disagreement turning into someone calling the other a racist. I disagreed with the idea of those who take a knee during a sporting event, and because I disagreed with them I was called a racist. I have respect for our flag because it represents all of us … past, present, and future. Our flag gives us the right to dissent. We should honor that we, as a free people, can disagree with each other, but not at the expense and disrespect of those who died to protect our freedom. There is no argument that can convince me it's okay to use any cause to dishonor our flag that represents our country, our freedom, and our pursuit of happiness.

After 9/11 and the attacks on our country, we came together as a country to stand up to those who attacked us. They didn’t attack just Black men, White women, Hispanic children, or Asian families … they attacked all of us, and we all responded as one American. Our issues can be debated and disagreements can be fierce, but we should never try to destroy each other over our differences. Our differences have made freedom possible and there are people today in our country who think that freedom should be contained, rearranged, and remade into an image of socialism. The problem with that is … freedom is good for all, while socialism is not.

This is why we need to say clearly, especially for the church, “Grace Over Race.” Without a higher perspective on how to live in freedom, we will always be held captive by the restraints of others. Slowly, we have become less free in our thinking and less free in how regulated everything has become. Even in our theology, we have become less free in our worship and less free in how hospitable we are to the Holy Spirit. Most of our church services have little to no acknowledgment of His presence or His objective in getting us all together in worship. Don't you find that fascinating? What do you think His objective would be?

• Convict us of sin

• Convict us of the righteousness of Christ

• Convict us of the judgment that is to come

John 16:8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment.

That is why we have to be reminded that the Grace of God is above everything … no race, no cause, no doctrine, no ministry emphasis is greater or above His Grace. Today, our priorities are all messed up. We love to play with the words, “Blank Lives Matter.” You can fill in the blank. If the truth is to be known, the only one who matters is God. Here is what should be said: “God Matters.” Why? He is creator, judge, and Savior. You have it all in Jesus Christ. Race does not matter because race only matters to racists. Racists call attention to it, in fact, they get fixated on it by trying so hard to eradicate it. Yet, all they are doing is proliferating racism by calling attention to it. So, you look and listen to the world with that description and you will quickly see who is a racist and who is not.

As for me and my house, “Grace Over Race!”

Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler