As you come down to the end of James’s challenge about racism, favoritism, and classism, he gives us two short words. I want to give them to you today and ask you to take up this challenge with me.
James says, “Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who’s not been merciful.” And then he says, “Mercy triumphs over judgement.” (James 2:12-13 NIV) In other words, I deserve to be judged for my sin, for my prejudice, for my tendency to discriminate, but God is willing to have mercy on me. So I need to develop mercy in my life to see everyone with equality.
James gives me two ways to do that – two very clear, specific instructions. I’m going to talk about the second one in the next video I do, but I want to talk about the first one here.
He says, “Speak and act.”
We stand as judges over previous generations of our parents and grandparents and great great grandparents about their values and how they carried them out. So I can look back at a generation that bought and sold people as slaves and I can see the evil in that. Or I can look between then and now, and I can see that generation after generation we have failed to completely eradicate racism from our culture.
We’ve granted greater legal equality to people of color, but we still establish systems that keep people pressed down. We still make judgments in our hearts, so I can see that we still struggle with this. The generation before ours failed to eradicate it.
Our generation needs to completely eradicate racism. And one of the ways we do that is developing a language of equality and equity. To speak boldly on behalf of the oppressed. To speak the good news that is for the vulnerable. To speak and to boldly show up.
I think that a lot of times, people that are hurting, people that are suffering from racism, they’re looking for people in power, people with privilege, people with position, people who’ve not endured to speak.
Do we see their pain or not? And the proof comes out in our words, our acknowledgement, our encouragement.
I want to challenge you today to decide that you’re going to speak up when the time comes. When you see racism in front of your eyes, you’ll speak to it. You’ll confront it. When someone tells and off-color joke at the expense of someone’s ethnicity or gender, you’ll stop it and say, “No, I don’t do that. I’m speaking on behalf of those who have been oppressed.”
Tomorrow we’re going to talk about acting on behalf of the oppressed, and I want to challenge you today to speak. To say something on behalf of those who have endured inequality and racism in their lives. To speak of on behalf of those who need to hear the message of your love.