Every time, without fail, that I watch a telling of the Transatlantic Slade Trade of African people, I struggle with the faith I profess in Christianity. Yesterday was one such day. I finally sat down to watch the movie “12 Years A Slave” with my husband. And I was traumatized.
I know there are some that will immediately think, “not another black person bringing up the past again!” but I fear that it is a reality that will always torture us. To undermine its importance is really just to perpetuate the oppression that it was and deny the humanity of the millions who died and suffered at the hands of those criminals, who never saw the inside of a jail! I’m sorry, but the most you can do, especially if you belong to the privileged white race, is just apologize again and again for the cruelty caused by those before you, even if you were not involved and would have stopped it given a chance.
The major problem for me, was not so much the awful brutality and hate of the whole thing…it was the profession of faith in God and Jesus that those sadists claimed that torments me! As I watched them reading the Bible to their slaves and using it to keep them in line, while ignoring what it says about them, I wanted to be sick! At least when the Egyptians enslaved the Israelites, they didn’t profess to be children of Jehovah.
It is enough to make anyone, especially of African origin, not to believe! Because the faith we now profess was taught to us by our slave masters. By people who raped and tortured our ancestors. By those who treated us like livestock. Who abused our children, tearing them from their mothers and murdering their fathers! How could anyone have believed in God in such circumstances?
Yet, belief in God was what gave them hope… It was what gave them meaning. And despite everything they suffered, they still believed that He would deliver them eventually.
Just as I know without a shadow of a doubt that those who led the Crusades and committed so much atrocities in the name of Jesus did not know Him at all, I am convinced that those who perpetrated, propagated and gained from the evil of slavery did not know Jesus either. Anyone who reads the Bible, and who receives a revelation of Jesus Christ, will know that these oppressors were not at all Christian. So the issue isn’t about Christianity, but about our raw prideful and hateful nature that seeks to oppress those who are different from us.
Even today, we still see many people perpetuating all sorts of evil in the name of Christianity. One raw example is the victimization of homosexuals. They are not our enemies…and even if they were, we are still commanded to LOVE OUR ENEMIES! Loving them doesn’t mean we condone their sin, but it certainly doesn’t mean that we bully them, call them hateful names, beat them up or any of the ridiculous things being done by professing members of the Church today, in their lack of ability to speak the truth in love.
The truth is there will always be people who seek to turn a good thing rotten for some quick gain or comforts. There will always be deceivers among us, who through their witness, turn many away from the truth. In Jesus’ parable about the wheat and the tares, the tares were planted in by the enemy from the early beginnings. God’s decree was that they grow together…and at the end of time, He will discard the tares and take the wheat into His barn. This parable isn’t simply about the Church vs the world, but about the infestation of evil that has been within the Church even from the early beginnings (1 Pet 4:1, Jude 1:4).
Let us not be deceived by these wicked people. Let us also never let them take away our precious faith, because their actions constantly bring it into question! Let us hold on tight to the holy faith we profess, knowing that we will reap a reward in the end, if we don’t give up (Gal 6:9). May the grace of God be with you all.
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