Robert Morris — A Lack of Understanding
Title of this message, I'll have to explain it to you, and you'll get it in a minute, but it's called, "A Lack of Understanding". And what I wanna do today is address racism, and talk about how the Bible addresses racism. We have a problem in our country, and I believe, obviously, all of us know Jesus is the answer, but I believe the reason we still have this problem today is because of the church. I don't believe the church has taken the stand that the church needs to take. And I want us, as a church, to take a stand.
Now, when I talk about a lack of understanding, let me show you a scripture. Hosea 4:6 says: "My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge:" that they don't just understand. I don't think that we have really understood the depth of this problem. And so, let me give you an illustration. So here's a water bottle, I haven't opened it. It's got water in it, and if you guys could get a close-up of that water bottle, so everybody can see it at every campus. All right, so what do you see on that? What word do you see? Ozarka. Did everyone see that? Okay. I don't see that. The word Ozarka is not on this side. I see the words, "Born naturally," and then I see some words that are too small to read. Okay, but we're looking at the same bottle. Right? Everyone, right? But I'll never see what you see unless I take the time to walk around the bottle, and look at it from your perspective. Are you following me?
So we have a problem in our country, mainly because white people don't understand. It's really true. And we need to take the time to walk around the issue and see what our brothers and sisters are seeing, and see what they're feeling. But we'll never know unless we ask. Instead of simply arguing about a protest or a demonstration or something like that, why don't we sit down and say, "What are you hearing? What are you seeing? What do you feel"? And not see it as an issue or as history, but as people.
So it's gonna be a sobering, serious message. I've been learning some things for the past several years, as I've met with pastors and friends of mine to help me understand, and it has now become personal to me, not just an issue. And I think we've gotta come to the place where it's personal. So first of all, we need to know that Jesus ministered to everyone. He was sent to the house of Israel, and there are very specific theological reasons, like grace came to where there was a foundation of law, and I don't have time to go into that, but He ministered to the Syrophoenician woman, He ministered to the Roman soldiers, the centurion slave, his servant. He ministered to the Samaritan woman that was considered interracial.
But a lot of times, we don't even realize where pigmentation came from. Pigmentation, I think we all think we know what the word means. It does refer to color, but it refers to color of skin. And it refers to a genetic DNA in our bodies that determines what our color of skin is, and you can try to change it, but you can't change it much. It's amazing how light-skinned people wanna be darker, and dark-skinned people wanna be lighter. That's amazing to me, but it's simply the color of your skin. So some people don't even know where it came from. Well, we all came from Adam and Eve. We didn't come from monkeys, just to let you know, in case you have bought into that. I know sometimes, they'll say, "98% of us have monkey DNA". It's really not true. That's really not a true statement. It's about 70%. And I'm doing everything, my wife says sometimes it's 98% in my case, but it's really only about 70%. But that 30% is very distinctive, plus, we have a soul, and we were made in the image of God.
But we all came from Adam and Eve, but then in Genesis 6, God starts all over with Noah and his family and three sons. And there's something real interesting about Noah's sons, and that is their names. And their names do mean something, so Noah had three sons, Ham means hot and black. That's what it means. Hot and black. Japheth means fair or light-skinned. Shem, now this one will throw you for a loop, 'cause you don't know quite what it means, but I'll explain it. It means name. That's all it means, is name. I believe Noah was prophetic in naming his sons for several reasons, but one reason, Shem was where Abraham came from his line, house of Israel came from his line, Jesus came.
So it's amazing that the person who got the name above all names came from Name, the person named Name, you know. But why would he name one dark-skinned, or black, and why would he name one light, or fair-skinned? And why wouldn't he say something about Shem's color? It's because Shem was probably brown. The reason Shem was probably brown was because Noah and his wife were probably brown, and I'm about to throw some of you for a loop. And the reason Noah and his wife were probably brown is because Adam and Eve were probably brown. Because you can get black from brown, and you can get white from brown, but you can't get white from black, and you can't get black from white. So most theologians believe that God created Adam and Eve brown, so that we could have light-skinned people and dark-skinned people.
And by the way, white is not the predominant race in the world. It's amazing how many people believe that. Brown is the predominant skin color or pigmentation in the world. More people are brown than are white or black. So it's very possible that Noah has a dark son, and names him dark, or black. He has a light-skinned son, names him fair, light-skinned. Then, he has one that's his color, and he says name. You know, it's just — your name is Name. We got to have — got too many kids now, can't think of anything. But my point is that God created us not to all look alike. God created some of us to be lighter, and some of us to be darker. But God didn't create the races, and the racial divide. You go to Genesis 12, and yes, He created the languages. But so many people believe, then, that He created some sort of a racial divide. God did not create a racial divide, He created diversity. He created light skin and dark skin.
I was talking with a pastor awhile back, and he said this to me. He said, "You know, in our church, we tell people we're not colorblind, we're color blessed". We're color blessed. So we do have dark skin and we have light skin. Some people don't know that there are black people in the Bible. Just to take a few in the New Testament. The man that God chose to carry His Son's cross, that gave this man the honor of carrying His Son's cross, was a black man. There were black people on the day of Pentecost. Read the nations they were from. Read the North African nations that they were from. In Acts 13, everyone knows about Acts 13, when the church of Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas, the two most famous, most well-known apostles ever. But people don't know it lists five leaders in the church.
Now, I'm gonna shock some of you. It's amazing that — again, I'm telling you, white people are ignorant of this. They're ignorant. Two of the five leaders were black, in the church at Antioch. The church began sending missionaries around the world. Let me read you the verse. Acts 13:1: "Now in the church that was at Antioch, there were certain prophets and teachers. Barnabas — okay, we already talked about Paul and Barnabas. "Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger," — I'm gonna come back to the word Niger in a moment: "Lucius of Cyrene," that's a North African nation: "Manaen, who had been brought up with Herod the tetrach, and Saul," That we know as Paul. So you've got Lucius and Simeon, who was called Niger.
Now, this was not a derogatory term, but Niger means black. That's what it means. Look it up. It means black. We have a country called Niger, and we have a country called Nigeria. And this is where it — by the way, the sad part of this word is this is where the slang word came from, from this word that means black. It came from this word, and it's a horrible word, but this is where it came from. But two out of the five leaders in the church of Antioch were black, and when Paul and Barnibas left, then two out of three were. And again, I'm saying this to help us understand that if you've come from a white world, you don't understand. You need to walk around the other side of the bottle. And so, this message is gonna help you walk around the other side of the bottle some.
When we talk about interracial marriage, most of the time, we're not talking about Asian or Hispanic, we're talking about black and white. This has been a plan of the enemy for many, many years now, to create a divide there. By the way, the Bible does not forbid interracial marriage, it forbids interfaith marriage. When God told Israel not to marry with other nations, it had nothing to do with them being a different race, it had to do with them not being believers in the true God, and what they were doing, Israel, was literally selling their daughters in marriage to enter into a business agreement with another nation, and so, they could do business with 'em, but that nation, God knew, would draw them away into an idle worship.
So He said, "Don't do that". Don't marry, don't do that. Don't give your daughters in marriage to heathen nations. It had nothing to do with race. It had everything to do with faith. And the New Testament, then, backs that up, and says what? Well, what fellowship would light have with darkness, or a believer with an unbeliever?
When my daughter was about three-years-old, we used to have this couple that would come and stay with us. He played basketball overseas. There'll be times when I'll say this man, or this person, or this family was a black family. The reason I'll say it is because it's pertinent to the conversation. I want you to think about if it's not pertinent to the conversation, you don't need to say it. Like, this guy was talking to me one time, and he was not a pastor, and he said, "There was a black woman in line behind me at the supermarket, and we started talking," and duh-duh-duh, and he told me the conversation.
And at the end of the conversation, I said to him, I said, "Hey, I wanna ask you something. Why did you tell me she was black? Why didn't you just say there was a woman, and we started talking? Why did you tell me she was black"? Would you have said there was a white woman behind me? Would you have said that? And he said, "No". He said, "I don't know why I said that". And then, later, about a month later, he called me and he was crying, and he said, "Robert, I've been praying about that ever since, and I realize when I was growing up, that's the way my parents introduced any black person. Anytime they talked about a black man or a black woman, they always used the word black, but they never used it when they talked about white friends". And He said, "God's convicted me, I have prejudice in my heart from my growing up".
Let me, by the way, define racism and prejudice for you. All right? 'Cause it's very, very important to understand. Let me give you three definitions of racism, starting from the worst, to what would be, what is probably more dominant or predominant in our country. First of all, racism can be defined as hating a person because of his race, and we do have — that type of racism in our nation, unfortunately. People hate someone because of race. Second is, though, believing that a race is superior, or a race is inferior, to other races. That's racism. If you believe that there's a superior race or an inferior race, that's racism.
The third is what I think is most predominant in our nation, and it is prejudice toward another race. Prejudice is making a judgment about someone without having all the facts. Pre- is the prefix, which means before, and judice means judgment. Judice thinks about the judicial system. The only problem with prejudice is that you make a judgment before you have the facts. Our judicial system makes a judgment after they get the facts. Are y'all following me? Okay. So pre-judice, prejudice, is making judgment of someone. That's the racism that we have mainly in America, although we do still have hate. And of course, Jesus is the answer because He's love. And all we do — although we do have wrong thinking, that there's a superior race or an inferior race, and it's completely false, the Bible never backs that up, but most of it is, is that most of us have some sort of prejudice toward people. We make some sort of a pre-judgment, even though we don't know that person.
So when my daughter was about three-years-old, this family, a black family, he played basketball overseas, and many times, he was like the MVP for the national team, and he used it to witness. He had a chance to play in the NBA, he really felt like he was called more to be a missionary, so he played for different countries overseas. And he would play for about six months, and then he'd come home. Well, when they would come home, they would stay in our home for two or three weeks, or a month, until they found a house that they could rent, until they went back for the next season. And so, they'd stay in our home. So one day, Elaine, my daughter, was playing with his son, and they're sitting there, playing together, and the Lord spoke to me, and said, "Is it all right with you if Elaine marries a black man"? And I said, "Well, yes, Lord, it is. If he's a godly man, if he's a man of good character, if he loves her, and if he loves You, yes, it's okay". And the Lord said this to me. "No, is it okay with you"? And I knew when He said that, what He was saying was, "You still have some prejudices that I need to deal with, but I can't deal with 'em if I can't reveal 'em to you. So I need you to be open that you have some prejudices".
By the way, most of you know, but let me just show you a picture of my daughter and her beautiful husband and beautiful children right there. So God was already preparing me, because what I realized later was that I had things in my heart that I didn't know were in my heart. Now, y'all are being real quiet. Are y'all — are you okay? I mean, would you agree that God has shown you that you grew up probably with some prejudice? How many of you would say, "I grew up with some prejudice, I know I did"? Okay. Well, God wants to deal with that.
So this is gonna shock you, what I'm about to tell you, but I have seven points today. It's amazing. But I wanna do 'em very quickly. I'm gonna do 'em very quickly, and I'm not gonna comment hardly at all, so if you're gonna write, you've gotta write fast. I'm just gonna go through the seven points, and then share something else with you. All right?
So number one, racism is pure evil. It's just pure evil. Romans 12:9 says: "Let love be without hypocrisy," without judgment, without being fake. Love people truly, and: "Abhor what is evil". And let me tell you what evil is, evil is hypocratic love. Hypocritical love. That's what love would be. In other words, loving some people, not loving others. Abhor what's evil. By the way, when we say that racism is pure evil, I don't know if you ever noticed this. Look at the word devil, and then look at the last four letters. He's d-evil. He's d-evil, just — that's free, I just threw that in for you. All right?
Number two, racism is pure self-righteousness. It's pure self-righteousness. That's all it is. Luke 18:11. "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank You, that I am not like other men.'" In other words, I thank You, I'm better than other people. Believing that a race is superior or a race is inferior is nothing but pride and self-righteousness. It's all it is.
Number three, racism violates the Great Commission. Most people know the Great Commission. Matthew 28:19. I'll just use part of it. "Go therefore, and make disciples of all the nations," — the word nations is the Greek word ethnos, it's where we get our word ethnicity from. Ethnic. "Go make disciples of all ethnicities". So racism would violate the Great Commission.
Number four, racism violates the Great Commandment. Not just the Great Commission, but the Great Commandment. John 13:34-35: "A new commandment I give you to, that you love one another. As I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you're My disciples, if you have love one for another". This is the way people are gonna know that we're different, because we love each other.
Number five, racism questions God's creation. Racism questions God's creation. Acts 17:26. "And He has made from one blood every ethnicity," nation, ethnos. Every ethnic group. He's made from one blood. So we talked a moment ago about black, white, and brown. Let me just let you know, no matter what color you are on the outside, all of us are red on the inside. We're all red. That's what color we are, we're red. Because we come from one blood.
Number six, racism questions God's plan. It questions God's plan. Revelation 5:9. "And they sang a new song, saying, 'You're worthy to take the scroll, and to open the seals: for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation". God's plan is to redeem people out of every ethnic group. So racism questions God's plan, and God's creation, as we said.
Number seven: Racism questions God. Just questions God. And I decided to put in parentheses: defies God. And even these last three where I use the word question, you could put it this way. Five, six, and seven, you could say racism defies God's creation. Goes against is what the word defy means. Goes against God's creation, it goes against God's plan, and it goes against God. So how does it question God, or defies God? Well, the most famous verse in the Bible, John 3:16. "For God so loved the world," — not one race, but the world: "That He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life".
See, we gotta somehow walk around to the other side of the bottle. I can remember hearing about the Holocaust, and most of you heard about the Holocaust, but if you've ever visited a Holocaust museum, I've been to the one in Israel, and I've also been to the one in Auschwitz. I've been to Auschwitz, and seen the ovens, and seen all of it. The Holocaust, for me, was an issue and an event, and it was history, until I went to Auschwitz. And when you see shoes that belonged to children, piles of 'em, piles, and eye glasses, and here's the tough part, hair and teeth. It's not an issue anymore and it's not history anymore. It's personal. It's people. And we've gotta walk around to the other side of the bottle and understand that the atrocities that had happened in our nation and around the world happened to people.
So I have some black pastor friends that have been helping me understand my lack of understanding, helping me understand. And one of 'em, Dr. Ricky Temple, and his wife, Diana, I have a picture of them, they were at our conference, and I asked 'em to share for a moment. You'll notice that Diane is light-skinned, and she shared her story that her great-great-grandmother was impregnated by the — a slave owner, white slave owner, and had a child, had a little girl. And for some reason, he decided to let 'em go free.
So he put the mother and the little baby girl on a boat, but some white men got angry about it, and they began shooting at the boat when it was leaving. The mother did what any mother would do, and covered the baby, and the mother was shot, and died, and the baby lived. That's Diane's grandmother. So see, it's not an issue anymore to me. It's something that happened to my friends. We'll never understand until we walk around to the other side, what some people that you work with, that live in your neighborhood, that come to our church, what they and their families have been through. And it's time for the church to stand up and declare that racism is evil, and the answer is Jesus Christ.
I really believe that the problem that we have in our nation today is a lack of understanding, and I'm not trying to boil down a very complicated problem into a simple solution, but I believe if more of us took the time to just walk around to the other person's perspective, we would understand it is a wound that can only be healed by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, and I want us as believers to pray for this wound in our nation to be healed. I'd love for you to get this message, because I actually share more in this message, and I have one of my friends share testimony about something that happened to him, and I believe it will give you more understanding about how we can see this wound healed in our nation. Let's pray, and see God heal this wound.