“All white people are not racist. All black people are not criminals. And all cops are not bad.” declared B. Haley, drummer for Toby Mac, and speaker for the “We are 1″ movement.
The crowd cheered and applauded, signaling their full agreement with his statements.
But to be honest. I don’t agree.
All cops are bad.
All blacks are criminals.
All white people are racist.
But let’s be fair. All people (not just white people) have held prejudices and judgments towards other people based on appearances and stereotypical assumptions.
“But if you fulfill the royal law as expressed in this scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show prejudice, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as violators.” -James 2:8 & 9
Have we not all favored one person over another based on outward appearance? Have we not all failed to love EVERY neighbor as ourselves? Have we not all shown partiality?
I know I have.
All people are corrupt crooks (not just cops), using our position for selfish gain instead of humble service.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,” -Ephesians 5:25
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but raise them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” -Ephesians 6:4
“Masters, treat your slaves the same way, giving up the use of threats, because you know that both you and they have the same master in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.” -Ephesians 6:9
Have we all not abused our authority and power and treated people unfairly for selfish gain? Whether it be our spouse, our child, our employees (or those we supervise), those we mentor and to which we live as an example—we all have perpetuated injustice.
I know I have.
And all people are criminals (not just black people), for we have all transgressed the holy law of God.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” -Romans 3:23
And regardless of whether it is a violation that could put us behind iron bars or not, every violation is cosmic treason. We have used our freedom to appoint ourselves as judge, determining what we believe to be right from wrong, good from evil. Thus, we are continually attempting to overthrow the Almighty from His throne (Genesis 2, Romans 1).
Have we not all countlessly broken the most basic institutional authority?
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother,’” -Ephesians 6:1-2a
And if we have broken even one law, we are guilty of breaking them all.
“For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a violator of the law.” -James 2:11
For it is not the immediate authority we have ultimately sinned against, but the one who placed them over us.
“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except by God’s appointment, and the authorities that exist have been instituted by God.” -Romans 13:1
We are all racist. We are all criminals. We are all corrupt. And that’s why the only solution for both this land and our own individual hearts is the blood of Jesus.
But I’m not talking about some metaphoric forgiveness from a cliché prayer so that we can live a more comfortable existence here on earth free from negative thoughts and ethereal fear of divine punishment.
I’m talking about digesting the truths stated above to such a degree that we own it and stop declaring our innocence before God in the face of suffering. We own it so much that we grieve and weep before the LORD in repentance (2 Cor 7:10). Only then can we cry out in full surrender to live for God and not ourselves (Luke 14:26, 27,33). Only then can we have our hearts exchanged for one that truly desires to do good and to love God and love others (Eze 11:19, Rom 6:18, 1 John 4:7-21). Only then can we have our minds renewed with proper understanding of God, humanity, and the world (Rom 12:2, Eph 4:17-18), so that we can be conformed to our original purpose (Rom 8:29, Gen 1:27), to be like Christ, and promote true peace with one another, and more importantly with God (Matthew 5:9).
Apart from the Gospel, I might be able to find the good in people and identify with white people like me who aren’t bigots; or with some black people who aren’t criminals and are productive members of society like me; or perhaps with the good cops who actually live to serve rather than dominate.
But only in the Gospel, I find that I am like EVERY man. Not simply identify with him, but understand that we are from the same sinful flesh. Now suddenly, a law-abiding white man can identify with a black criminal. A law-abiding black man can identify with a corrupt, bigoted, white police officer. Because it is in the Gospel that we realize we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and desperately need salvation through HIS grace alone.