October 6, 2020
“The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?’ (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)” (John 4:9, NIV 1984).
This was not the first time I’d felt the anger of racial injustice, but it was the most surprising. Lorenzo had been my patient for 20 years. He was doing better and living longer with his myeloma than anyone I had ever treated. He and I are friends. I asked him about his relationship with God. “My brothers and sisters believe in that, but it’s never worked for me. I grew up in the cotton patch. I know what it’s like to be black and oppressed. When that black man was shot today, I took that personally. I’m angry. It ain’t right what people do to people because of their skin color.” I am white and can’t really understand, but I assume he was correct about his experiences in life and know he was sincere. I listened. After a moment, I asked him, “Lorenzo, have I ever treated you unfairly or unkindly because of your skin color?” “No, Doc, you haven’t.” When we ended, I said, “I’ve never lied to you, have I?” “No, you haven’t.” “Well then, believe me when I tell you: God loves you and is with you in whatever struggles you have in life—and I love you like a brother.” “I know you do, and I feel the same way.”
This was not a political experience; this was a personal experience.
“It ain’t right what people do to people because of their skin color.”
Lorenzo was not the first to make this claim.
Paul said it well along time ago: “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him” (Romans 10:12, NIV 1984).
Jesus made it entirely clear by the way He treated women and outcasts and Samaritans and Gentiles: there is no difference in any person’s value before God—no difference based on skin color, or language, or gender, or wealth, or education, or beauty or a thousand other attributes by which we judge each other.
So, if we are God’s people, and God doesn’t choose favorites, why do we?
I need to examine my life and discover whether I value people differently or treat them differently based on attributes that Jesus would never consider.
I need to examine my practice and see if I manage patients differently based on factors in their lives that do not change their value to God.
I need to evaluate my local church and community to be sure that the open, caring arms of Jesus are not limited by prejudice.
I need to be active in correcting any injustices I find.
I need to change the world’s understanding of God’s love for all persons by introducing all persons to the love of Christ.
Clean out any prejudices in my life that limit the work of Your love through me.