Acts 9:17-18 So Ananias went over and found Paul and laid his hands on him and said, “Brother Paul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you may be filled with the Holy Spirit and get your sight back.” Instantly it was as though scales fell from his eyes Paul could see and was immediately baptized.
There is in politics what they call the “liberal left and the religious right.” For decades the “religious right” ran their campaign behind “Christian values ” but the legislation that often came out, like mandatory minimums that led to mass incarceration of black people, did not seem very just. Religious right wing people like Ben Carson couldn’t have spoken their split personality any better when he said the other day, “sometime you have to set aside your Christian values to get the job done.” What in the world?!
Much of what we are seeing from the “religious right” aint right! James 3:10, 12 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Dear brothers, surely this is not right! Can you pick olives from a fig tree, or figs from a grape vine? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty pool.
Saul was religious but he wasn’t right. He was a Pharisee and he was persecuting the followers of Jesus until he had an encounter with the risen savior. Jesus blinded him so that he could see how wrong he was. Ananias went to Saul to explain to him that he was persecuting the very one that he claimed he represented. You can be religious and still not do right by God. How?
- When you have zeal but no knowledge. There are a lot or religious zealots who claim they are doing something in the name of God but they are actually persecuting Jesus. The KKK thought they were doing the “Christian” thing by lynching black men and raping black women. You cannot know Jesus and hurt the least of these.
- When you are racist and religious. Jesus came to die for all that all might have salvation. Galatians 3:26, 28 For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.
- When you are operating out of your flesh and not filled with the Holy Spirit, you are religious but not right. Ananias came and laid hands in Saul so he could be filled with the Holy Spirit, then the scales fell off his eyes! We will not be able to see people of different races and different economic backgrounds as brothers and sisters until the Holy Spirit transforms our minds. Religious people know scripture but they don’t know Jesus. Jesus is love! You cannot hate your brother and claim you know God.
Whether you identify with the left or the right it’s time to get right! We need to repent of our racist religious ways and get right with God through repentance. We have to repent of mass incarceration, the criminalization of poor black people, the suppression of women, and the oppression of the poor. Jesus said, “the spirit of the Lord is upon me to preach good news to the poor, Give sight to the blind, and set the captives free!” What if the poor, blind, and captive is you? Get right church and let’s go home!
Help this country to repent of its “un-right-ness” we have not dealt mercifully and justly with the least of these. We have hidden our political agendas of racial oppression behind religious language. Our country is divided by those on the left and those on the right but at the center is Jesus. Center us today in the Justice and mercy of Jesus. Remove the scales of racial and class presuppositions. Help us to see each other as you see us. We are all your children, red, yellow, black, and white; we are precious in your sight. Help us to love all your children in this world!
In Jesus Name,