It is our duty as Christians to boldly and relentlessly proclaim the truth of the Gospel and align our lives with the Gospel. In the book of Galatians, the apostle Paul lovingly rebuked Peter and others for their racism and prejudice. Their behavior and hearts were “not acting in line with the truth of the Gospel.”- Galatians 2:14 This Gospel is that Jesus came to abolish sin. He came to unite all of humanity through His blood and to create a new people that can love one another from complete genuineness of heart and deep brotherly affection (Ephesians 4 & 5). The Gospel helps us see that because of Christ, every soul, person, and being is valuable. Because of Christ, we can love people that physically may not look like us, speak like us, grow up like us, be the same age as us, speak the same language as us, or have the same experiences as us. Because of Christ, real LOVE, not hate, can prevail. How? Because in Christ we are ALL CHILDREN OF GOD, THROUGH FAITH (Faith demonstrated through repentance and obedience by water baptism for remission of sin, Romans 6:1-6). MY CHALLENGE TO ALL OF US IS TO ALWAYS SEEK TO ACT, SPEAK, AND LOVE IN LINE WITH THE TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL. For the Gospel is the solution to SIN, even the sin of RACISM.
People may see my caramel and light brown skin and wonder my historical background and story. Here’s the truth. I have several blood lines running through my veins. My great grandmothers and great grandfathers were on both sides of the fence, or I should say, plantation. Many of my grandmothers were raped by the slave owners. Which would make the slave owners, biologically my grandfathers. So, my blood line consists of those who owned the plantations, those who slaved inside the plantations, those who slaved outside on the plantations, and those who were killed on the plantations. Many of my ancestors were taken on boats from Africa and stripped of their dignity, while simultaneously my other ancestors were the ones who took them, stripped them, and enslaved them. If I’m honest, so many parts of my history and my story grieves me. However, I still embrace the reality, that I, Ashley Moneet Williams, have been affected by all my experiences, whether good or bad. They all have served a part in shaping me into the woman I am today.
I was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, where I was surrounded by love and deep black culture. But, even at a young age, I was taught God and taught to love all people, even those who didn’t look like me. At age 11, my family and I moved overseas to London, England because of my dad’s job. While overseas, I was exposed to many different nations, cultures, and people made in the image of God. People such as, Italians, Germans, British, Spanish, Australians, Ghanaians, Nigerians, South Africans, Chinese, French and the list goes on and on. This exposure allowed me to see the complexity of humanity and how God made us all uniquely different, but still all beautiful. This exposure also helped me see just how real the sin of racism and prejudice is, not just in America, but worldwide. Through my experiences, I learned how to adapt, communicate, & relate to those who were physically and racially different from me. It wasn’t easy because of the societal injustices, prejudices, and mistreatments. However, God, through His great love and strength, helped me THEN and is still helping me NOW.
I’m extremely humbled by my history and my experiences. But you know what? I’m even more humbled by “His-tory”/Christ Story. Because of Christ, I have a greater blood line flowing through me that supersedes any other blood line. I also have experienced a greater exposure than all my other exposures. I was exposed to Christ love and forgiveness through obedience to the Gospel, by water baptism (Acts 2:38, Romans 6:1-6). As a result, by faith, the blood of Christ runs through me, empowers me, and connects me to fellow heirs of God’s promise.
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our sins, according to the riches of His grace.”-Ephesians 1:7
In Christ, I am a new creature and because of Christ, I have a new mind, a new heart, and a new purpose (2 Cor 5:17). I don’t have to respond or act out of my flesh, but I can be empowered and led by His Spirit. I don’t have to leave room for hate within my heart because Christ love can occupy all the space in my heart. If I continue to allow the love of God to flow within me and through me, how can I allow racism or continual disdain toward anyone be a part of my life? It is my duty as a Christian, to show the world what love is, even when it’s hard, even when it hurts, and even if it’s not reciprocated. That’s exactly what Jesus did for me and for you.
The Power of the Gospel
EVERY human being created was made in the image of God. And every Christian, is an IMAGE BEARER of Christ’s love. Because of these truths, I understand that if I choose to allow racism, or prejudice rule my life, I am either mistreating someone in my spiritual family or I’m forgoing my gospel mission opportunity. If they are fellow heirs with me in God’s kingdom and I choose to be racist, I’m simply hating my fellow brother or sister. And God says all those who practice hatred, will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:20-21). If I am mistreating someone because of their skin color or background and they are not a Christian, I am STILL committing the sin of hatred. How? Because, it is my duty to show them Christ and His love, in hopes that they may obey the gospel so their soul can be saved. What society says, promotes, or lives by, does not take precedence over God’s eternal command. We are to LOVE. It is not optional.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”-John 15:12
The Gospel Plea: “If we have not love, we have nothing.”
My exposure to Christ and His love has changed me forever and I want it to change you too. You see, the power to overcome racism does not lie within you, me, or this world, but it lies in the Gospel of Christ and His love. It is Christ that helps us love our brethren and fellow man. The Gospel message screams, “the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself in love.”-Galatians 5:6. Christ sacrificed His life for all of humanity, and we should be willing to sacrifice for the Gospel of Christ. If we have not love, we have nothing. God made all the physical nations for a reason. He allowed us to have different skin complexions, hair, body shapes, voices, dialects, and languages all for a reason.
Even as a Christian, I acknowledge that in this world, I am an African-American woman and my history has shaped me in many ways. I also acknowledge that as an African-American woman there are still certain societal injustices and mistreatment that I have experienced and that SO many African-Americans unfortunately face. It’s absolutely heartbreaking to see these injustices in our current society! These injustices are not in align with God’s word, God’s love, or God’s will. These injustices and the sin of racism should be addressed with love and godly wisdom. As a Christian, I don’t have to ignore my skin color, my history, the painful parts of my story, or the blatant sin of racism that is still occurring. God does not expect me or anyone to ignore our stories. The key however, is allowing “our personal history and story” to show forth, “HIS-tory”, meaning God’s story to redeem mankind from sin. Our goal should be eternally focused. We should seek to use all of our experiences good, or bad, to show forth God’s GLORIOUS GOSPEL STORY.
“He himself bore our sins in HIs body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.”
-1 Peter 2:24
I’ll end with this. One of the astounding joys of the Gospel, is that through it, God has created a new people that have been reconciled back to Him, by remission of sins, through Christ blood. It’s a people who are physically from different nations, but people who are a part of the same spiritual-eternal nation…THE KINGDOM OF GOD. It’s a people who stand and live in the freedom of Christ love. It’s a people who do not ignore the reality of societal pressures, historical or present injustices, but they do not allow these injustices stop them from living and proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus. It’s a people who realize that they do not “fight against flesh and blood but against principalities, against authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”-Eph 6:12. It’s a people who refuse to accept division and racism of any kind. It’s a people who make an effort every day to break down the barriers of sin and love humanity genuinely and deeply within. It’s a people who embrace brown brothers, white sisters, black grandmothers, and ALL people. It’s a people who understand we were all created by the same Maker, God Himself. It’s a people who refuse to allow their flesh, get in the way of the power of the Spirit and the unity the Spirit accomplishes. It’s a people who do not remain silent in today’s world about the sin of racism and the injustices and destruction that racism brings. It’s a people who choose to speak boldly, confidently, and lovingly about the solution…THE GOSPEL.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.”-1 Peter 2:9
So, what does the Gospel say about racism? It says, that racism is SIN, and it’s sin that Christ hung on a tree and bled and died for. It says that CHRIST LOVE is and will forever be GREATER THAN Satan’s hate. The Gospel is relevant, yesterday, today, tomorrow, and forever! And as long as I have breath in my body, I will proclaim this truth. We have to stop the hate & racism and allow God’s love, that has been demonstrated through the Gospel, to truly prevail.