The Black man, Tom, glared at me across the dinner table. He growled, “You are prejudiced. If two white men were fighting, you might break them up. If a White and a Black were fighting, you might even break them up, cause one is white, but if two blacks were fighting, you would never break them up, because you are prejudiced despite your fine sounding words.” He sat back with a satisfied look because he knew he had me.
I sat for a moment, considering how to answer him, but one of the other blacks at the table, called Spoons, spoke first. “This fool of a white guy broke up two brothers who were fighting just last week. We tried to tell him that he had been stupid, he could have gotten hurt, but I think he would do it again.” Tom deflated, and at least respected what I had to say.
When I had first joined this group, I found a couple of people with whom I studied the Bible and prayed. The leader, Marco, and his lieutenants, would notice and turn up the noise. There would be times that I would be the only one not bowing to his leadership, which frustrated him a lot. Then I would turn around and give the three of them candy bars or something, spontaneously. This double message just didn’t fit in his world. Slowly he began to listen.
Neither Tom nor Marco came to the Bible Studies or the Prayer meetings, but others were watching this and began attending. Soon, we had 20 of the 30 men gathering with us. At this point, the others would say, “They are praying, let’s keep quiet out of respect.” Mind you, on the route here, I got tripped, I got knocked down, I got punched, and my friends wondered about me. I persisted because I knew that the Bible said, “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.” 2 Cor 4:5-7.
Don’t get in the trap that many people do by twisting Rom 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” They think it says “for my good.” It is for the good of the whole body. If I trip, I put out my hands to sacrifice them if necessary to protect my head and the trunk of my body. We need to be hands that are willing to sacrifice our life for the good of “Them that love God.” Do we sing with Paul and Silas in prison and get used mightily? Alternatively, do we get angry with God because my good is obviously not being in prison, being sick, losing my job, etc.? You will find that as you grow from the Child, “feed me” stage, to the young Adult, “I am a warrior for God”, to the Old Christian, “Use me to lead others to maturity no matter the cost”, you will relate more and more to John the Baptist, “He must become greater I must become less.” John 3:30. Don’t be like Heb 5:12 “Although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the basic principles of God’s revelation again. You need milk, not solid food.” Let’s aim to keep growing to maturity!