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Seeing God’s Image in All Men

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
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January 15, 2024 3:09 am

Seeing God’s Image in All Men

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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January 15, 2024 3:09 am

Pastor Miles McPherson challenges believers of all skin tones to consider the fact that grouping humans by skin color promotes racism, which hinders the gospel. He encourages us to treat every person like they truly were created in the image of God.


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Today on Focus on the Family with Jim Daly, we'll reflect on the judgments that we tend to make based on the color of a person's skin. When you get a tan in Hawaii, it's beautiful. When you get a tan in the womb, it's criminalized. When you get a tan in the womb, it's scary.

It's inferior. Today's guest is going to encourage us to see God's image in everyone. Your host is Focus President and author Jim Daly, and I'm John Fuller. Well, as we commemorate the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King here in the U.S., we thought it would be appropriate to share a message from Pastor Miles McPherson. Pastor Miles is passionate on the issue of race relations. He's out there trying to make a difference and build bridges in racially divided communities across the country. As a former player in the NFL, Miles has personally experienced racism and has witnessed its devastating effects, so buckle up. We've got a fast-paced presentation ahead, and I know you'll be inspired to reach out to others across racial boundaries. Here now is Miles McPherson speaking at a conference on racial reconciliation at Seacoast Church in Alabama, and we're going to be diving in just after his opening remarks. There's a Japanese ancient art form called kitsugi. I was probably pronouncing it wrong. And in kitsugi, they take pottery that was broken and they bring it back together.

They reassemble the pottery with gold, and they take all the pieces and put the pottery back together, and the belief is that the pottery that was repaired is more valuable than the original. Satan has done an amazing job at splitting us apart. And by the way, Satan's the enemy, not the white man, not the black man, not the poor, not the immigrant.

Satan's the enemy, can I get amen? And Satan has done a great job of dividing us through different kinds of racism, personally mediated racism, one to another. White, black, Hispanic, Asian, it's not a white, black thing, only it's all of us, all around the world globally as well. Internalized racism where people start to internalize the message that they have been told. There are people who have been told that they're less than and now believe it, and they hate themselves and their own culture. Internalized racism, you might not have heard of that.

And then there's institutional racism, there's systems designed to keep people in place. The devil has done an amazing job of splitting us apart, but God, Jesus has this thing about bringing broken pieces together, can I get amen? He has this thing about making things that were ugly, beautiful, broken, fixed. And he can't do it and won't do it except through us. We are his vehicle.

It has to be us, but we have to do something different. We have to move past the optics of diversity. You can have lots of colors and nationalities in your church and in your house, but they're not in your heart. They can be in your room, but you don't have a ministry. You can have a diverse crowd, but not a diverse ministry. So we want to move past churches ministering to neighborhoods where they feel comfortable and all the neighborhoods that God has given them.

Don't drive around. I had a prayer meeting in San Diego years ago and I intentionally put it in the black community. And I had pastors driving there and they said, we've never been to this part of the town. I said, so you're telling me you fly to Africa to minister to the poor black people, but you won't go 10 minutes right down the street. Amen. We have to get past where God says, I'm going to call you to go wherever. And by the way, if you're a black church in the black community, are you going to the Hispanic community right down the street?

If you're a Hispanic, are you going to the black church? It's all of us. Can I get amen? It's all of us.

So we got to move past it. Let me give you some context of who I am and where I get this from. I have two black grandfathers from Jamaica, all my grandparents from Jamaica.

I'm not going to do this though. I got 40 jobs, brother, 40 jobs. Two, both my grandmothers, all my grandparents grew up in Jamaica. One grandmother was half Chinese, half black. The other grandmother was white. Her parents sent her from Jamaica with Cindy's.

They didn't want her to marry a black Jamaican, so they sent her to Jamaica, New York, where she met a black Jamaican. I grew up in a black neighborhood, went to school in a white neighborhood. Because of this tan color, I was too dark for the white people, so I got called all those names.

I was too light for the black people, so I got called all those names. So that's why I'm learning Spanish. My church is also as diverse as San Diego. My church is also diverse as San Diego.

We are leaning into this. Two years ago there was a shooting in San Diego. An immigrant from Uganda was shot by a police officer. It was filmed. It was put on TV.

For a week, our city did this. And for a week, the devil said, you have to pick one of each side. You have to be against the police or for the police, for the black community, against the black community. The devil gave you two options. In every race conversation, the devil is only going to give you two options. And in those two options, he's going to say, you're going to be on one side against the other, fighting the other, and you have to pick.

This is the third option. In Joshua, read this real quick. In Joshua chapter 5, Joshua is leading the Jews into the promised land. It says in verse 13, it came to pass when Joshua was by Jericho that he lifted his eyes up and looked, and behold, a man stood opposite him with a sword. And Joshua said to him, are you for us or our adversaries?

An angel. You have to pick a side. Are you on our side or their side?

The angel said, homie don't do that. I don't pick sides. I am the side. So he said, are you for us or them? He said, no. He said, no, I ain't ask you that.

Are you for us? He said, no. He said, if you bow down, I'm not going to read the whole thing. You bow down and worship.

The only way you're going to get into the promised land, if you honor and worship the presence of God in your midst. This is not about you. It's not about you. It's not about you. It's about God.

Can I get an amen? And so I want to talk to you about that because the third option is that we look at every single one of us. And by the way, save or not save people. People you don't like. People you have nothing in common with every single person. What do we have 100% in common? By the way, we're all 99.9% genetically the same.

I'm not even talking about that. White, black, Asian, rich, poor, you're 99.9% genetically exactly the same. But you are 100% the same that God has given the same image to every single one of us.

Amen. And the image of God has the responsibility to acknowledge itself in other people. Image of God has the ability to acknowledge itself in other people. The image of God has the ability to walk with God, love like God, forgive like God, encourage like God, speak like God. We do God a disservice when we are racist or when we look down on people. Because we are looking at the image of God in someone else saying, your image is inferior to my image. When that's not biblical at all. That every single image is the same value because God can't look down on himself. He's the same yesterday, today, tomorrow and he's the same there, there, there, there, there, there in every single one of us. And so I want to talk about how we got divided.

Here's what I'm talking about. How we got divided and then how we can apply the third option and bring us back together. Sociologists call it, call our division grouping. In-group, out-group.

Grouping is the way we sort people into either like me or not like me. This is a group. Christians, ministers, senior pastors is a group. Mega church senior pastors is another group. Women are a group. Men are a group.

Youth pastors are a group. We're all part of many groups. And when you are in part of a group, you are intimately involved and intimately knowledgeable about your group. Whatever group you're not in, that's called your out-group.

You don't know information about that. That's why we make ignorant statements about people we don't know about. We say those people because we don't know and we're ignorant so we shouldn't say anything. But that's the out-group. But your in-group, you know all the intricacies of your in-group. There's a thing called in-group bias. In-group bias is your tendency to give preferential treatment to the people of your in-group. I want you to think with me right now.

And by the way, take this personal, but don't take it personal. Do you find what I'm saying? Let the spirit of God minister to you.

We got to get past this. In-group bias is when you look at people who are like you, whether it be by profession, by race, by look, and you give them preferential treatment. I'm going to give you a list of some things and they're going to go on the screen. I am more comfortable with those like me. I am more inclined to spend time socially with those like me. I am more patient with those like me. I give the benefit of the doubt quicker to those like me. I express more grace given when mistakes are made to those like me. It is easier to communicate with those like me. I assume I will get along easier with those like me. I am more willing to go out of my way to help those like me. I possess more positive assumptions about those like me.

Say amen if that makes sense. Hey, we're in Alabama and a guy walks in the room. Hey, how are you doing? I play for the football team. Oh, you're part of my in-group. I'm going to give you grace.

How can I give it to you. Date my daughter. Everything is cool. Y'all do that in Alabama.

Y'all are good. Out-group discrimination is withholding in-group bias against people. Why? Because they're not part of your group. I am less comfortable with those not like me. I am less inclined to spend time socially with those like me. I am less patient with those not like me. I give the benefit of the doubt slower to those not like me. I express less grace when mistakes are made by those not like me. It is more difficult to communicate with those not like me. I don't assume you will get along with those not like me. I am less willing to go out of my way to help those not like me. People say I am a racist or not a racist. You only have two choices.

Here is your third choice. You are human and work better at being unbiased. You can say, you know what, maybe I give preference and treatment to people who look like me better than people who don't because I feel more comfortable with them. That's fine. You may not have a white sheet or whatever form of racism your people, whatever your people are, express.

All of us. But the outgrowth, if I walk into a room and someone is going to give me less patience and less grace, I don't care what you call it, it ain't good. I had a lady come up to me and say, why can't you just get over it. I said, here's what I want you to do. And I created this thing called walk in my shoes field trip. I said, this white lady, she's a dear friend, I love her to death. God speaks to her through me. You can not know these things and be a very nice person.

But then you need to learn. I said, why don't you go to a place where you are the only white person. Just for ten minutes. Just try it. She's like, well, well, well. She did it.

She did it. I had all of these questions I want you to ask. I want you to tell me how you felt when I asked you. How you felt when you were driving there. How you felt when you were there. How did people treat you. Did what you feared happen. I wrote all of this stuff down.

I asked six people and two of them said no. And one guy went on ten minutes while he wouldn't go and I had him write a paragraph to tell why he didn't want to. If I went to a black church I would feel uncomfortable and I had to leave right away. And when people say can't you get over it. I am like, you have been living amidst your in-group. You flow in your in-group all day and night. You are getting preferential treatment over the out-group all day and night. So you don't understand what it means to have that not like me.

Every day. I want you to flip the script in this room. Most of the people in this room are white. I want you to flip it. I want you to make believe that all the people in this room that are white are not white.

And then all the people not white are white. Y'all follow what I am saying. And I wonder how many of you white people come here. I wonder if you registered to come. That's not my crowd.

Why? We're here. We're walking in the midst of out-group. Are y'all following what I am saying. You have to in your mind think, how does that make me feel?

Why does it make me feel that way? Because that's where God can work. Does that make you a racist?

Absolutely not necessary. That's something I can learn. You can go today and go someplace and say, listen, don't go automatically to I got to go to danger zone.

God put his image in all kinds of shades. And wonderful people. And because it's an out-group, you may only have anecdotal information. And so you generalize. And you see stuff on TV and someone told you this.

But you have no personal experience. That's where relationship, Pastor Chris talked about touch. Hey, I'll be right here after. Come touch me.

Come touch me. Dr. Steven Jones in San Diego wrote this article called the right hand of privilege. This country was designed for right-handed people.

Literally. Most people are right-handed. I'm left-handed. So because I'm left-handed, I got to go to, you know what I'm saying.

Who's left-handed? Amen. Okay, so you can't just go get golf clubs at any place. You got to go to an extra store.

You can't get a mint. When you're at school it's a right-handed desk. And you're like this.

Are you following me? You got to go through extra steps. I want you to imagine if you're in-group just because made a right-handed culture. But you're left-handed. So you have to live in a right-handed culture.

It's not the same. And so you're walking in a right-handed culture and because you're right-handed, what's the problem? Right-handed people go, I don't see the problem. I don't see the problem. Everything fits.

I can buy everything. I don't know why. What are you talking about?

What are you worried about? And then someone comes left-handed and says, I can't use that desk. I can't use that club. I can't use those clubs. I can't find a store.

I got to go on Amazon in order. Come here, God. This is too far. Four things I want to give you.

Just a respect time. Four things. Four things I want you to do. Please put these down.

Write these down. Rename everybody you see as your brother and your sister. Why? Look at what it says in Matthew chapter. God hit me with this. Matthew chapter 22, 37. You shall love your God with all your heart and soul and mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Everyone say neighbor. If someone says I love God and hates his brother. Say brother. Say sister. If you say you are a liar, how does he not love his brother and sister. Say brother and sister. Whom he has seen. How can he love God that he has not seen. The Bible says you have to love your neighbor and brother as yourself. Number one commandment, if you can't do that, everything else is nullified. But what if they are not your brother?

What if you rename them? Oh, they are not like you. They are not like you. They are down here. When I used to watch cowboys and Indian movies, they were called the Indian savages. They weren't people. They were down here. Blacks were called animals.

Down here. So if you are not, if you call someone an N word or a white privilege or an illegal or an Arab or whatever you call people. As soon as you do that, you give yourself permission not to love them. Because you just changed their identification. So therefore I need to be your brother. Because the devil is the enemy, not me. And you are my brother. You are not my enemy.

The devil is your enemy. Amen. Number 2.

Number 2. Give in-group love to your out-group. Next time you are around people that don't look like you. This applies to all kinds of stuff.

It's just the Bible. All kinds. Next time you are in a place and see someone that is not like you. And by the way, they may be the only one not like you in the room. If you are a minority and one white person and one Hispanic person. Give them the same grace that you give your people. Think about that.

Number 3. See my color. Stop saying you don't see color. Hey, when you go out and get a tan, I go to Hawaii every year. Yes, we tan. I get a tan in Hawaii.

I go to town. Ladies, you get a tan and date a guy and come to work and spend five days getting your brown on and come with your spaghetti strap and see my brown and for five days the dude you are trying to get attention to says nothing about your tan. And you are like, do you not see my tan? And he says to you, I don't see color.

That ain't happening. When you get a tan in Hawaii, it's beautiful. When you get a tan in the womb, it's criminalized.

When you get a tan in the womb, it's scary. It's inferior. I am not saying that all of y'all think that. I am saying this is the difference. When you say you don't see color, you are nullifying not only the color but the burden that comes with the color.

You are nullifying the experience of being in the out group. When the first people said I don't see your color, I thought they didn't see red, green, brown. That's so sad.

Everything is gray. I don't get it. I didn't understand.

And they were like, no, no, no. I don't see your color. And I was like, well, how do you know even to say that to me if you don't see it?

So I'm confused. So then I said, well, what color am I? I mean, did you make me like you? I want to be like me.

And I want you to be like you. And I was watching Sam for the Sun. Y'all know Sam for the Sun?

Oh, my goodness. So Red Fox was a comedian, African-American comedian and raunchy and hilarious and had a show on TV and relatively clean and a junk man in Los Angeles and two cops came to the house. One cop was black and white and the black cop had to interpret it.

It was hilarious. And the white cop was very formal and talked straight and someone robbed Fred G. Sanford's house. And he said, Mr. Sanford, was the perpetrator colored? And he goes, yeah, he was colored white.

The devil says you have two options. White people and people of color. God says, no, no, no, I made all of y'all colored. And I made all of y'all color to be beautiful. Everyone say I am beautiful.

End of story. You white people are beautiful. You black people are beautiful. Everyone is beautiful. That's it. Fourthly, give me your heart.

And when I say me, give each other our heart. Rod Carew is a Panamanian baseball player. He's older so a lot of y'all might not know him. But he was Panamanian.

If you saw him on the street, you would think he was black Panamanian. He had 328 batting average, 3,000 hits, 18-time all-star. Rookie of the year. He was the man. And I grew up on Rod Carew. When he was 71 he had a heart attack and needed a heart and a heart attack. At the time there was a 27-year-old white tight end NFL played at Stanford named Conrad. And Conrad went into a coma. And Conrad in the coma, his mother put her head on his chest and says, baby, you're going to get up one day, I'm going to hear your heart again. Well, Conrad died. And right before Conrad died he gave his body and organs to be donated. And Rod Carew got his heart. So Rod Carew calls Conrad's mother. Conrad's mother calls Rod Carew. You have my son's heart. Rod Carew says, do you want to come listen to your son's heart?

He goes over the house and she puts her head on his chest and hears her son's heart again. And when Conrad was 11 years old he met Rod Carew. And he came home and said, mom, I'm going to be a professional athlete because I met my hero.

How is it that a white man's heart can be in a Panamanian black man if we're so different? I'm going to end with a story. Let me end with a story. There was a guy who was hunting in the woods and he saw this monster coming at him. And the monster was 100 yards away and trying to get a good shot. And kept getting closer and closer.

Behind a tree, behind a rock. And he said, this thing is going to kill me, I have to shoot it. And next thing you know the monster was right here. And realized it wasn't a monster, it was his brother. There is no monsters in here. There are people who do bad things.

And by the way, they look all kinds of shades. But we're not monsters. God made us in his image so we can honor him and speak life like him into himself and other people. And if we can understand and realize and see each other as brothers and sisters and we're all one family. Then God can bring this broken fractured nation back together. Lord Jesus, thank you so much for your faithfulness. Thank you for your goodness. We honor you and praise you in Jesus' name, amen. Amen. Amen. God bless you.

Whoa! Pastor Miles McPherson getting a standing ovation there from pastors and other leaders who are gathered at a racial reconciliation conference in Alabama. What a passionate plea for unity and that Pastor Miles is right on the money when he asks each one of us to see God's image No matter what their color, how could we do any less? And over the past few years, I've become much more aware of this issue. And here's what it really gets down to. We need to open our hearts and minds to what other people are experiencing. It doesn't have to be a Latino, a black, white issue.

It's just what are they encountering in the culture and understanding it? For example, we had a board member, an African American man, and he was explaining to me the phrase driving while black. I didn't know what he was talking about. And he said, this is when you have boys in the black community, you have to sit them down and explain to them, okay, this is what's gonna happen to you. You're gonna get pulled over and when it happens, you put your hands on the wheel, you don't reach for anything, an officer will come up to the driver's window and you need to be extremely respectful to them. And I said, well, why is that different from other people being pulled over?

And he said, because we tend to be more targeted. He said, I own an old beat up pickup truck that I use around the acreage we have. And I also own a Mercedes.

He was a former executive with IBM. And he went on to say, I never get pulled over in the old truck because it fits the stereotype. But when I'm in my Mercedes, officers will pull me over because they think maybe I'm a drug dealer or something else. And I was dumbfounded as a white guy. I'm sitting here thinking, this is a challenge I've never experienced. But as a Christian, it should bother me that that's the treatment. Yeah, that's something that is foreign to me.

I can't imagine having to have that kind of a conversation with my boys. Well, right, and I know some are gonna say, Jim, that's baloney. But folks, this is the point, open your ears, listen to other people's viewpoints and experiences. We need to better understand one another. And I think when we do that, we actually build a bridge and we have empathy and we are expressing the very commandment that Jesus gave us and that is to love your neighbor.

And that's what's most important. The best way to follow up on this message, in my opinion, is to get a copy of the book by Pastor Myles McPherson called The Third Option, Hope for a Racially Divided Nation. Get your copy directly from Focus on the Family for a donation of any amount. And we'll include a free audio download of this outstanding message. So please join us in ministry today. Yeah, you can donate online and request your copy of The Third Option when you follow the link in the episode notes or call for details, 800, the letter A and the word family. Next time, we'll hear from Kathy Lipp as she shares her adventure of what she calls accidental homesteading and how it changed her life.

Our relationship with God and with others looks radically different. Whereas we might go out to dinner with friends before, now they are coming for a weekend and we can talk deeply. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening to this Focus on the Family podcast. Take a moment please and leave a rating in your podcast app and then share this episode with a friend, won't you?

I'm John Fuller inviting you back next time as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ. As a parent, it's easy to find myself sitting backseat to my kids in the backseat. It's tough to be a step ahead and full honesty, I'm pretty hard on myself when that happens. But I've found Practice Makes Parent, a podcast from Focus on the Family hosted by Dr. Danny Huerta and Rebecca St. James. It helps me be more intentional and not feel alone when things get tough. Everything they share is practical and well-practiced and I can use it right away. Listen to Practice Makes Parent wherever you get your podcasts.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-15 04:56:13 / 2024-01-15 05:08:47 / 13

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