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Offering Grace to People Different From You

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
January 18, 2021 5:00 am

Offering Grace to People Different From You

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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January 18, 2021 5:00 am

In view of the heightened racial tension in our society, Dr. David Anderson offers insight and encouragement for how we can all help build bridges between races and bring peace, hope, and justice to our communities.

Get Dr. Anderson's book "Gracism: The Art of Inclusion" for your donation of any amount:

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Hi, I'm Jim Daly. Are you struggling to make sense of all the chaos that's happening around us? It's time to come together to pray for our country. Join with Focus on the Family on Inauguration Day, Wednesday, January 20th to pray for our country, for marriages, families, churches, and for unity with our fellow citizens. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and pray with us live at 10 a.m. Eastern Time on Inauguration Day at slash national prayer. When the majority reaches out to serve in a loving, non-arrogant way to the minority, what you're actually doing is you're standing up for them and you're standing with them. And if I would stand with you when you're going through struggles and you would stand with me when I'm going through struggles, we wouldn't have division. Dr. David Anderson joins us today on Focus on the Family and your host is Focus President and author Jim Daly. Thanks for joining us.

I'm John Fuller. John, today we remember, honor, and celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the peaceful legacy he established in terms of civil rights. As you know, 2020 saw an escalation in violence and riots, bringing the subject of racism back into the headlines in our everyday conversation. You know, Dr. King's legacy is more important than ever before, even though it's been many years since his death. More than 50 years ago, he gave his iconic I Have a Dream speech painting a vision for the United States that someday we might be able to live out its creed that all men are created equal and that we're measured by the content of our character, not the color of our skin. He also described his hope that the different races will join hands as brothers and sisters and that's a great vision for the future. That's what God would call his people to do and while we've made some great strides toward equality, there's a long way to go and I'm grateful that we're going to address this topic on this day. Yeah, and Dr. Anderson is the founder and senior pastor of Bridgeway Community Church located in Maryland and is the host of the daily radio talk show Real Talk with Dr. David Anderson. He and his wife Amber have three adult children and he's written a number of books and the one we're really dialing into today is called Gracism, the Art of Inclusion and we've got that.

The episode notes have the details. David, welcome to Focus on the Family. So good to be with you, Jim and John. Yeah, it's good to have you. You mentioned that you've listened to Focus but haven't visited the campus so I'm excited that you're here.

It's so good to be here in the studio and the ministry that Focus has had for so many years and decades has been a blessing all around the world so thank you. David, I do want to get into this. I mean this is such a in some ways delicate discussion but we need to be open about especially as believers in Jesus, right?

Yeah. When you look at the division in the country along all these different lines, you know, race is only one but socioeconomic division, rich and poor and so many others. What do you think as a pastor, what do you think's going on?

Some of this is as old as human beings, right? But what do you think today looks like spiritually? Well, you know, they say that 11 a.m on a Sunday morning is the most segregated hour of the week. I'm glad that that's not true at Bridgeway and many other churches are moving in that direction.

I'm so grateful. I know we have over 60 different nations that come together. It's a beautiful multicultural ministry.

Let me ask you why that is. I think, you know, I've been to both churches. We're in a multi-racial church now. Pastor Al Pittman here in Colorado Springs, he was my pastor in the south end of town and but we say that issue of segregation.

Is it demographics or is it that people are going out of their way not to mix with other people that don't look like them? Yeah, I think the separation of churches happened based out of slavery, right? And so then when African American churches finally came birthed out of that, that's where you got the initial separation.

And then, of course, when other ethnic groups come, they want to come together to try to learn not only about Christ, but how do they integrate and assimilate into American society? So the initial divisions, of course, came out of out of slavery. You probably remember and knew this that, you know, there was one hour out of the week that slaves could be by themselves, and that was when their white masters went to church.

So that's where sort of that black connection took place. And then as we move forward, they were able to be in the back of the church and with their white masters. And so that was their religion for a while.

But then there was pain there. And they were like, just start your own thing. So that's where the AME church started. And so all of it kind of started that way. But when you think about what God's vision for the church is way before America, we know that on the very first day of the very first church, it was a multicultural, multiethnic explosion of God's Spirit, empowered by the Holy Spirit to worship Jesus Christ. And over 3,000 men at least that are recorded got saved that day. And that was the beginning of the church. And so that was God's vision. And that was in the first century. What happened to 20, 21 centuries after that?

We screwed it up. But this was always God's desire, hasn't it? Yeah, it's a beautiful picture of that first church service, and Jesus leading the way there. Absolutely.

That's good. You grew up in a community where race didn't seem to be an issue in, I believe, in Maryland. Well, in Maryland, it was very multicultural, right? I wouldn't say race wasn't an issue.

I would say because you had so many different people living in the metropolitan area, you didn't have some of the same issues that you might have if you go to Chicago. Right. And you went to Chicago to go to Bible school at Moody, and that was the contrast I was gonna paint. Exactly. What was that difference like?

And paint a picture for us. Well, you know, when I was in Prince George's County, Maryland, where I sort of grew up and outside of DC, you had black people who were poor, and black people who were rich, and black people were middle class. It was just normal. Educated, had mom and a dad like me.

So that was normal for me. So I wasn't so special, right? And my friends weren't so special. So everybody, white, black, Asian, Hispanic, were at all the different strata.

So you didn't pigeonhole, there's a black person who must be poor. Yeah, there's more comfortableness, maybe, with everybody. Yeah, so then you go to Chicago, and I'm thinking, I'm gonna go to this place called Moody Bible Institute, where I ended up, you know, becoming the first black president of the student body, and then of the board and all that. But before then, I was scared, am I gonna go to this all white school? And all the girls are gonna have long, long dresses and big, thick glasses, and are they gonna accept me? So these are all my stereotypes.

I got there, it was in the middle of the city. People were cool. The guys were in jams and sunglasses.

I'm like, wow. Okay, so all white Christians aren't like that. Okay, so you know, you don't get out of your own environment. So you have stereotypes of them. They have stereotypes of you. But the difference demographically, Jim and John was, it was very segregated. Yeah, based on migration and everything else. So then the lowest of the poor, right, were in that Chicago area. So you identify poor with black.

And so then I'd come along and be like, well, you're special. You're different. Well, not from where I came from, maybe from what your experience is. So much of it is context, isn't it? It sure is. Let's move to your book, gracism. I love the title.

You should be proud of it. But describe what overarching theme you're wanting to achieve. I mean, the title probably says it, but what is gracism all about? You know, it's two words, a bad word and a good word that come together and create a new word that concept that emerges. The bad word is racism, which is to speak, act or think negatively about someone else solely based on their color, class or culture.

So to speak, act or think about someone else negatively solely based on their color, class or culture. That's a bad word. Then we have grace. What a beautiful concept just to say it feels good, right? Grace is that unmerited favor from God. We don't deserve it. We don't earn it. We can't repay it. It's just given to us. Wow.

Right. And so when you put those two words together, you get gracism, which is the positive extension of favor to other people, regardless of maybe sometimes even because of their color, class or culture. So it's extending favor. And I say the G stands for God. You put God in front of any problem. He'll give you the solution to it and the strength to get through it. So I believe that gracism is God's solution to racism. And it all comes out of a first Corinthians 12 passage that I was studying one day.

Give it to us. What's the passage. The passage talks about one body with many members. And it's that passage in first Corinthians 12 that I read, I studied at Moody, but it just never hit me the way it hit me this one morning when the apostle Paul is about to talk about the differences and the distinctions of spiritual gifts. But then Paul does a really weird thing. Like any preacher, he has a point, but now he wants to back it up with a picture so you can see it. So now he makes his point around verse 12 or something. And then he gives a picture. It's like one body with many members.

Okay. Great analogy, Paul. And as he's about to explain it, he inserts almost a verse that doesn't seem to make sense.

He's he enters race and class and culture right in the context of spiritual gifts. I always thought that that whole passage was about spiritual gifts, but he mentions the analogy in verse 12. Then in verse 14, he starts saying, how could the eye say to the foot?

I don't need you. How could the ear say to, you know, and all that. So that's verse 12 and verse 14, he picks it up.

Well, what happens in 13, 13, he enters race and culture, Jews or Greek slave or free. We're all given the one spirit to drink. So now when you start reading that passage about the body, how can I say to the ear? I don't need you. How can a hand say to the foot? I don't need you.

God has combined, uh, the parts of the body as he designed them. You start reading that passage through that lens and all of a sudden it's like mind blowing like, wow, how can I say white man? I don't need you.

How can I say black man? I don't need you. How can the hand say to the foot?

I don't need you. Does that make you less part of the body? And then through the rest of that passage, he just opens it up with these terms that say, this is how we're supposed to love one another, care for one another, honor one another. And so he actually gives us the answer on how to be one, even though we have many different members. Isn't that cool? It's totally cool. It's great. You once received an email from a woman who had a gracious attitude or experience while waiting in line to board an airplane.

What, what give us that kind of experience? I think I was at a BWI Baltimore, Washington international airport. I wasn't there, but she was. And she writes me this email basically saying there was this long line. There was a Hispanic family, maybe two or three or four of them, something like that.

And they were trying to get into the line. They were trying to communicate, but their English wasn't very well. She was frustrated in line with this Latino family. And she remembered reading racism and she realized that if I'm going to be the graces, right, it's extending favor to people who are different than me. And so she extended favor and said, listen, you guys can just come right here in front of me and let me show you, this is the direction you need to go.

So she was able to be helpful to them because she had experienced the concept of racism. The pastor, let me ask you, the first saying of graces is I will lift you up and you have these, uh, I don't know if it's seven sayings, seven sayings of a graces. And so, right. So that, that one is I will lift you up. How have you experienced that with your own church and how can we lift others up as we go about our day? You know, the apostle Paul says that, uh, lifting one another up, if we're going to talk about how to, uh, extend favor to other people, one of the ways to do that is to lift others up. I remember when I went to England for the very first time, I was in an airport there and I was asking someone, how do I find the elevator?

And they were just kind of looking at me weird for a minute and realizing that they're pointing to something. They say, we call it a lift here. And what I learned that day was that's what I want to be. I want to be a lifter in people's life. When people step into the elevator of my life, I want to be able to lift them up to a higher plane. Now, sometimes you come in people's space and they take you down, but if you're a gracious, you want to always lift people up. So that's the first standard or principle. Let me just ask you for a practical example, because I want people to catch this.

This is really important stuff. So in terms of lifting people up, what would be an example of that? What you could look for throughout the day? Well, first of all, I think we can use our words, right? Encouragement.

Yeah. You can lift people with your words. Think about how you speak. You know, the scriptures tell us we ought to speak with wholesome words and we ought to speak words that build up. So it's biblical that we speak words that build people up. So then how can I build someone up that's different than me? A different color, a different class, a different culture, a different background. Gracism is about extending favor to other people because of, or maybe even in spite of their color, class or culture. So the gracest in the room is not thinking about how can I only lift up people that I like?

How can I lift up people that are different than me? Yeah. I like the second saying, I will cover you because it comes with a bit of a humorous story about your wife. I kind of giggled when I read this in the book. It was funny. What happened? I will cover you.

Yeah. So I will lift you comes from that phrase, a special honor, but I will cover you comes from the phrase in the text, special modesty. Covering is really about a sense of modesty.

It needs to really protect the most vulnerable among us from embarrassment or from harm. But I think the story you were laughing about is my wife. We're about to go out somewhere and my wife puts on this dress and she parades in front of me, what do you think about this, honey? And I looked at her, I'm like, baby, that looks really, really good. I think that that is a stay at home dress.

It looks so good it's a stay at home dress. In other words, my covering her is saying that that's something that I should be seeing, probably not something that other people should be seeing. And she wanted that feedback. And I'm glad I was honest with her, because actually we laughed about it. But it gave her a compliment at the same time. You look great. I love it. Good for me to see, probably not good for others to see. So what was I doing? I was covering her or shielding her from embarrassment or harm even. That's a great, great analogy.

Saying three is I will share with you. What does that get at? So that comes from the phrase in first Corinthians 12, where Paul says there's no need for special treatment. And so the idea of sharing is opening up your networks and resources to others who are systematically downtrodden and refusing special treatment that may hurt them. And so it's not like I don't like special treatment, but I'm not going to take special treatment. I'm going to refuse special treatment if it's on the backs of other people and it actually hurts them. But sharing is a cool thing. Instead of me saying, I don't want that special treatment, a better way to say it is, you know what, how can I get them in as well? How can I help them as well? So it's not just taking a piece of the pie and saying, let me give you a piece of my pie. It's actually saying, how can I open up my networks in such a way that you could also have a whole pie to yourself? That sounds like the spirit of generosity. It really is. Generosity is a beautiful spirit and absolutely saying not, am I just going to give to you, but I'm going to open up my networks so that you can actually, what I love to call grace anomics, you can actually use your grace to help the economics of other people so they can succeed as well.

That is so good. You share four easy ways to honor people. I think some people may say, ah, that doesn't sound easy because of the reasons you just noted, you know, our time commitments were stretched, but, uh, I think this rolls right into saying number four, which is I will honor you.

What are those four easy ways? Well, you know, one of the ways to honor people, first of all, you have to have an honorable mindset to say, you know what? I do actually want to honor people. And the phrase in the passage is greater honor. Like it actually says it. God is going to give greater honor to those who may not deserve it.

Wow. So God is saying there are certain groups of people who are unpresentable parts. There's certain groups of people who may be lacking status. And so what I'm going to do is I'm going to give greater honor to those people. So when we think about who are those silent servants, who are the people that are working before we show up to the mics, who are the people who are cleaning the campuses, who are the people who are setting up the chairs, who are the hidden heroes, we are looking for people that we can honor because they are not going to be prominent to get the honor that we might get because maybe we're on a stage or we're preaching or on the radio, things of that sort.

But you and I know all of us know it takes a lot of people to pull these kinds of things off. What honoring is saying intentionally, I'm going to think about those who have less honor and I'm going to bless them. So one of the ways is identifying people who are hidden heroes or silent servants. And then when you cross the gender line and the color line and the class line, now you're really like Christ because you're honoring people who may not have that same honor that you have.

So I think that's one of the ways you identify it. You can serve them, you can lift them up with your voice, but I think also a sense of stewardship where you say, you know what, my time is important. My money is well earned, but because God has been so gracious to give me this time and to give me these resources, I am going to think through how I could best honor other people with it. We have a small little hidden group, a generosity group that no one really knows about except the people who are in it. And the genesis of it was people would come to me and say, pastor, I have money I want to give to you that needs to go to someone else, but I don't know who it needs to go to. Would you find out who could use this money? I pray about them like I know exactly who could use it.

And then somebody else did it completely separated, doesn't even know the other person. Pastor, I have $500. Do you know a single mom who could use it? Pastor, I have $1,000.

Do you have a widow that could use it? Sure. Yeah, I know people, you know? And so I became the conduit to that blessing to other people and they would do it anonymously. And then the Lord kind of brought the idea to my mind. I wonder if these people would like to get to know one another. And this was all happening during the beginning of COVID.

So I said, let's get on a Zoom call. I want to introduce you all to people. So I introduced people who didn't know one another, but they were all doing the same thing.

So I thought maybe there's a spirit of the Lord who was working and he was. And so this group came together and within three months, this group had given out over $30,000 in mainly small gifts, you know, a thousand here, 500 here, maybe a 2000 there, generously, anonymously. Why? Because they want to honor people and not get the credit. Well, is that amazing? Yeah. And it's sweet. It's what the scripture is about. So we do it discreetly.

No one knows who these people are. And I love every minute of it. Saying five, I want to try to hit these. We've got a few minutes left. I will stand with you. I mean, this perhaps is the greatest demonstration of what Jesus has done for all of us, but standing with you, what does that look like? Especially in the racial context.

Yeah. And Paul mentions division here. He says that there would be no division in the body of the majority needs to help the minority and the stronger needs to help the weaker.

It keeps us from having division in the body. The reason why we have so much division is because we're not standing with one another. And so we're supposed to stand up for the needy. We're supposed to speak up for the voiceless as a focus on the family has done for decades. And we're supposed to come behind people and try to make sure that we care for them.

You know, Jesus, again, was a graceless and he reached out to the poor, to the prisoner, to the disabled, to the oppressed. And what happens is when the majority reaches out to serve in a loving non arrogant way to the minority, what you're actually doing is you're standing up for them and you're standing with them. And if I would stand with you when you're going through struggles and you would stand with me when I'm going through struggles, we wouldn't have division. But what happens is in Christianity, even, and this is the sad part, instead of standing with one another, we tend to stand against one another, which doesn't build trust, doesn't build trust.

It creates division. And we are the only living organism on the face of the planet that can bring people into a loving relationship with God. And we're divided ourselves. And Jesus says, if you love one another, then the world will know that you're my disciples, if you love one another. So when I stand up for you and with you, I'm actually demonstrating love. And then when you yeah, and then when you have your moment, you know, you go through your divorce, you go through your child's death, you go through your parents having dementia, I come and I stand with you.

And guess what? I'm going to have my moment. And you're going to remember that I stood with you. And now you're going to stand with me. Now, let me ask you a question.

Is anything going to break that division? Because now we're standing with one another and standing up for one another, as opposed to standing against one another. Yeah, it's it's a good word. Six is I will consider you I think you have a conversation with Harvey, that illustrates this. What was that conversation with guy at the Baltimore Harbor, I was walking by one day and saw him sat on a bench next to him, and just took a moment to just talk to him. You know, I just want to know about his homelessness. I want to know about his background. He said he used to be a lawyer. And he told me I had a divorce and crazy. Yeah, it wasn't like, you know, some guy that you have a lawyer, you know, it doesn't, you know, doesn't have any education and no teeth. No, this is a guy who was a lawyer. But now he's homeless.

And this homeless man is sitting on a park bench, or in a harbor bench. And so to be able to sit there with him and talk to him, when we were all done, you know, I didn't know whether I was supposed to get money or my number or whatever, we did exchange numbers. But what he said to me when we part it was, I think, the thing that made the most impact on me. And what he said was, the fact that you just stopped and talked to me and saw me has really changed my life. Thank you so much dignity, dignity. And the phrase here in the text of First Corinthians 12 is equal concern for one another. No, that is so good. And then seven, I will celebrate you.

I mean, that's an exciting one. Describe what that means to celebrate a person. We usually talk about suffering with those who suffer and that's in the text. But he also said in this passage, the Apostle Paul, rejoice with those who rejoice. And I used to think it was harder to suffer with people who suffer grieve with those who grieve.

But actually, I think it's harder to celebrate and rejoice with others when they have a win. In other words, if you're grieving the loss of something, I can empathize, sympathize and come down to your level, I'm still in a power position. I'm so sorry you're going through that. Here, let me hug you.

I'm sorry you lost your job, right? Okay, so I can suffer with you, but I'm still kind of coming down to a place of pain where you are and I'm not. But to rejoice means you're up, right? And so the grace that says, you know what, if something happened well for your community group, for your racial group, for your ethnic group, for whatever you are and you are experiencing, if something well happened, I'm gonna say congratulations.

I'm gonna not be a good loser. That's not the idea. It's much more like, you know, the same God that blesses me just blessed you.

I may not even agree with everything that is happening, but I'm going to celebrate this win for you. Well, Pastor David, I mean, you have described it and I think people need to get the book now, right? That's the goal. I would call you a gracest. You are a gracest. I want to be like God who is the biggest gracest of us all. And I think you guys are gracest.

I love it. I mean, it's simple principles, but I like that idea of building trust with other people. I mean, that's what it gets down to. And there's too much distrust and too many caricatures and stereotypes that go on all sides. And I hope we can begin to turn that corner. And we have made significant ground, but there's more ground to make.

And I think it really rests in what you have put forward here. Those next steps to get to a higher level and a better level closer to God's heart. Praise God. It's all founded in the scriptures. And so hopefully when people get the book, they'll also go into first Corinthians 12 and really dig for themselves. Yeah.

Homework assignment. I think it is. I think it is. I'm trying to live it out every day.

Yeah. We would love people to read that scripture, communicate with us, let us know what you think and get a copy of Pastor David's wonderful book, Gracism, to finish it out and figure out how to do those seven sayings well. And David has just been great to have you with us. Thank you so much. Thank you for your graciousness. It's great being with both of you, Jim and you, John.

God bless you. Let me turn to the listener. The heart behind David's message is rooted in a solid relationship with Jesus. And we want to start there. I mean, if you don't have that foundationally, that's our main goal at Focus on the Family. We are a Christian family organization, and we want you to have that relationship with Christ because so much falls into place when you get that right. So call us if you have questions. We're big folks here.

We can take it. If you have concerns or doubts, it's okay. We want to talk to you about who Jesus is and what his claims are and what life is like when you make that commitment to him. It's not about rules. It's about loving your creator.

And so many good things flow from that, including racism. And we hope you'll get in touch with us for that very important discussion. And then also, if you can make a gift of any amount, or if you can't afford it, we'll get it into your hands.

Pastor David's wonderful book, Gracism. Just get in touch with us. Others will cover the cost of that.

Our hidden supporters too that will cover that. So you have your own little generosity secret club. Yeah, we got a good generosity group here too.

And so just let us know you need the book, want the book, and we'll get it to you. If you can make a donation for any amount, we'll send it to you as our way of saying thank you. Donate as you can or call us if you'd like to get a hold of one of our counselors to talk through what it means to enter into a life-giving relationship with Jesus Christ. Our number is 800, the letter A, and the word family.

Or stop by the episode notes for more. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I'm John Fuller inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ. January is Sanctity of Human Life Month, and you can join Focus on the Family as we love every heartbeat. Whether you join us for the March for Life in Washington, DC, or you make an impact where you live, we can all stand up for the truth and for life. Share your heart, your kindness, and your hope with others through the 2021 March for Life and Sanctity of Human Life Month at March for Life. March for Life.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-02 21:59:34 / 2024-01-02 22:12:09 / 13

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