Loving our neighbours — all of them

Interaction on the stand at Orlando, Soweto, on June 11 2016, where Christians came together in a spirit of reconciliation to remember the 40th anniversary of the 1976 student uprising against apartheid education policy. (PHOTO: Neels Jackson, via eKerkbode )

With the ongoing racial tension in South Africa one cannot help but silently pray for God’s divine intervention for our nation.

Recently we’ve heard people publically using the bible to justify racism that diminishes black people. This makes one wonder — does God choose one race over another? Certainly not, God is for all of us.

Are black people a disgrace in humanity? No, we’ve all been fearfully and wonderfully made by God and none of us are a disgrace.

Unfortunately many people have abused the gospel to stir trouble among God’s people. The word gospel means “good news,” so the gospel of Christ is the good news of His coming to provide forgiveness of sins for all who will believe.

Good news bring joy, peace and excitement all around. Now this joy, peace and happiness is not for a particular race, it’s for all of creation.

Servants of God all agree that God does not favour one race over another. East London pastor, Khaya Maphinda said God was for every one, no special race or gender.

Quoting Acts 10:34 which reads “…I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism” Maphinda said at times individuals misinterpreted the bible for their own selfish reasons.

In a recent radio debate, Christian View Network’s Philip Rosenthal challenged the claims of KwaZulu-Natal guesthouse owner Andre Slade that according to the bible black people are slaves and that white people do not have the same blood as them.

Contradicts bible
Rosenthal said claiming that white and black people did not have the same blood was a contradiction to what the bible says. Acts 17: 26 reads “And hath made of one blood all nations of men…

“There are four blood types which are found in all races — black, coloured, Indians and white people. Saying that black people have different blood is a direct contradiction to the bible — even science agrees that there are four blood types,” said Rosenthal.

He further said that saying black people were animals was a direct contradiction of Genesis 1: 26, which reads, “…Let us make man in our image…

“Secular and New-Age ideologies degrade people to the level of animals but not the bible,” he added.

Maphinda said God never sees humanity according to race but according to the condition of one’s heart. He further said racism had no room in Christianity.

“It is never God’s plan to segregate people. Segregation is mainly foregrounded on colour and socio-economic status. It is a man made problem which requires us to solve.

“Therefore, it is an unfortunate situation that some individuals and other religious groupings choose to use the bible to advance and advocate for certain unbiblical tendencies which are often self-centred. This has been a challenge in the household of faith for sometime now and some are refusing to change. However, the truth is that ungodliness never breeds godliness,” he added.

Maphinda called on all Christians to show love towards others, even those who are not Christians. “We shall demonstrate this love by caring for one another, fellowship together and show respect. We need unity in diversity. Our strength is in love which is the bond of peace.”

Whoever does not love their neighbour can not claim to know God. As 1 John 4:8 clearly reads ‘Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love’.

When we are called to love people it does not mean only the race we are familiar with — its everyone under the sun.

Loving regardless
Love is kind. It takes an encounter with the love of God for somebody to be able to express love and kindness to another person, regardless of their past or current circumstances. In many cases people feel validated in showing hatred because of past experiences, especially in a country like South Africa but God does not want His children to live like that. There is no fear in love, love drives out fear.

May we all come to know the true meaning of love and be ambassadors of change while spreading the gospel to every nation.

One Comment

  1. An excellent article that highlights our challenge in this time, for “Christians to show love towards others, even those who are not Christians”.