Recent circumstances in our nation have caused us all to turn a sharp focus on racism. Racism in the United States is real and is woven into the history of this nation. I want to go on record as saying: I believe racism is wrong. I express my sorrow and apology for racism that has occurred and is occurring. I apologize for not being more alert and outspoken against racism.
As a Christian, I believe racism is a sin and must receive the same radical repentance as our Lord calls for concerning all sin. Racism is built on sins of pride and hatred. It mocks our Creator and devalues people who are created in God’s image.
An Appropriate Response
At this time in our nation, I believe that prayer is the most immediate response to this situation. The history of racism in our country has been established over centuries. Rebuilding and restoring right thinking and right interactions will be a process over time. We need the wisdom and power of God to do this.
I think we need to ask God to “teach us” how to view one another, accept one another, and love one another.
We should not assume that because we have achieved a certain level of education in psychology, sociology, or theology; or even because we have had certain experiences, that we know the answers.
The fact that racism has continued to abound in our country shows that whatever knowledge we may think we have; we, as a nation, have still been unable to produce genuine and lasting change.
God is love. Love is His nature and essence, so let us cry out to God to teach us to love and lead us in the ways of love.
The concept of God teaching us is throughout the scriptures. “Teach me” and “teach us” expressions are throughout the text of the Bible.
In scripture we see numerous references to different things that men and women of God asked Him to teach them. Presented below are a few of these requests:
Teach Us Your Ways
Moses was a man of great closeness to God, so much so that scripture reports that Moses’ face was radiant with light when he returned from a time with God. Later in Moses’ life, after walking with God, gaining much knowledge about God and His law, and having many experiences, we still see Moses asking God to teach him.
If we look at the context, Moses seems to connect being taught by God with growing deeper in an intimate relationship with Him.
In Exodus 33, Moses asks God to be able to see Him. God answers Moses’ prayer by passing before Moses and allowing him to see the back of God’s glory.
Moses seems to have a deep relationship with God, yet he wants to know God more and prays to see Him more clearly and deeply. We see a man who walked fervently with God, yet knew he had more to learn and asked God to teach him.
In Exodus 33:13, Moses prays,
If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you.Remember that this nation is your people.
King David, likewise, understood the need to be taught the ways of God; the ways God wants man to live. In Psalm 25:4-5, David asked God to teach him God’s ways and guide him. This concept of guiding implies a continual teaching and leading, not just a one-time experience. David connects learning from God with salvation.
Show me Your ways, O LORD; teach me Your paths. Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; all day long I wait for You.
Teach Us Integrity of Heart
David, who the scripture describes as “a man after God’s own heart,” shows humility by asking God to teach him His ways. David wants to know truths about God, His character and His will (way), so that David can apply God’s truth to his life and relationship with God.
David asks God to teach him God’s ways and integrity of heart.
Teach me your way, O Lord,that I may walk in your truth;unite my heart to
fear your name.
Our hearts are scattered in seeking things for ourselves; be that power, position, titles, influence, or possessions. We can tend to seek these over God and over other people. We must ask God to teach us to have a oneness of heart that values God and other people. Is not this in line with the two great commandments: loving God with our whole heart, mind, soul and strength; and loving one another as Jesus loved us?
Teach Us to Follow You, God
It is difficult for me to understand the power of my own self will, but I am learning it is strong. I can misidentify self-will as creative thinking, as exercising freedom, or as merely seeking excellence in my performance.
Jesus understood the power of the “self.” He knew it would be the thing that hinders us in following Him. So He commanded:
Then Jesus said His to disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
King David understood the need to learn to follow God’s leading. David asked God to teach him to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit.
Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God. May Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.
Teach Us How to Live
When King Solomon dedicated the temple to God, he prayed a prayer asking God for many things for the people. One thing he asked was for God to teach the people how to live.
When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you, and when they pray toward this place and give praise to your name and turn from their sin because you have afflicted them,then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel. Teach them the right way to live, and send rain on the land you gave your people for an inheritance.
2 Chronicles 6:26-27
King Solomon was given great knowledge and wisdom by God (1 Kings 4:29-31). If this man prayed for God to teach his people how to live, perhaps we should follow his example.
Let’s Get Humble
It is my conviction that in order to begin healing our nation, we need to begin with “teach us” prayers. As for me, these are some things I will ask God to teach me. As you can see from my list, I have much to learn.
Teach me to see the pride and arrogance in my heart that lead to pre-judging others, favoritism, discrimination and racism.
Teach me to listen to others.
Teach me to see and value the image of God in others, especially all people of color.
Teach me the meaning of respecting others.
Teach me to accept others who do not look like me or think and act the way I do.
Teach me to love others the way Jesus did.
Teach me to teach my children to respect and love all people.
Teach me to know how to speak out and act for the benefit of others.
Teach me to know and understand how my love for others is indeed love for God.
What will you ask God to teach you so that we can overcome racism in our nation?
Lory Demshar volunteers and serves in the Northwest region of the Boston Church as she teaches and trains young and old to be faithful disciples. Born in Pennsylvania, Lory attended Catholic schools. She graduated from Penn State University with a BS in Education, where she also did post-graduate work in Psychology and Sociology. She taught school in Salisbury, Maryland in the ‘70’s. Lory became a disciple in 1971, when a group of disciples came on a campaign from Michigan to the eastern shore to establish and strengthen Churches of Christ. She was met by a fellow teacher, studied the Bible, and was baptized. She fell in love with the Bible and decided to pursue her Masters in Missions and Bible at ACU, where she met Dan, who was her tutor in Greek. They share a passionate love for the Word of God. Later, Lory earned her Master’s in Moderate Special Needs and worked for many years as an Evaluation Team Leader for the Waltham Public Schools. She retired in 2013, and works teaching and training women in the Word of God. Dan and Lory are both gifted, faith-filled teachers. Lory writes a Bible study blog at words2encourage.com. Their daughter, Charisa, son- in-law Robert, and grandson Zachary are part of the Dallas church.