Does anyone remember Catherine Quinn?
She was a widowed mother and would still be an unknown woman, except for her decision on July 31, 1981, which echoed her name across Ireland, Great Britain, and the whole world.
Four years earlier, Catherine had watched her nineteen year-old son, Paddy Quinn, sentenced to fourteen years in the H-Block of Maze Prison in Northern Ireland for his part in a failed Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) ambush against a British Army unit. Upon entering prison, Paddy became an active participant in the IRA protests against being labeled criminals, rather than paramilitary prisoners.
Those IRA protests escalated into the 1981 Irish Hunger Strikes, beginning with a man named Bobby Sands who started his food fast on March 1, 1981. During Sands’ hunger strike, he was elected to British Parliament as an Anti-H-Block candidate. Sands’ election, hunger strike, and eventual death brought world-wide attention to IRA’s demands and a surge in recruitment activity. 100,000 people attended his funeral.
Other IRA prisoners joined the Hunger Strike at staggered intervals after Sands, in hopes of applying the heaviest possible pressure on Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the British government.
When Paddy began his food fast on June 15, 1981, four men had already died and five others were at various stages in the strike. Paddy told his mom not to intervene if he fell into a coma. “You either back me or you back Maggie Thatcher,” he said.
On July 31, Paddy Quinn fell into a coma after forty-seven days and could no longer make decisions for himself. Six men had died on the hunger strike and three others hovered near death in the prison hospital. All were considered heroes and martyrs because IRA fervor was at its peak.
Authorities ushered Catherine Quinn into Paddy’s hospital room where she saw his emaciated body being wracked by epileptic twitches. She walked over to him and leaned down, whispering into his ear, “Paddy, I love you and can’t let you die. God has a plan for your life.”
Medical aides stepped in and saved Paddy’s life.
Even though four other men died after Catherine’s decision, the rest of the families intervened and the 1981 Hunger Strike ended with ten dead and twelve survivors.
So, was Catherine Quinn considered a hero?
No, not at all!
She was considered a traitor and turncoat to the IRA cause. Her son Paddy was angry with her. Her neighbors shunned her. The mothers of the ten dead hunger strikers hated her for tarnishing their son’s martyr’s deaths.
Yet, she didn’t care because she loved her son and believed God still had a plan for his young life.
Hey, black mothers, are you willing to be ostracized by your neighbors and families for loving your sons enough to do whatever you have to do to save their lives?
I had a vision while praying with a friend in the late fall of 1995.
In the vision, I saw thousands of bodies of young people piled up in the streets of Belfast, Northern Ireland. All had their lives snuffed out by the continued violence between the Catholics and Protestants.
Although we prayed to stop this horrible vision from happening, I also knew I had an important prophetic word for Northern Ireland within my spirit, waiting to be given.
Through some divine appointments, I eventually typed out the prophecy and sent it to the Rev. Cecil Kerr at the Christian Renewal Centre in Belfast. He later phoned and said the Centre’s prayer group had been waiting for weeks for just such a prophecy. They immediately began praying it into manifestation.
The problems in Northern Ireland had begun almost 400 years earlier in 1610. King James I confiscated a million acres of land from native Irish and gave it to Scottish/English Protestants for the Ulster Plantation. This, of course, enraged the Irish, fueling numerous conflicts, wars, and rebellions between the Irish Catholics and Scottish/English Protestants over the following centuries resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths.
In 1995, the most recent turmoil in Northern Ireland had been going on since the late 1960’s. It became known as The Troubles. On the one side were the Nationalists (native Irish Catholics) while the opposite side consisted of the Unionists (Northern Ireland Protestants). Also, there were the Official Republican Army, its more radical spinoff − the Provisional Republican Army, the even more radical Real IRA, British Army, and countless other radical groups. The violence occurred almost daily and even spilt over into England, Scotland, Ireland, and Europe with numerous bombings taking place.
More than 3,500 people were killed in The Troubles and another 30,000-40,000 people were injured.
Looking back on the prophecy I wrote for Northern Ireland, it did not mention who was right or wrong in the long struggle. Instead, it pointed out Satan’s plan to kill a generation of young men through a spirit of death and God’s strategy to defuse Satan’s plan.
The Belfast Peace Agreement was reached on Good Friday, 1998, ending The Troubles. Although there has been sporadic violence since then, the agreement remains in affect.
What was God’s strategy? And could it stop racial violence, and even race wars, in America?
(Excerpt from the series — Racism: Who’s In The Right and Who’s In The Wrong by Larry Nevenhoven. The full series can be read here.)
If I had not been there, I would not have believed what happened, not in a million years.
That particular Saturday morning was Farmer City’s annual Sidewalk Sales Extravaganza. Crowds of people filled the streets of the downtown business district. All checked out the sales bargains lining the tables in front of retail stores. Brown jersey gloves were three pairs for a dollar at Hesston’s Hardware. Dollar General sold Handi-Wipes for seventy-nine cents a package.
Though the city was populated with nineteen hundred tight-fisted Norwegian and German-Americans, these blond-haired, blue-eyed conservatives liked nothing better than saving a buck or two.
My little concession trailer sat on the street in front of the courthouse. Popcorn, snow cones, and cotton candy were hot items for the first two hours. Sales slacked off around 11:30 a.m.
I took a break and stood outside the trailer, smoking a cigarette, when I saw the stranger heading toward me. And if ever a fish was out of water, it was this man. An African-American in Farmer City. His pockmarked face was covered with four-day stubble. A jagged scar stretched from the base of his neck to his left ear and he wore a black Oakland Raiders’ sweatshirt rolled up to his elbows, revealing gang tattoos on his bulging forearms. Plus, he had the thousand-yard stare of an ex-con.
As he passed by, he nodded at me.
“Hi, how are you?” he whispered without breaking stride.
Being curious, I turned to watch him.
He walked over to a green bench in the city square and climbed up on it. Then, he cupped his mouth with his massive hands.
“Hey, everyone, listen up. I’m holding a healing crusade in Jesus’ name this morning. So, if you need a miraculous healing, come over here,” he shouted.
People stopped what they were doing and looked at him. They had to be wondering who he thought he was, an Oral Roberts or some other evangelist like that. But believe it or not, the crowd moved toward him as if he were a Pied Piper.
An eighty-year old lady scooted her walker up to the front of the group. She looked up at the stranger.
“Okay, sonny, let’s see you do your stuff,” she said with arched eyebrows.
A slight smile etched his chiseled face. He jumped down, and in one continuous motion, he grabbed the walker and flung it onto the lawn, saying, “In Jesus’ name, be healed. Now, dance for Him.”
The crowd gasped as she teetered there, her weak legs straining to hold her up. A man reached to grab her, but the African-American slapped the Good Samaritan’s hands away.
“Don’t help her,” he said. “Let the Lord finish His work in her.”
A few in the crowd booed the African-American, but he paid them no attention. He knew what he was doing.
Then, it happened. A big smile lit up the lady’s face. She straightened up, kicked one leg up in the air, and then the other. She followed with a scissors kick, using both legs at once. Tears streamed down her face as she lifted up her hands and danced on the sidewalk, praising Jesus for the miracle.
People instantly formed a line in the street. Some were young. Some were old. There were cripples, amputees, cancer sufferers, heart victims, mentally ill, and numerous others who were afflicted with some malady or another. They waited patiently for the stranger to pray for them.
As the black man moved toward the first person in line, an arm reached out, and grabbed his shoulder. The stranger stopped and turned around, looking into the face of a blond-haired man wearing a black suit.
“Yes, may I help you?” he asked in a deep voice.
“I’m Reverend Adam Johnson, head of Farmer City’s ministerial board,” said the man. “We don’t believe you should be holding a healing crusade just yet. No one knows whom you are accountable to. Allow us to check out your credentials. And if everything turns out okay, you can hold some healing meetings in one of our churches next week.”
The smile on the African-American’s face dipped downward.
“To whom were you referring when you said we?”
Reverend Johnson pointed to six men dressed in dark suits, standing under an oak tree behind the bench.
“Those are the other pastors on our board. And like most pastors, we just want to protect our flocks from unknown strangers like you.”
The African-American put his hands under the armpits of Reverend Johnson, picking him off the ground. He tossed him as if he were a basketball over the bench at the other six pastors. The clergy reached out their arms and cushioned Johnson’s fall to the ground.
The stranger stood there, clenching and unclenching his fists, as if he were deciding further action against the group. Fear crept into the seven pastor’s eyes. They stepped back away from him.
“Don’t you ever get in my way again! I came here to hold a healing crusade for Jesus this morning and people like you are not going to stop me. Do you hear me?” he proclaimed, pointing a finger at the pastors.
They nodded in agreement at the man’s words and fled the city square.
The stranger then turned around and began praying for people.
What happened next was unbelievable. It was as if Jesus Himself was holding a healing meeting in Farmer City. Everyone received his healing, no one left in disappointment.
When the stranger finished, he walked away. A few tried to stop him, but he shook them off.
“Just thank Jesus and give Him the glory, okay?” he said over his shoulder.
But as he headed toward me, he slowed down and stopped a few feet away from me. He eyed me up and down for a few seconds as I puffed a cigarette. Our eyes locked, but neither of us spoke.
I looked away.
The burning love and compassion in his eyes made me feel like I was standing naked in front of him. He knew the type of man I was and yet, he still cared about me. Why? I do not know, but I wanted to know.
When I looked again, he was gone.
(Excerpt from Deceived Dead and Delivered by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2013, Amazon eBook)
Once I spoke in the West and a Christian told me, “I’ve been praying that the Communist government in China will collapse, so Christians can live in peace.”
“This is not what we pray!” said Brother Yun, a Chinese house church leader. “We never pray against our government or call down curses on them. Instead, we have learned that God is in control of both our lives and the government we live under. Isaiah prophesied about Jesus, “The government will be on His shoulders.”
God has used China’s government for His own purposes, molding, and shaping His children as He sees fit. Instead of focusing our prayers against any political system, we pray that regardless of what happens to us, we will be pleasing to God.
Don’t pray for the persecution to stop. We shouldn’t pray for a lighter load to carry, but a stronger back to endure. Then the world will see that God is with us, empowering us to live in a way that reflects His love and power.
This is true freedom.
Where are the hottest fires of revival burning right now in the world? It’s in China.
Even though the Communist government continues to crack down on house churches calling them illegal, even though thousands of believers are now suffering and tortured in prisons, even though there is a lack of Bibles and training, Christianity is exploding with new members each week. It is an out of control fire, burning across China.
Now, I know we American believers struggle with Brother Yun’s thinking about submission to cruel governments. Our roots are sunk deep into democratic thinking and lifestyles. Even our churches align themselves with one political party or another. Yet, let’s be honest with each other, okay?
Our brand of Christianity here in America is divided, lifeless, and there’s no revival in sight. Yes, there are all kinds of prophecies about a great revival heading toward America, but those prophetic words have been bandied about for over twenty years now. Where’s the revival?
Maybe we’re doing something wrong. Maybe we can learn something from our brothers and sisters in China.
After all, who did Rev. Martin Luther King, Junior, model his activism after? An Asian by the name of Mahatma Gandhi.
So, how can this help America’s inner cities with their struggle against racism?
On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks sat on a crowded bus in Montgomery, Alabama, on her way home from her job at a shirt factory. The bus was segregated with roughly the front half reserved for white bus riders and the back half for blacks. A sign separated the two sections. Rosa sat on one of the first seats behind the sign in the black section.
As the bus continued on its route, it began to fill up with white passengers. Some whites stood in the aisle. The bus driver stopped and walked back to the sign. He moved it farther toward the back and asked four blacks to give up their seats for the white people standing in the aisle. Three obliged him, but Rosa Parks continued to sit on the seat.
“Why don’t you stand up?” the bus driver asked her.
“I don’t think I should have to stand up,” replied Parks.
The bus driver called the police who arrested Parks and charged her with violation of Chapter 6, Section 11, of the Montgomery City Code. She was taken to police headquarters, where, later that night, she was released on bail. Her eventual fine was $10 and $4 for court costs.
Later, Parks stated that she was not physically tired, but just tired of giving in.
Within days of Parks’ heroic stand against racism, the Civil Rights Movement began with the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Most of the estimated 40,000 black bus commuters refused to ride on the city buses. They walked, rode in black taxicabs, or car-pooled to work.
Dozens of buses sat idle, crippling the bus line and downtown merchants as the boycott progressed forward. Segregationists retaliated by burning black churches and bombing the homes of the boycott leaders. Black taxicabs had their insurance policies suspended. Black citizens were arrested just for observing the boycott.
Rosa and her husband, Raymond, were fired from their jobs. They ended up moving to Detroit, Michigan, where Rosa worked for Congressman John Conyers as a receptionist and secretary.
The Montgomery Bus Boycott ended on December 21, 1956. The 381-day boycott showed America and black Americans the power of a large group walking together with truth on their side.
Rosa Parks was the spark needed to set off the Civil Rights Movement, but another person emerged from Montgomery to become the dominant voice of that era: Martin Luther King, Jr.
God thrusts his prophets into battles, not because the prophets think they are ready, but because God is ready to use them as His warriors. Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was just such a man in 1955, when he became the head of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
As the bus boycott continued into its second month, King received 30 to 40 death-threat phone calls per day. On January 27, 1956, King received a midnight phone call threatening his life. He hung up without speaking. Unlike the other calls, which he shrugged off, this one devastated him. He went into the kitchen, made a pot of coffee, and sat down at the table.
I was ready to give up. With my cup of coffee sitting untouched before me, I tried to think of a way to move out of the picture without appearing a coward. In this state of exhaustion, I decided to take my problem to God. With my head in my hands, I bowed over the kitchen table and prayed aloud.
The words I spoke to God that midnight are still vivid in my memory. “I am here taking a stand for what I think is right. But now I am afraid. The people are looking to me for leadership, and if I stand before them without strength and courage, they too will falter. I am at the end of my powers. I have nothing left. I’ve come to the point where I can’t face it alone.”
At that moment, I experienced the presence of the Divine as I had never experienced God before. It seemed as though I could hear the quiet assurance of an inner voice saying: “Stand up for justice; stand up for truth; and God will be at your side forever.” Almost at once my fears began to go. My uncertainty disappeared. I was ready to face anything.
(Stride Toward Freedom by Martin Luther King, Jr., Beacon Press, Reprint Edition, 2010)
Three days later, King’s house was bombed and his family nearly killed.
“Strangely enough, I accepted the word of the bombing calmly. My religious experience a few nights before had given me the strength to face it.” (Stride Toward Freedom)
God provides occasions for His prophets to speak, but few have ever had a door of opportunity opened like Martin Luther King, Jr. did on August 28, 1963. It was the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom at which 250,000 people attended and millions more watched on TV.
King was scheduled to be the last speaker that day, behind other speakers and singers, such as Bobby Dylan, Joan Baez, Harry Belafonte, and Mahalia Jackson. King was allocated five to seven minutes to speak.
During the day, King was concerned about the short amount of time for his speech and wondered what he should say. As the time approached, Mahalia Jackson whispered, “Tell them about the dream, Martin. Tell them about the dream.”
You see, King started working on his “I Have A Dream” speech months earlier and had used parts of it at various settings. Many of his colleagues knew about it, but none had ever heard it spoken like that day. It electrified the crowd and America.
Now, if Martin Luther King, Jr. was truly a prophet sent by God to speak His message to America, then there is a part of King’s message, which needs to be reviewed again:
“But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
“We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.” (I Have A Dream, Martin Luther King Jr, September 28, 1963)
I truly believe Martin Luther King, Jr. was a prophet of God, whose words should be followed to obtain the fullness of blessings from God.
Yet, there was another prophet in that time period, too.
Malcolm X (1925 – 1965) burst onto the American Civil Rights landscape in July, 1959, because of a 5-part documentary series entitled, “The Hate That Hate Produced,” produced by Mike Wallace and Louis Lomax. The subject of the series was the Nation of Islam, with key interviews of Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, and Louis X (now known as Louis Farrakhan).
Lomax asked if all white people were evil. “History is best qualified to reward all research, and we don’t have any historic example where we have found that they have, collectively, as a people, done good,” replied Malcolm X.
With that reply and others, the son of a murdered Baptist preacher became the most visible spokesman for the Nation of Islam. Unlike Martin Luther King, Jr. who attended well-known universities, Malcolm X studied library books while serving a ten-year sentence in a Massachusetts prison. It was there he became a convert to the Nation of Islam.
The contrast between the messages proclaimed by Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X could not have been greater, especially for that time period. King emphasized integration, equality, nonviolence, and Christian values while Malcolm X preached black supremacy, a separation of black and white Americans, violence when needed, and Islam.
Quotes by Malcolm X:
“Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery.”
“Christianity is the white man’s religion.”
“Brothers and sisters, the white man has brainwashed us black people to fasten our gaze upon a blond-haired, blue-eyed Jesus.”
“The ‘long hot summer’ of 1964 in Harlem, in Rochester, and in other cities, has given an idea of what could happen… For all of those riots were kept contained within where the Negro lived. You let any of these bitter, seething ghettoes all over America receive the right igniting incident, and become really inflamed, and explode, and burst out of their boundaries into where whites live…Black social dynamite is in Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Los Angeles…the black man’s anger is there, fermenting.”
“Our enemy is the white man.”
“My black brothers and sisters − no one will know who we are…until we know who we are…The Honorable Elijah Muhammad is giving us a true identity, and a true position − the first time they have ever been known to the American black man…”
“I am the angriest black man in America.”
(All quotes from The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley, Random House Publishing, © 1964)
Most certainly Malcolm X was a prophet of Islam whose messages shook white Americans and revealed the bitterness, anger, and frustration black Americans felt from their second-class status. At the same time, Malcolm X changed how black Americans thought of themselves.
Until the last few months of his life, Malcolm X was a harsh critic of Martin Luther King’s civil rights efforts. Over and over again, Malcolm X said, “Nonviolence is the philosophy of a fool” and also “While King was having a dream, the rest of us Negroes are having a nightmare.”
How did Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. view Malcolm X?
“I know that I have often wished that he would talk less of violence, because violence is not going to solve our problem. And, in his litany of articulating the despair of the Negro without offering any positive, creative alternative, I feel that Malcolm has done himself and our people a great disservice. Fiery, demagogic oratory in the black ghettos, urging Negroes to arm themselves and prepare to engage in violence, as he has done, can reap nothing but grief.
“In the event of a violent revolution, we would be sorely outnumbered. And when it was all over, the Negro would face the same unchanged conditions, the same squalor and deprivation − the only difference being that his bitterness would be even more intense, his disenchantment even more abject. Thus, in purely practical, as well as moral terms, the American Negro has no rational alternative to nonviolence.”
“I think there is a lesson that we can all learn from this: that violence is impractical and that now, more than ever before, we must pursue the course of nonviolence to achieve a reign of justice and a rule of love in our society, and that hatred and violence must be cast into the unending limbo if we are to survive.”
“I always contended that we as a race must not seek to rise from a position of disadvantage to one of advantage, but to create a moral balance in society where democracy and brotherhood would be a reality for all men.”
(The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr., Edited by Clayborne Carson, Warner Books, © 1998.
It is my contention that two powerful prophets − Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X − proclaimed messages to America’s inner cities during the Civil Rights struggles of the 1950’s and 60’s. Both of the prophets’ words are still echoing throughout the inner cities. One prophesied the words of life while the other spoke the words of death.
In the mid 1990’s, while a member of an inner city ministry, I prophesied: “I hear a voice crying out in the inner cities of America, saying, ‘I want to be free. I want to be free.’”
I soon had a vision, which revealed a black river flowing out of America’s inner cities, filled with black apostles and prophets. Their moral characters were at a level never before witnessed in America. No longer did believers have to gaze back at the John Wesleys, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Finneys, D. L. Moodys, or whomever for examples of godly men because these black apostles and prophets raised the bar of godliness to a level approaching the character of Jesus. Filled with love, compassion, boldness, and walking in holiness, these black men had one goal: to do the will of God for their generation.
All had walked out of Egypt: the furnaces of the inner cities. Many had spent years in prisons for murder, robbery, rape, and other crimes. All seemed fatherless and raised by a mother caught up in the cruel, never-ending welfare cycles, which has enslaved generations of inner city children.
Yet, the grace of God had delivered these men from the spirit of slavery so that the spirit of adoption had captured their hearts. (Romans 8:15) Their fatherlessness now ended at the feet of theAbba Father, who they knew intimately in a way few − outside of Jesus − had ever known.
This is the generation of men that all of America is now awaiting, but it will not come forth without groaning and suffering pains of childbirth. (Romans 8:22)
So, what price will the groaning and suffering pains of childbirth cost the inner cities and the rest of the Body of Christ?
“Wherever we want to go, we can only get there from where we are. Not where we think we are, or wish we are, or where we want others to think we are, but where we are in fact right now. But political spin and pious euphemisms don’t tell us where we are. After a while, such rhetorical exercises don’t even fool others. If we don’t have the truth, we don’t have anything to start with and build on.” (Thomas Sowell)
70% of African-Americans live in America’s inner cities or inner-ring suburbs. Most of the following facts refer to that 70% of African-Americans. These facts are not written to throw stones at our inner city black brothers and sisters, but to eventually, bring glory to Jesus.
- The abortion rate for African-American women is five times higher than it is for white women, accounting for 37% of all abortions in America.
- 1 in 3 African-American men can expect to spend time in prison during their lifetimes.
- 70% of juvenile arrests in America are African-American youths.
- One third of all welfare recipients are African-Americans.
- Each year, roughly 7,000 blacks are murdered. Ninety-four percent of the time, the murderer is another black person.
- 72 percent of black babies are born out of wedlock.
- Poverty rate among African-Americans is 36%.
- The homicide rate among males between the ages of 14 and 17 is nearly 10 times higher for blacks than for whites and Hispanics combined.
- The preponderance of school violence in America occurs in big-city schools attended by inner city black students.
- Black education is in a state of shambles for elementary and high schools in most inner cities of America.
Without a doubt, the above facts are discouraging, but here’s the irony of it all:
- Inner city African-Americans are the most devout Christian group in America and the difference is 21 percentage points higher than the next group.
- African-Americans are even more conservative on the social issues of abortion and homosexuality than the rest of the population.
Just to remind everyone: in the last part, I wrote about a vision I had of a black river flowing out of the Inner Cities of America filled with black apostles and prophets who had characters approaching that of Jesus.
So, how will God do this?
Let’s say that my favorite son, Edward, was gunned down by a man, for no other reason, than he wanted a target for his hatred. If I then hunted the murderer down and killed him with my own gun, that would be vengeance.
If instead of killing the murderer, I captured him and turned him over to the police who then put him on trial for Edward’s murder. If he was found guilty, that would be justice.
If I showed up at the penalty phase of the trial and pleaded that the murderer should not be executed for murdering my son and if the jury agreed with my pleas, that would be mercy.
But if after all this, I walked up to the murderer who had been judged guilty and already had received mercy, and I grabbed his hand, took him home, sat him at my dining table, and said, “From now on, you shall take the place of my son. You will have all his benefits and will be an heir to all my wealth. I will love you just like I loved Edward.”
That is grace, which God freely offers us each day of our lives.
Now, if I were a black American, it would be almost impossible to overlook the words of Malcolm X and not seek vengeance for the four hundred years of horrendous treatment by white Americans, which have helped create who I am today. It would take a miracle not to avenge myself.
It would even be harder to go along with the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and accept simple justice, and then extend mercy to white Americans for all of their transgressions, wiping the slate forever clean of the harshest reparations against them.
Yet, to rise to the next level where I would reach out, hold white Americans’ hands, and say, “You’re my brothers. I will lay down my life for you and if you need something, just let me know and I will do my best to get it. My heart is always open to your needs because I love you,” − this would be beyond any grace or love I could ever bring forth.
And yet, this is exactly what I believe the Lord is going to soon ask from black Americans.
Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:18)
Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, “Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,” when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. (Matthew 7:1-4 NLT)
Thank God for Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the other Civil Rights leaders who pointed at America’s log in its eyes − institutional racism − so that changes in our laws were passed. Was it a peaceful stroll in the park? No, it was messy, but with rare exceptions, institutional racism is now a horror of the past.
Rev. King and the other leaders deserve honor and gratitude because they were types of Moses, sent by God to deliver America from this horrible sin.
Does racism still exist in America? Yes, and as long as pride, envy, and fear exist, the sin of racism may rear its ugly head from time to time under the best of conditions.
Who has more racism − whites or blacks? This question is irrelevant because both races struggle with the sin of racism, with one big difference right now: God and His plans.
You see, God’s plan for America includes having a black river flowing out of our nation’s inner cities, filled with apostles and prophets, who will help deliver the rest of the country from racism and religion. They, in turn, will also be deliverers, much like Moses.
Yet to be deliverers, God will squeeze racism and sin out of these black apostles and prophets. The squeezing will resemble a hand squishing a tube of toothpaste to wring every bit of gel out of it. As with the toothpaste tube, the first bit of squeezing to remove racism and sin will be rather easy, but as it continues, it will be more and more painful.
To many, the painful squeezing may seem unfair, since the inner city blacks have suffered through almost 400 years of anguish in America. But for God, He’s looking forward to the finished products: brilliant diamonds reflecting Jesus to all.
Not counting the Bible, I’ve read Tramp for the Lord by Corrie ten Boom more times than any other book. The memoir contains stories from her worldwide travels. A particular one seemed appropriate right now.
In it, Corrie ten Boom related how she traveled to a church in Munich, Germany, in 1947, to proclaim the message of God’s forgiveness to the defeated and bombed-out German people. She stated to them:
“When we confess our sins, God casts them into the deepest ocean, gone forever. And even though I cannot find a Scripture for it, I believe God then places a sign out there that says, ‘NO FISHING ALLOWED.’”
Afterward, the German crowd stood up and filed out, few daring to believe the message’s truth. None approached, except for one heavyset man who moved toward her.
Ten Boom recognized him as one of the cruelest guards at Ravensbruck, the concentration camp where she and her sister were imprisoned. She survived, but her sister died because of the guards’ cruelty.
The man stood in front of her and offered his hand. She fumbled in her purse, not wanting to shake it. Her message sounded glib to her ears at that moment.
He admitted to being a guard and then said, “But since that time, I have become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well, Fraulein. Will you forgive me?”
Corrie ten Boom ignored the man’s hand, not being able to forgive because of painful memories. It was too big a hurdle, even though she knew she had to do it. So, she prayed:
“Jesus, help me! I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling.”
When their hands finally touched, God’s love flooded ten Boom. “I forgive you, brother, with all my heart,” she cried. Then she finished the story by adding:
I had never known God’s love so intensely as I did then. But even so, I realized it was not my love. I had tried, and did not have the power. It was the power of the Holy Spirit…“
The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Romans 5:5)
(Excerpt from Tramp for the Lord by Corrie Ten Boom with Jamie Buckingham, Jove Books, © 1978.)
This story communicates what God expects to happen when He squeezes inner cities and how forgiveness of white Americans will come by the power of the Holy Spirit.
(Continued in Part 15)