“What has come into being in Him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:4-5)
These words of the Apostle John in his Gospel are words of comfort as we have witnessed the taking of another African-American man’s life by the name of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. At the time of this writing, the news broadcasters are showing a city on fire with unruly crowds protesting. It is another contribution to the many black lives that have been taken because of the “Darkness of Prejudice” in this nation which boasts of being the “Land of the free.” This is just another page in the more than 400-year history of degradation and abuse of people of color.
It reminds me of a story that was told to me about our former President George H. W. Bush who went to visit a nursing home: He met an elderly gentleman walking down the hall. He went to the man, shook his hand warmly, and then, in a gracious and kindly tone, President Bush asked, “Sir, do you know who I am?” The man replied, “No, but if you ask the nurses, they can tell you!”
The point is that we don’t really know people until we know them well and until we walk in their shoes. That’s the problem with prejudice. It literally means “to prejudge,” and it causes all kinds of heartache and pain. But again the light of God helps us. It shows us how to reach out to others with love and respect. If every person would live in the gracious spirit of Christ, we could have heaven on earth.
The words in John 1:4-5 reminded me that God is not prejudiced; He did not prejudge you or me. He came to give us life and that life was His light. The light that even the darkness of prejudice could not overtake or consume. For you see, if we are not careful, without that LIGHT we could be the violators rather than possibly the victims.
Reminds me of a story about a missionary named Oswald Golter. He was on his way home from North China after ten years of service there. When he docked at a port in India to await passage home, he found a large group of refugees housed in a warehouse on the pier. It was Christmastime, so the missionary went to the warehouse to visit these refugees. He said to them, “Merry Christmas! What do you want for Christmas?” “We’re not Christians,” they said. “We don’t believe in Christmas.”
“I know,” said the missionary, “but what do you want for Christmas?” They asked for German pastries. The missionary searched the whole city and found the pastries and cashed his ticket home to pay for them. When he later told the story to some students they asked “Why did you do that for them? They weren’t Christians. They don’t even believe in Jesus.” “I know,” he replied, “but I do!”