Point of Reference
by Fred Price
Whenever a sensational event happens that is so steeped in controversy, as the George Floyd murder is, I often try to keep quiet for a while, sorting fact from fiction – where possible – sifting through the hyperbole and raw emotion to ascertain who really did what to whom. The genuine facts of an incident often becoming clearer with time and distance. And infact, there have been absurdly exaggerated statements and actions perpetrated by both sides of this debated incident. But whatever Mr. Floyd may have done or been in the past, he certainly didn’t deserve to die the way he did, for any reason.
The rage of the black community has to be understood, the actions of some never condoned; the reactions of some of the white counter-protestors equally deplored. From a Christian perspective we must realize and practice the scripture cited above, alongside many more – such as, “…as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism. James 2:1 (or discriminate) James then reinforcing his point with an example of just that in verses 2-4, ending with, “…if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the (royal law of ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’, he had just invoked.) as law breakers.” James 2:9
Peter concurring, writing “Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers (aliens – or downtrodden and outcast) here in reverent fear.” 1 Peter 1:17 While, “Show(ing) respect to everyone…” 1 Peter 2:17 Particularly acknowledging those who, “Make it (their) ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind (their) own business and to work (gainfully) with (their) hands… so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” 1 Thessalonians 4:11,12 (Addressed to Christians but certainly applicable to all.)
Peter, a pillar of the newly-founded movement that would become the Christian church, had a startling vision not long after Christ’s ascension to heaven. In it God demonstrated specifically – three times – how Peter, and by implication all others claiming Christ as their Savior, were to “…not call anything impure (or unacceptable) that God has made clean.” (Referring to the intense mistrust between Jews and Gentiles that was at least as contentious as that between some blacks and whites today.)
This was not, however, meant to infer that God automatically saves everyone because of his love for them but that because of his love everyone has the opportunity to be saved. Peter later proclaiming, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.” Acts 10:34 He then becoming the first “missionary” to the Gentile people as he shared the gospel with the Roman centurion Cornelius and his family. (Acts 10:9-48)
All of which should not have been a particularly new and shocking idea, as God had said as much when he led the Israelites out of Egypt to the Promised Land centuries before. (For instance, see Deuteronomy 10:7-19) These ideals were then expanded upon in the New Testament as Paul instructed believers to, “…not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment…” Romans 12:3 Because, “…you who pass judgment on someone else (are inexcusable), because you… do the same thing.” Romans 2:1 (If not specifically, then generally. See James 2:10)
Paul developing this idea further by writing, “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. (As if we have any right to characterize anyone as such.) In other words, “Do not be conceited.” Romans 12:16 Later, in addressing the issue of slavery, he sought to mitigate its worldwide effect from the inside out by changing the ideals and practices of both the slave and his master; assuring them both that they had a Master who shows “no favoritism.” (Ephesians 6:5-9) Christ levelling the field to the extent that, “There is (no longer) neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for we are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28 As, “…Christ is all, and is in all.” Colossians 3:4 This scripture, and other like it, inspiring the children’s song which states, “Red and yellow, black and white, all are precious in his sight.”1
Jesus allegorically yet implicitly declaring, “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” John 10:16 Proving this point by repeatedly attending to those who had been characterized by others as irredeemable undesirables. One incident in particular offering shocking evidence of this for some of his earliest followers.
While travelling through Samaria, Jesus and his disciples arrived at the town of Sychar, in territory formally claimed by Israel and allotted to Joseph and his descendants; at a watering place called Jacob’s Well, Jesus met a Samaritan woman and asked her for a drink.
After a lengthy discussion of his credentials and her background, Jesus plainly identified himself to her. (A despised apostate half-breed woman living an immoral lifestyle, who held what he stood for as a “pure” Jew with equal contempt,.) The Messiah, whom the Jews anticipated and the Samaritans questioned. After revealing certain private aspects of her life he should not have had access to, she immediately went in to town wonderingly proclaiming him to be the (possible) Messiah of all mankind. Consequently, “Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony…”, and then went to see him for themselves. Later proclaiming, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” John 4:4-42 Just as dynamic was the story of Legion, the demoniac who confronted Jesus on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. The final result of this confrontation being Legion’s healing and subsequent desire to follow Jesus wherever he went. Jesus instead instructing him to “Go home and tell them how much the Lord had done for you and how he has had mercy on you.” This mission field including the Decapolis – or Ten Cities region – where the message was delivered to the amazement of all. (Mark 5:1-20)
Appreciative amazement being the proper response for a rabbi who would converse with a lunatic, that a holy man would heal him – from the inside out, causing the former demoniac to commit himself to this God/man whose revolutionary ideals could change not only him but all who would follow Him. My prayer is that we would all allow Jesus to work that same miracle in our lives today.
1 Jesus Loves The Little Children by C.H. Woolston and George F. Root
"God's Words For US" from
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Fred Price - married (48 years), father of two grown children, grandfather of six.
Fred retired earlier this year after 42 years as a factory worker. He has always had a heart for young people and the challenges they face today. Over the years Fred has taught Discipleship Groups for High School and college students.
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