WHITE PRIVILEGE

November 5, 2021

WHITE PRIVILEGE

As a social phenomenon that intertwines race and racism the entire concept of "white privilege" has no shortage of proponents and opponents, attackers and defenders.

The annals of history are littered with painful and horrific examples of one race or social class lifting itself up in order to debase and dehumanize another ; and, in some cases, all others. Hitler and the Nazis come to mind as an example. The stories span every period of recorded time and cover every continent. Black people are not the only victims, white people not the only oppressors. When one looks at the underbelly of conquest and establishing dominion, there is plenty of blame to go around.

But I want to redefine the term "white privilege" -- at least here in this devotional -- in a way that will hopefully reframe the pain and provide a new perspective on both it's current societal definition and the new focus I will bring to it here.

I'll frame my discussion upon the foundation of today's verse:
ANYONE WHO BELIEVES IN GOD'S SON HAS ETERNAL LIFE

God shows no favoritism. When Cornelius, the commander of one of the elements if the Roman Army stationed in Caesarea was seeking God, the Lord sent His apostle Peter with the message of salvation. To prepare him for the journey, God put Peter in a trance and gave him a very specific vision THREE TIMES. (Some of us are a bit slow on the uptake and need that kind of repetition!) The bottom line was God's clear instruction, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” To make a long story very short, Peter ends up in Cornelius' home (Problem 1) among a large group of Gentiles (Problem 2) in violation of Jewish law (Problem 3).

Cornelius tells Peter about the angel God sent, and the instructions God gave Him about sending for Peter. Cornelius finished his story by telling Peter, “So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.” Peter is on the spot. He can either deal with problems 1-2-3 by leaving quickly, or he can choose to listen to the Lord's instruction and share the message of the good news that God so loved the world that He sent His Son to pay the price for our sin.

The bible tells us, “Then Peter began to speak: ‘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.’” What an inspired way to begin to share the message of the gospel of salvation! Peter did not erect barriers but assured everyone who heard him that God would accept them if their hearts were right. He shared the good news of salvation, promising that “everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name." Peter shared the way of salvation found in Christ. Cornelius and everyone in the house accepted his words with faith.

While Peter was telling those listening that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name, God showed up. I seriously doubt that Peter or any of the men who had accompanied him from Joppa could have anticipated what happened next. Even as Peter was saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the message.

ANYONE WHO BELIEVES IN GOD'S SON HAS ETERNAL LIFE

God moves into a heart stained bloody scarlet by our own sin, and He makes it white as snow. We who were red like crimson become white like wool. You want to talk about a "white privilege?" How about the privilege of God covering our sin with His righteousness? How about Him adopting all who have had their hearts made white by the blood of His Son and making us co-heirs with Christ? What about the amazing privilege of the white-hearted ones being filled with His Holy Spirit, and given spiritual gifts which are powerful beyond measure? This is a "white privilege" everyone should seek after and embrace whole-heartedly.

In an incredible act of perfect love, God does not condone our past, but chooses to pay the price of forgiveness so that He can transform our future. He lays aside every claim He has against those who come to Him. These are righteous and valid claims, mind you. He'd be well within HIs rights to exact full payment from us for our sins. Instead, He chooses to release. He chooses to forget, and promises He will mention them no more. God, in HIs incredible love and wisdom, determines that He will fix His eyes on what lies ahead.

ANYONE WHO BELIEVES IN GOD'S SON HAS ETERNAL LIFE

A pure white heart comes with that eternal life. And countless "white privileges" come with it as well. That is a PERSONAL white privilege.

The lesson in this, perhaps both for racial white privilege as well as personal, is that when repentance is real so too is the forgiveness that must be offered. The past cannot be changed, only the future can. Perhaps the best approach -- whether the sins that have caused you the most pain are racially-based or not -- is to forgive, love, and labor together to advance His Kingdom under the rulership of Jesus Christ.

Are there claims that can be justly advanced? Of course there are! These may be raised by people of every color and continent. But God's example of forgiveness offers a far better approach. It will provide true and deep healing. It will deliver perfect peace.

ANYONE WHO BELIEVES IN GOD'S SON HAS ETERNAL LIFE

White privilege is real. And anyone can have His "white privilege" applied to their lives. I support white privilege when it comes from the hand of the Almighty.

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