For the last several months on Tuesday mornings we’ve been praying for racial reconciliation at IHOP Atlanta. A recent Tuesday was no different as the young man leading the prayer meeting began to cry out to God, “Lord I ask that You end racism in Atlanta. Bring racial unity and racial healing. We’re asking, God, that You would release racial reconciliation. Bring unity between blacks and whites, Asians and Hispanics.”
As he was praying, the Lord began to speak to my heart. “You use the terms unity, healing, reconciliation, and justice all interchangeably, yet each of them is uniquely different. They are all dependent upon one another.”
For the next several minutes the Lord began to instruct me regarding racial reconciliation and the way unity, healing, reconciliation, and justice all work together.
He showed me that these things all have to happen in a progression that must take place in the hearts of blacks and whites if we’re going to see racial justice in America.
“Unity only comes after reconciliation, and reconciliation can’t happen unless you have healing.”
I had never thought about it before. But in that moment the Lord was clarifying to me how reconciliation and unity were to happen. You can’t start with reconciliation, you have to start with healing. And the only place that healing can happen is at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ.
“Healing is the first step in the process. And it’s the hardest.”
The Lord was showing me that unless we have racial healing we can never have racial reconciliation. And unless we have reconciliation we can never have racial unity. And without unity there will be no justice.
Racial healing is the hardest because it deals with the shame and pain in our hearts over the issues of racism. The historic atrocities as well as the current tensions all seed into woundedness, pain, and shame between blacks and whites.
“White shame and black pain have to be dealt with by the blood of My Son.”
I recognized that unless we have healing by the power of Jesus’ blood we will never see reconciliation. But if we allow the power of the cross to transform us, bring us to forgiveness, free us from our pain, and deliver us from our shame, we can walk in freedom regardless of the wickedness of sins that we have committed or that have been committed against us. This is what the cross of Jesus was for, to save and deliver sinners, regardless of the depth of their sin and shame.
We must also understand that the depth of our healing isn’t dependent upon another’s repentance toward us. Our healing is only dependent upon our willingness to engage with the cross of Jesus and to allow the power of His blood to cleanse us and free us.
The sins of racism are no different than any other sins. They are firstly committed against God and then against men. But the power of the blood of Jesus is still far greater than the power of any sin, including the sins of racism.
If we start at the cross, healing is possible. Too often we try to start with social answers to sin issues. However these attempts often fall far short of bringing real justice.
I do not deny that there is a critical human aspect that must be addressed regarding the complexities of racism. But if we want to see true justice we cannot start with a social approach to a deeply spiritual problem. Jesus Christ is the only One who can bring justice to any issue of injustice, especially racism.
When we find healing at the cross, then and only then is reconciliation possible. From the place of true reconciliation, black and white can and will stand united in Christ. And when we walk together in unity, we will see justice released in our lives and in the lives of many who have been stained by the sins of racism.
My prayer today is that we would all find healing at the foot of the cross and walk out the process of reconciliation by the power of Jesus’ blood until we stand in unity and ultimately see justice roll down like a mighty river. Turn your heart to Jesus today and ask Him for grace to free you from the pain and shame of racism. He is ready to meet you with power and liberate your heart.