Today we have a special guest post from frequent reader Jeremy Sanders. The topic is incredibly timely given what is going on in the United States.
Today, in light of the terrible events transpiring across America, many have called for Americans, particularly white Americans, to admit they have underlying racist tendencies and to “check their privilege”. Many believe this privilege has been passed down for generations and is systemic to our society. Privilege is a term often used in today’s conversation, so I thought it would be a good idea to examine my privilege in light of recent events.
My privilege draws its roots from my ancestry. However, it does not stem from the color of my skin, and certainly not from the color of my forefathers. You see, the privileges enjoyed by all American’s today; black, white, red, and green, were not known to my ancestors. They would have given anything to enjoy the privileges that all Americans take for granted today. My grandparents grew up in the era of the great depression. The “white privilege” they enjoyed was cutting off the toes of their shoes when their feet grew, so they could still wear them in the summer. Their privilege consisted of burning records, as my grandmother did as a child, to stay warm during the winter. Their privilege consisted of watering down ketchup to make it last longer or working several odd jobs in the frigid cold to provide food for their families, as my great grandfather did during the height of the depression. Given these circumstances, how did I inherit privilege you might ask? Well, let me explain.
You see, despite their difficulties, my grandparents had many privileges. They had a family that stayed together, even during the hard times. They both had fathers that had served in World War One, who possessed the character to provide during the hard times, and never walk away when all seemed lost. My grandparents were privileged to possess a work ethic, one that never failed, even when life was unfair. My grandfather never went to college, was never privileged to receive a scholarship based on his skin color, yet worked hard and made a life for his family. He was the hardest worker I have ever met. His privilege consisted of rising early in the morning to go work on a roof, fix the plumbing, or cut the grass at eighty-five-year-old, only a few months before his death from cancer. All this privilege to provide for his family. And this spirit was passed down to my parents, who worked incredibly hard themselves. Through economic downturns, loss of a job, and unfair passing over for promotions well earned, my parents provided education, shelter, discipline, and most importantly, love to three boys. They sacrificed their happiness for their children. Such is my privilege, passed down from my forefathers.
For remedies to the current issues, reparations and admission of unconscious racism are often put forward as the cure. Reparations for the wrongs done to those people who lived several generations ago, as they were supposedly wronged by my ancestors. Such a charge would be considered scornful and thankless by my great, great, great grandfather, Reuben Sanders. You see, Reuben volunteered to serve in the Union Cavalry during the Civil War. Although older than most recruits, he stepped forward anyway to answer the nation’s call. He understood the value of American virtue, and the truly divine nature of this great experiment we call America. Although far from perfect, he knew it was the best and most righteous nation with the greatest potential that the world had ever seen. And he was willing to die to see it succeed. Risk his life, he certainly did. Wounded three times, contracting gangrene, captured by the Confederates, he survived it all and fought on until the end. If anyone should receive reparations, it was he, yet such a proposal would have been scorned. He risked his life, fighting at Brandy Station, Gettysburg, and Cedar Creek, to free thousand and thousands of African American slaves. He would have found it odd if he were told today that his greatest battles were not these, but against his own “unconscious racism”. Yet, he fought willingly, without hope of personal gain or privilege. His heritage is mine; such is my privilege.
I have generations of privilege that have been bestowed upon me, yet, the greatest privilege I currently possess does not come from material things, family heritage, or even good values and education. No, the only privilege I have, and of which I will boast, is that of my Salvation through Christ. You see, even though I deserved eternal death in hell, He died for my sins, rose from the dead and appointed me a Child of God. Talk about privilege! Through a TV station, He saved my grandparents, who then shared their faith with my father. My mother, unsaved until eighteen, attended a Bible study with friends and became born again. Their faith was instilled in me as a child, and I too was blessed to believe in Christ as my Savior and Lord as a boy. Such is my privilege.
The talk of privilege has entered the church today, as have most cultural issues. You know, many Christians often try to appease the current “Woke” crowd by bringing social justice, diversity, and critical race theory into the church. But all such teachings violate Scripture and have no place in the society, let alone the church. Critical race theory and social justice punish those for the sins of their fathers, and free others of responsibility based on their skin color. Yet, as Moses writes in Deuteronomy 24:16, we are not to judge children by the sins of their fathers. Sadly, those sins are often felt by future generations, but we are not to hold those future generations accountable for those sins; they are already cursed by dealing with their adverse effects.
The church must put aside race, and instead look at the heart. Any church that emphasizes race, social justice, political correctness, etc violates God’s Word and will be judged by God. As Paul writes in Galatians 3:28, there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, we are all one in Christ. Such is my privilege, and one I would love to share with you. You see, we all have the opportunity to accept such a privilege if we are willing to believe in Christ as Savior and Lord. It starts by taking personal responsibility for our individual sin that we all possess, and then repenting and calling out to Christ. For such is OUR privilege as Christians, one we all can and must claim; man and woman, poor and rich, black and white.
Given these facts, my privilege is undeniable. I am guilty of privilege that draws strength from the actions of my ancestors. Not one drawn from color, but from personal responsibility, persistence in the face of adversity, and a love for family greater than love for self. Are there injustices in society today? Are there certain rogue elements; evil people, racist people, toxic people; that prey upon the weak and oppressed? Absolutely! These must be stopped when they raise their ugly heads. But is it systemic; coursing throughout the body of the majority of Americans and enshrined in our laws? No, no it is not and that can be borne out through simple statistics.
The greatest injustice in the minority community today is demonstrated in a violent crime rate exorbitantly higher than that of the average population tearing apart family and community. The injustice is started by children born into single-parent homes and stoked by fathers who leave their children to pursue personal pleasure and desire. It is a judgment for the high abortion rates that kill so many beautiful minority babies before they take their first breath. And it is all facilitated by a government that began to reward such behavior during the Great Society of the 1960s and seeks to keep people enslaved to its whims through dependence and a dearth of responsibility. A lack of personal responsibly makes it impossible to overcome the wickedness imposed upon our minority brothers and sisters by the evil racists we have seen so lately seen in the news.
Yet, there is hope for the minority community and indeed America as a whole, for only as a whole nation, casting off the bonds of tribalism, that we can truly be united. It stems from the very roots of my privilege. It comes down to the choices we make. In the home and society, we must take personal responsibility in the face of evil and unfairness, as did my forefathers. In such a way, men can be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. We must realize that before God, our punishment is not unfair. The only unfair thing in our relationship with the Almighty is that we are not already separated from God for eternity. We all deserve that terrible fate; we are depraved and responsible for our sins. But God, in the richness of His mercy, unfairly sent his only Son as a sacrifice for our sins, to take our place, so we enjoy the blessing of His eternal presence. Such is the privilege that you can enjoy today. Such is the nature of my privilege.
Do you know what’s going to happen when you die? Are you completely sure? If you aren’t, please read this or listen to this. You can know where you will spend eternity. If you have questions, please feel free to contact us, we’d love to talk to you.