As I read the account of a slave market my tears flowed in abundance. Men and women were forced to stand on a block of wood… naked… as buyers examined. As buyers threw insults and as they yelled out prices they would pay. In my mind I could see it… I could feel the pain… the humiliation. I then pictured myself on that block. Naked and afraid and wondering “why me”? I pictured myself full of sin… full of selfishness and ashamed of who I was. I could hear the small amounts that satan and his demons would pay for me. One who worships God but falls so short. One who loves God but is so full of sin… so full of selfishness. Then I heard his voice! Above the noise. Above the insults. Above the humiliation. Jesus… standing at the back of the crowd yelling “I will buy him”. Don’t care what he has done, who he is or what he looks like. I want him. Name your price and it is yours. I love him that much. He then walked up to where I was standing. With outstretched hands and love in his voice said “let’s go home”. Slavery was and still is a horrific thing, that in the name of Jesus we need to eliminate. We are all slaves to sin. Thank goodness Jesus is willing to pay the price for our freedom.
In John 8:34 thru 38 Jesus says “I tell you most solemnly that anyone who chooses a life of sin is trapped in a dead-end life and is, in fact, a slave. A slave is a transient, who can’t come and go at will. The Son, though, has an established position, the run of the house. So if the Son sets you free, you are free through and through.
Lorna and I had been to Memphis Tennessee on our annual anniversary trip. As many of you may know I am a huge Dr. King fan and so I like to visit places that are significant in his life. The Civil Rights museum in Memphis is the very place where he was assassinated. As we entered the museum the first room was how it all began. The accounting of slaves being taken from Africa, and brought here to be sold as if they were cattle or some such livestock. Men and women forced to stand in front of a crowd of people, naked… afraid… and humiliated. They stood there, alone, as men hurled out insults as well as bargaining for the price they would pay. The young men, with muscles were given the highest premium. Not only for the work they could do but because they would be good breeding stock. The young women were valued based on the way they looked naked, and if they would be good breeding stock, for the men that were being bought. These men and women. Made in God’s image. Given his spirit at their creation, were sold with no regard to their soul and the value they had to our God. Many times this was done in the name of God, by people who called themselves Christians.
As I stood there reading these accounts. As I took in the details and envisioned that market place in my mind, the tears flowed. My crying was uncontrollable as I felt their pain. As I felt their humiliation. As I had compassion on these men and women who are children of God. Men and women who are my brothers and sisters in Christ. Are we not all brothers and sisters? Formed in the mind of God. Given his DNA at our conception. Does he not, with a single breath, give each of us life all in the same way? Are not you and I, and your neighbor, and your enemy, and these slaves of long ago, all related thru our heavenly father?
Malachi 2:10 – Don’t we all come from one Father? Aren’t we all created by the same God? So why can’t we get along? Why do we desecrate the covenant of our ancestors that binds us together?
John 1:3 – Everything was created through him; nothing—not one thing!— came into being without him. What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by. The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out.
Genesis 1:26 – God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, And, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.” God created human beings; he created them godlike, Reflecting God’s nature. He created them male and female. God blessed them: “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge! Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air, for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.”
Luke 6:35 – “I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind”.
Colossians 1:15 – We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment.
I could keep going verse, after verse, after verse, that simply says we were all made in his image and given life for a purpose. So why do we hate as we do?
We live in a dualistic world where we find it necessary to feed our egos by choosing sides. I want to be right, so you have to be wrong. We feed hatred from that. We feed a feeling of superiority from that. I see it everyday as so many compete with each other over race. Over religion. Over politics. Over our standing in the community. Over who’s right and who’s wrong like anyone knows that but God. We place ourselves on such a pedestal as to think we can judge others based on our ideas as if our ideas are right and others ideas are wrong.
Why can’t we simply see each other, equally in the eyes of our God. Trust me when I tell you that your sin, my sin, is the same, not worse and not better than the very man that brings destruction to this world. Because we are all related by our Heavenly Father can’t we simply be the human family instead of the human race?
You may say “Wake up Perry! We can’t all sat around the campfire singing Kumbaya”
But is that not what will happen in the presence of our Savior and our God?
As I saw myself standing on that block of wood. Naked… ashamed… and wondering why me I thought of how my Savior sees me. He looks past the dirt. He looks past the ugliness. He looks straight into my soul and he sees himself. He sees the love that was given to me, the day he made me, and breathed life into my spirit. He paid a great price to take me away from a life of slavery.
Romans 8:38-39 – So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture
So the next time you find yourself thinking bad thoughts of someone that may be different than you. Next time you find hatred in your heart because of differences in religion, politics, race, or simply because their life is different than yours. Stop and look at them the way Jesus would. From a place of his love that can be found in your heart… because he put it there!
In His Love, Perry D. Hoover
Footnote; Slavery is still being practiced today right here in our country. Young girls and boys are being sold as subjects of sex and perversion. If you can, please give of your blessings in an effort to stop it. https://love146.org