Je­sus isn't play­ing (Part 2)

South Florida Times - - PRAYERFUL LIVING - By Rev. Maria Mal­lory White and Rev. John F.White II GIV­ING BACK: Con­tact the Whites @ theit.org.

REV. MARIA MAL­LORY WHITE AND REV. JOHN F. WHITE II

As we con­tinue in our re­flec­tion on the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy as a preacher of the gospel of Je­sus Christ, we return to a ser­mon he preached more than 60 years ago in Mont­gomery, Alabama, at the Dex­ter Av­enue Bap­tist Church be­cause his words are no less a prophetic re­minder to be­liev­ers now than they were then: When He said, Love your en­e­mies, King pro­claimed, “Je­sus wasn’t play­ing.”

But how? How? How did Je­sus ex­pect us to do that? How did King ex­pect us to do that? First, be­liev­ers in Je­sus Christ are to re­mem­ber who we are. In the scrip­ture, when Je­sus is teach­ing and preach­ing, “Love your enemy,” He is shar­ing in His Ser­mon on the Mount vivid ex­am­ples of what a life in God’s king­dom looks like, what a life trans­formed by grace looks like, what life in union with God—Fa­ther, Son and Holy Spirit—re­ally looks like. Je­sus is teach­ing us Who we are in Christ. So, the first thing that has to hap­pen in lov­ing your en­e­mies is to know who you are in Christ.

You need to know who you are in Christ so that you can live your life as God in­tended. The more you agree with God about who you are in Christ, the more your be­hav­ior will be­gin to re­flect your God­given iden­tity. God's opin­ion is the one that counts. When we ac­cept what God says about us and agree with God that who we are in Christ is true, we be­come the spir­i­tual per­son—one full of grace, God’s su­per­nat­u­ral power—to be truly who God says we are. And that’s the point—we are who God says we are and not who they say we are!

King told the folk at Dex­ter words that couldn’t be more rel­e­vant for us to­day:

Now, I’m aware of the fact that some peo­ple will not like you, not be­cause of some­thing you have done to them, but they just won’t like you. I’m quite aware of that.

Some peo­ple aren’t go­ing to like the way you walk; some peo­ple aren’t go­ing to like the way you talk. Some peo­ple aren’t go­ing to like you be­cause you can do your job bet­ter than they can do theirs. Some peo­ple aren’t go­ing to like you be­cause other peo­ple like you, and be­cause you’re pop­u­lar, and be­cause you’re well-liked, they aren’t go­ing to like you.

Some peo­ple aren’t go­ing to like you for a va­ri­ety of su­per­fi­cial rea­sons. They’re go­ing to dis­like you, not be­cause of some­thing you’ve done to them, but be­cause of var­i­ous jeal­ous re­ac­tions and other re­ac­tions that are so preva­lent in hu­man na­ture.

And guess what? They may be all wrong in their rea­sons not to like you. But here’s the truth: None of us is perfect. We all have our flaws, fail­ings, foibles and fool­ish­ness. We’ve all been wrong, done wrong and are do­ing wrong. All of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Ro­mans 8:23).

It’s hard to ac­cept this in the sound­bite, so­cial-me­dia over­loaded world we’re liv­ing in, but we’re not the stereo­types and the car­i­ca­tures we make of each other. Not all black folk are thugs. But we ain’t all saints, ei­ther! Not all po­lice are cold­blooded, racist killers. But they aren’t all saints, ei­ther! All hu­mans—ev­ery one of us—have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. And that means re­gard­less of whether our stuff is on TV and makes the head­lines or not, we all need a Sav­ior.

The Word of God says, “Let God be true and ev­ery hu­man be­ing a liar” (Ro­mans 3:4). Do you know who you are? Be­cause Je­sus isn’t play­ing.

God’s Word says if you are in Christ you

NEW OR­LEANS (AP) - Grammy Award­win­ning artist, Chance the Rap­per, will de­liver this year's com­mence­ment ad­dress to grad­u­ates of Dil­lard Univer­sity. The school's 82nd Com­mence­ment cer­e­monies for more than 200 grad­u­ates will be held Saturday, May 12, at 8 a.m. on the cam­pus' his­toric Av­enue of the Oaks.

Dil­lard Pres­i­dent Dr. Wal­ter M. Kim­brough says Chance the Rap­per, whose real name is Chancelor Ben­nett, is part of a new wave of artists who can openly talk about faith while be­ing in hip hop, bal­anc­ing the sec­u­lar and the sacred. In 2017, the 24-year-old's in­de­pen­dent project “Col­or­ing Book'' be­came the first stream­ing-only al­bum to be nom­i­nated and win a Grammy.

“He's not signed but a mul­ti­ple Grammy win­ner,'' Kim­brough said, not­ing that Ben­nett of­ten gives away his music, movie tick­ets, Jor­dan-brand ten­nis shoes and awards to school teach­ers. “He's the artist that your grand­mother would love.''

Kim­brough, who's known as the HipHop Prez, teaches a class on ethics and hip hop and has sought Ben­nett to ap­pear on cam­pus for two years.

Ben­nett has been in­ten­tional with us­ing are loved, ac­cepted, you are a mem­ber of Christ's body, a saint, cho­sen of God, holy and dearly loved, and you have been given ex­ceed­ingly great and pre­cious prom­ises by God by which you share His na­ture.

And God works in you to help you do the things God wants you to do (Philip­pi­ans 4:13). In other words, when the Giver of ev­ery good and perfect gift gave you the gift of sal­va­tion, you also re­ceived the su­per­nat­u­ral power of God’s grace to be who God says you are and do what God calls you to do! Je­sus isn’t play­ing, but you’ve got to know who and Whose you are!

Now, that’s on the in­di­vid­ual level. How can we love our en­e­mies on the group or col­lec­tive level, too? his ever grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity to give back to his home­town of Chicago, es­pe­cially the youth who ad­mire him. In 2014, Chance used (hash)savechicago to stop gun-vi­o­lence for 42 hours and since then, he's forged ahead. And for three years, whether through host­ing monthly high school OpenMike se­ries at Chicago's Pub­lic Li­braries, rais­ing over $100,000 to bring sleep­ing-bags and coats to Chicago's home­less, or rais­ing over $4 mil­lion for his lo­cal Chicago Pub­lic School Sys­tem, Ben­net makes help­ing oth­ers a pri­or­ity.

Ben­nett is also the founder and pres­i­dent of So­cialWorks, a non­profit cre­ated to em­power youth through the arts, ed­u­ca­tion, and civic en­gage­ment, and it's his aim to re­shape the pos­si­bil­i­ties through free­dom and ac­cess for the youth of Chicago and the globe.

“The ac­tivism is a bonus with Chance,'' Kim­brough said. “I thought he made for a great com­mence­ment speaker be­cause of his spirit of be­ing en­tre­pre­neur­ial and au­then­tic. But his civic en­gage­ment, in­clud­ing en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to vote and will­ing­ness to speak out on is­sues, like his re­cent op­po­si­tion to a Heineken ad, are just as para­mount.''

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF THE WHITES

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