In this excerpt from Dream with Me: Race, Love, and the Struggle We Must Win, John Perkins reminds us that God hates wrongdoing and loves justice—and that our differences should not divide us.
Human beings were created as one race—in the image of God. For some reason or another, though, we have doubted that central truth. We have allowed ourselves to believe we are divided by deep and irreconcilable differences, but that is not the truth of the gospel. . . .
The things that divide us are differences of ethnicity, nationality, and culture. Many of our differences result from the location and environment we were raised in or the various ways we were told to think or act. Maybe we imitated the behaviors of those around us. This does not mean one way a person was raised is right, while the others are wrong; it just means there are differences. More often, the most dangerous divide between us is our lust for power and deep greed that makes us hate our neighbors and think only of ourselves.
But when we view ourselves as one race, one human race, I think we start to recognize that these differences are not insurmountable. We have a common place to start from. We must start viewing other people as human beings, not as obstacles to getting what we want. We can start believing that as members of the family of God, reconciled to him through the blood of Jesus Christ, we are actually brothers and sisters.
The gospel’s very purpose is to reconcile. The church is energized by a wholeness—by taking the gospel to the whole world. . . . But still, we have not come to fully understand this. “From one blood,” we are told, God made “every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26 NKJV). We have to start seeing this cohesion, this oneness. Right before Jesus went to the cross, he prayed that all believers, past, present, and future “may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:21 NKJV).
This was Jesus’s prayer for us all, yet more often than not, I fear we have not lived up to it. Instead, we fight for our own way, for our selfish desires, for our right to be superior. We build churches centered on our own cultural ideas of God, rather than on seeking to bring us back to him. And then we fight with other churches and religions about who is serving their personal culture god the best.
Come dream with me. Dream of a fight for something bigger, something more important and worthwhile. We need to fight for justice and peace, for the walls between us to come crashing down. “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Eph 4:4–6).
Jesus’s love is our model for love. If we truly love all people, we “shine among them like stars in the sky” (Phil 2:15), pointing others to Christ.
That’s a dream worth the fight.1
This post is adapted from Dream with Me: Race, Love, and the Struggle We Must Win, (BakerBooks, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 2018). The title is the addition of an editor.
The author’s views do not necessarily represent those of Faithlife.