Some of the most dramatic rescue video I’ve watched featured strangers linking arms to form a human chain to rescue a person who had fallen over the edge of a cliff. The most inspiring thing was the way a diverse group united at great personal risk to accomplish what one individual alone could not. No one jumped off the cliff to join the man in trouble even though he was frightened into a nearly frozen position. Instead, a skilled spokesman gave calming instruction and reassurance so that the group could use their corporate strength to pull up one, avoiding the risk to all for two.
I believe the body of Christ is poised for an opportunity to do something very significant in the arena of race relations that is not easily accomplished alone. Those of us identifying ourselves as believers are as diverse a group as one could possibly imagine. This is God’s ingenious design and gifting to thoroughly equip the body for works of service. “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” (1 Corinthians 12:12-13) Notably, we did not choose our families, races, or sexes; the God of all Wisdom and Understanding did it according to His good purpose. Jesus is the great Equalizer and Unifier, and His sacrificial death leveled the playing field “And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him Who died for them and was raised again.” (2 Cor 5:15)
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come. All of this is from God Who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” (2 Cor 5:17-18) In order to extend the love and grace of God we’ve received to others, we must keep our feet firmly rooted in the solid ground of Christ, rather than joining those hanging onto the cliff of anger, injustice, and disparity. At the same time, we must listen and hear both with our hearts to empathize, and our spiritual ears to receive the Lord’s instructions, in order to be effective. Our assignment as reconcilers also includes responding to a fellow believer who has stepped too close to the cliff and inadvertently fallen. Only from secure ground can we become the human chain of linked arms to pull as many to safety as are willing to come. It is the individual’s choice to grasp the extended hand. Our job is to extend the hand; “Christ’s love compels us.” (2 Cor 5:14)
As the body of Christ, we should be united in Him and His love as the first order of importance. If we make this primary, then it will instruct everything that follows. Wherever there is stark disunity, we can be certain other agendas are at work, for Christ is not divided. (1 Cor 1:10-17) Therefore, we must be on our guard, testing everything, and determined to reject what is meant to pit brothers and sisters in Christ against each other. We do not rewrite history, but we learn from it, so as not to repeat it. We celebrate our differences as a corporate consolidation that revels in a vast array of abilities, knowledge, and understanding. And we “Let all things be done with love.” (1 Cor 16:14) “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35) Will you lock arms?