Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution.
The horrible killing of George Floyd is just another reminder that hatred and racism is real in this country.
There was racial / ethic tension in the early church. It was real. Here is just one example.
Some widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. The Hebrew widows were doing just fine. They never missed a meal, and the Hebrews made sure their widows were well cared for. It was the Greek (Hellenist) Jews, whose widows were being overlooked.
The neglect, the favoritism, and the divide came to a head. The Hellenists cried out against the Hebrews because of the unfair treatment. “This isn’t right,” they said.
What did the apostles do? Did they dismiss the problem? Nope. Did they accuse the Hellenists of bad motives, of not being thankful, of creating a problem that doesn’t exist? Nope. Did they come back with “All Widows Matter.” Nope. Did they threaten and intimidate the Hellenists for speaking up? Nope.
What the apostles did first of all was listen. The leadership listened. They heard the cries of those who were being neglected and mistreated.
Secondly, they accepted that the problem was real and needed a godly solution. It was time to act.
Third they empowered the church, including those who were being mistreated to be part of the solution (Acts 6:3-6). Those who are in leadership and are reading this article, please, please, please see that it was the church, not the leadership, who selected the 7 men who would oversee the care of the widows. The apostles demonstrated confidence in the church to select who would take care of this issue. Notice that all 7 men had Greek names, not Hebrew ones (Acts 6:5). The group chose Greek (Hellenist) men to address the problem. Can you imagine us choosing an all-white panel to address racism in America?
These three basic things must be done today by our leaders, in churches, in business, and in America. Leaders have to listen, especially right now. Leaders cannot dismiss a problem that many people are consistently bringing up. Leaders have to empower people to be part of the solution.
Don’t get caught up in the reactions of some who are doing wrong and miss the hurt and pain of so many who are living what many of us have dismissed and don’t have to deal with on a daily basis.
Don’t dismiss. Be part of the solution.
Empower others to be part of the solution.
Tomorrow, I’m going to post articles and videos from our sisters in Christ who are African American. Listen to them. Hear their pain and what they experience.