Podcast about Racism with Benjamin Lee – Part 1

Racism and prejudice are real and they still exist. Today’s podcast is part 1 of a discussion I had with Benjamin Lee about racism. We discuss how we as Christians and leaders can help move forward toward healing.

Click here to listen to Part 1 of the Shepherding Talk podcast on Racism with Benjamin Lee.

Benjamin’s books, coaching resources, and podcasts can all be found on benjaminlee.blog.

Check out Benjamin Lee’s “Nehemiah Effect” section of his website that has a great collection of videos, audio and articles on racism. Here is a short description of the “Nehemiah Effect” work that Benjamin is doing:

“After the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis I decided to create the Nehemiah Effect. I had a lot of people asking me, “What can I do.” “What should I say?” The idea behind the Nehemiah Effect comes from the story of Nehemiah in the Old Testament. Nehemiah was a man of action. He saw a problem and took action. His faith was in God. Like Nehemiah, we all can do something to help others. We can do something for good. My newsletter and information on my website provides different ideas we can do to do good to others. I also provide articles dealing with racism, along with book recommendations for people who are looking to learn more about racism.”

The Nehemiah Effect by Benjamin Lee

Poisoned

“For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity” (Acts 8:23).

Poisoned. That is the climate around us today in so many circles. So many are poisoned by bitterness, or hatred, or racism, or a dangerous religious ideology.

A quick definition from Merriam-Webster: (1) a substance that can cause people or animals to die or to become very sick if it gets into their bodies especially by being swallowed. (2) something (such as an idea, emotion, or situation) that is very harmful or unpleasant.

This poison is being spread on social media, by political and religious leaders, and by news media outlets with an agenda. It is not one-sided; this poison is coming from all directions of the political spectrum.

This poisonous rhetoric is stirring up great violence and even more animosity and distrust. Please consider the following passages to see the effect that influential leaders can have on the people.

Words can be poisonous

But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brethren (Acts 14:2).

But the Jews who were not persuaded, becoming envious, took some of the evil men from the marketplace, and gathering a mob, set all the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people (Acts 17:5).

But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was preached by Paul at Berea, they came there also and stirred up the crowds (Acts 17:13).

The whole city of Ephesus was filled with confusion and a riotous mob assembled (Acts 19:29). This happened because certain influential people came and stirred them up against Paul and the other teachers of the gospel. When the crowds heard the words of those influential business leaders, “they were full of wrath…” (Acts 19:28).

Search your hearts for Poison, men.

  1. Am I poisoned by this bitterness, hatred, and distrust? Ask for God to search your heart and to draw out any of this poison from your soul (Psalm 139:23-24).
  2. Am I someone who is fueling the fires by spreading more of this poison? Am I spreading it on social media? Am I spreading it to my co-workers and fellow students? Am I a person who is stoking the fires? Am I spreading it to my kids? Your words have incredible power, they can bring life or spread poison (Proverbs 18:21).
  3. Am I feasting my mind on this poison by continuing to listen to the people who are spreading this poison? Upon what are we meditating, my friends (Philippians 4:8).

May we all come to the Great Physician for real healing and real peace. May we be the kind of men that spread truth and love, not poison.

Be Careful What You Ask For

The nation of Israel as a whole was frustrated by the high taxation that existed during Solomon’s reign (1 Kings 12:4). When Solomon died, his son Rehoboam took the throne. As a result of pride and bad advice, Rehoboam decided to increase the tax burden on the people. This resulted in 10 tribes rebelling under the leadership of Jeroboam, whom they named as their first king (931 BC).

They wanted change, and they were hoping for change, but the change they got was so bad that Israel never recovered. Jeroboam fundamentally transformed northern Israel. New gods. New priesthood. New days of worship. New location to worship God. I want to emphasize the point that all future kings in northern Israel kept these changes in place until their captivity by Assyria in 722 BC. They sacrificed the long-term spiritual health of the nation for temporary economic relief.

Be Careful What You Ask For!

We as a nation seem to be just as fickle as the people of Israel. One president or party is in power and we get sick of it and go to the opposite extreme: from Bush to Clinton to Bush to Obama.

The caution the Scriptures provide is…be careful what you ask for.

  • Do not vote with the “I’m just sick of the current crop of leaders” kind of mentality. You might put yourself in a worse situation than before!
  • Do not vote upon the emotions of the moment or a few good speeches. Because of the emotion of the moment, the Jews killed Jesus and asked for a murderer to be released instead. Look at history to see what happens when the emotions of the moment control the people.
  • Do not vote based on the temporary benefits that your favorite politician promises to give you. What is the long-term cost for those short-term goodies?
  • Have you fasted and prayed before you decided on a candidate?
  • Have you sought the counsel from God’s word before you decided on a candidate?
  • Have you considered the long-term spiritual consequences of your vote?

The nations have sunk down in the pit which they have made; in the net which they hid, their own foot has been caught…the wicked will return to Sheol, even all the nations who forget God (Psalms 9:15,17).

A Moral People

Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters. – Benjamin Franklin

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. – John Adams.

I don’t feel so “Super” after this past Tuesday to be honest with you. It is not who won or lost, but what items are apparently the most important on a majority of Americans’ minds. Some say, “We need an outsider,” while others says, “We need someone with Washington experience.” Some are calling, “Go back to the Constitution…we need limited government,” while others say, “The Constitution needs updating…we need to grow government.”

None of this really gets to what is really going on here in America.

The main focus of the leading political candidates, the leadership in Washington (both parties) and the majority of the American people is not on the morality and godless climate that exists. Their focus is not on Jesus Christ, but on all the temporary, fleshly things that will all one day be consumed. So what if we build a wall to keep certain people out, but the godlessness within is crumbling the nation? What does it matter to give everyone free healthcare when the inner man of so many is full of the Devil’s cancer?

I say these things not to be negative and hopeless, because I am not without hope. But I do write this to remind Christian men that we cannot allow ourselves to get all consumed and obsessed with the political controversies of the day. We must remain focused on Christ as King and to talk about the issues He determines are important.

God Reigns – God is in control, and He is working things according to His will and purpose. “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord” (Proverbs 16:33). The Lord rules in the kingdoms of men (Daniel 4:25), and He rules in America, no matter who is residing on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. No one can vote Him out of office.

Primary Focus – Pardon the pun, but our “primary” focus right now should be influencing people for Christ and showing them to the cross. It does not mean that we avoid the political process, because many of God’s children in Scripture were involved in political leadership. However, we can become so overwhelmed and focused on this current political climate that we take our eyes off the ball spiritually. Some Christians seem to be more obsessed with winning people to their political way of thinking than winning souls for Christ. Some Christians will stand for hours holding signs at a rally, but won’t drive across town to visit someone who needs encouragement. Which will improve the condition in America, getting someone to vote for your candidate or helping someone grow closer to Jesus?

For extra reading and meditation, read 1 Peter 2 today.

Proverbs 28:2 – By the transgression of a land many are its princes, but by a man of understanding and knowledge, so it endures.