A Black Life That Mattered: A Story of Racism and Redemption

A Little Lesson

In this episode of Little Lessons, Bible teacher David Servant shares the personal story of a black friend who overcame the sin of racism with love. Learn more!

picture of black man

The following excerpt is taken from a transcript of the video above.

A Black life that mattered, a story of racism and redemption. So, I want to tell you a story today about racism and redemption because that’s something that’s in a lot of people’s minds lately. And we’ve been hearing so much about the problems of racism in the United States, as well as in other parts of the world.

Now, let me preface all this by saying that if you’re a believer in Jesus Christ, you recognize that there’s no room for any racism in your life any longer. And the gospel does transform people. First of all, it brings us all down to the same level. There’s nobody superior. We’re all sinners in the eyes of God. And that’s why Jesus died for everyone of every race. And, then we’re put into the family of God as equals, brothers and sisters. And so, it doesn’t make one bit of difference what the color of your skin is. And true Christians love each other, and they don’t care about something as silly as the tone of a person’s skin.

And that reminds me, of course, of the fact that scientifically and genetically, really, there is no such thing as races. God made one race, the human race, and all of us share about 99.9% of identical DNA. And the little tiny differences that determine one’s tone of skin are infinitesimal by comparison to everything else that makes a human being. And if we’re going to not like people based on some tiny little genetic difference, like the size of their nose, or the color of their eyes, or the color of their hair I don’t have words strong enough, but I think asinine would be one word that would be appropriate. So anyways, that’s the biblical take on racism in just a nutshell.

But I want to tell you a story about a dear friend, a former friend of mine. I haven’t seen him in years. But he was my Bible school roommate about 40 years ago. His name was [My-ron 00:00:02:59], Myron Wallace. And Myron was a wonderful follower of Jesus Christ who also happened to genetically have, we’d call it, black skin. He was from Washington DC, and he had an encounter with Jesus Christ through a street preacher. And street preacher’s asked him a question. I think something about, where do you think you’ll be spending eternity? And although he didn’t react at that moment or get down on his knees and repent, he thought about it throughout the day. And I forget how long it took, but eventually without too many days, he repented of his sins, and he was gloriously born again, transformed. And he was, like all people who have been born again, changed from selfish to a loving, caring individual.

And Myron, oh my goodness, the fruitfulness in his life was overwhelming. And it was just an absolute joy, and an amazing experience to have him as my roommate for well, an entire year at, at Bible school. And I don’t have time to tell you the circumstances about how we ended up together living in the same apartment. But Myron was such a servant. And became a dear, dear, dear friend. You couldn’t not love Myron. He just was always looking for opportunities to show how much he loved other people. Didn’t make any difference, anything about you, he just loved you.

I can remember times when I’d get up in the morning and go take a shower and I’d come back into my room, we had a two bedroom apartment, and Myron, he made my bed for me. I mean, incredible. It got to the place, of course, where I learned as soon as I get out of bed, make my bed before I get a shower because otherwise Myron’s labile to make it for me. And we’d be driving along somewhere and he’d say, “Hey, would you stop over there at that Dairy Queen?” And I’d say, “Well, sure,” I’d stop. And he’d go up to the Dairy Queen and I’d assume that he’s going to buy himself an ice cream cone, or something, and he’d come out with a chocolate milkshake, and he’d hand it to me. And I’d say, “What?” And he said, “Yeah, yeah, I felt led to get you a chocolate milkshake.” And he wouldn’t have one for himself.

So, anyways, I can tell you story after story with Myron. I remember driving with him numerous times, we’d come to a stoplight, and there’d be a car beside us. And Myron would motion to the people in the car beside us to roll down your window. Back in the days, when most people had to roll their windows down, didn’t push a button. And the person would kind of roll down their window. And Myron would look at them with he most sincere, kind, loving face and he didn’t say, “Did you know that Jesus loves you?” And just say it slow and deliberate. And people, they didn’t know how to deal with Myron because he just loved everybody.

So, anyways, when I fell in love with the woman who, ultimately, became my wife, and we’ve been married now, it’ll be 41 years this month, I asked Myron to be the best man in my wedding. And it was a no brainer, obvious choice. This guy was my dearest friend. And he agreed, graciously agreed. Actually, humbly agreed. He always had the I’m not worthy kind of mentality, but I talked him into it and he acquiesced. And so, it was going to be great. And then, my wife and I, in order to honor one of our relatives, who was a pastor asked if he would perform our ceremony. And this was a close, close relative, and he initially agreed, but when he discovered that the best man was a Black man, he came to us and said that he was sorry, but he wouldn’t be able to do the wedding, perform our wedding.

And he said it in such a way that it forced us to realize that we were in a very difficult place. We could either dishonor him and alienate that close relative, perhaps, for many years by not acquiescing to his racism. Or I could hurt a dear precious brother in Christ, a friend who I love very much. And so, oh, it was tough for young people like us in our very early 20s to try to figure out what to do. And I’m not giving you all the details, so I’m going to ask you to show me a little bit of grace here as well. But if I did tell you all the details, sales you’d understand even more so what a terrible this relative put us into. And, of course, we did not want to give into his racism but, on the other hand, we didn’t want to cause a big scene with him, and perhaps spilling over into the rest of the family. And if you have a family, you know how families are.

So, we got some counsel and then I told Myron about it. And I told Myron, basically, “We’re not going to give into this. We love you, this is wrong. This person is a pastor. It’s terribly, terribly wrong of them to refuse to do our wedding because there’s a Black man as the best man.” But he wouldn’t listen for a moment. He says, “Oh no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. This is very simple for me to know what to do.” He said, “I’m backing out, and this will keep peace within the family,” and so on and so forth. “And it’s no big deal for me.” He said, “I’ve experienced this kind of treatment all my life.”

And I can hardly even talk about it without tearing up a little bit right now because it’s so touching, Myron’s willingness to take the higher ground, which he did. And so, in the end, we decided to say, “Yes, Myron, we’ll accept your gracious, kind, considerate action here to step away.” And I got somebody else then to agree to be the best man. But this is not the end of the story. The best part is yet to come, and I’m kind of out of time, but I’ll just speed this along.

So, after the wedding, Myron invited that relative who performed our wedding and his wife over to our apartment to have them over for dinner. And he asked me not to be there, so that he could just be there with them by himself. And they accepted his offer, and they came over to our apartment. And Myron fixed them this wonderful, wonderful, wonderful meal. Put all day into it and just served them to the nth degree. And it, of course, touched our racist relative’s life who had such a low opinion of people with darker skin, and his opinion dramatically changed that day. And so, there’s the redemption.

And I wanted to read you one scripture from the Bible that I think is so applicable here. This is in the New Testament, Romans Chapter 13 and verse number … actually Romans 12, excuse me, Verse number 19. “Dear friends never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God for the scriptures, say, I will take revenge. I will pay them back, says the Lord. Instead, if your enemies are hungry, feed them. And if they are thirsty and give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” And that’s exactly what Myron did to that racist pastor.

“Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” And there’s the answer right there. There’s the answer right there. And so, I’ll let the word of God speak for itself. All right, thank you so very much for joining me on this Little Lesson.

Until next time, may the Lord bless you.