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ITOWN TV Episode 10: Breaking the Cycle

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♪♪♪ Dave Sumrall: Hey everyone, welcome to "ITOWN TV" My name is Dave, and my wife Kate and I pastor ITOWN Church

I'm so glad you've joined us because today, we're going to take a look at a very important issue facing our country today, and that's racism Now, I'm not going to pretend to have all the answers, but if we're ever going to break down barriers and put an end to inequality and injustices we see in our country, we have to at least have a conversation So, let's take a minute to put emotions aside, let's put aside all of our preconceived ideas, and let's just take a moment to open our hearts, and go to God's Word, and see what the Bible says about breaking the cycle of racism ♪♪♪ Dave: I want to talk about the racial tension that we see in the world around us today because I believe it's a topic that needs to be addressed here at ITOWN We don't shy away from the difficult conversations and from the things that oftentimes would make us uncomfortable

And this is a conversation that makes everybody on both sides of the aisle very, very uncomfortable to discuss, and I think it's something that's worth fighting for and worth having a conversation about And I'm going to go to God's Word In James chapter 2 and verse 1, the Bible says, "My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others?" Now, let's just be honest, all of us play favorites in life If you are a parent at any level of multiple children, you know you have favorites, there's just no way around it Our whole family is like, "George can do no wrong

" It's not fair, George, he just is George I mean, his name is George for crying out loud, it's just George And so, Kate and I both favor George, unfortunately We just think he's the best And we love all of our kids, they're all in this service, and they're shaking their heads at me like this, "It's wrong

" It is, but it is what it is We are normal people And what I want to do is let's take a moment to remove all of the emotion from this conversation Now, let's back out and take a 10,000 foot view at what's happening in the world around us Because social scientists have this term that's called an in-group bias

Jot this down if you're taking notes, an in-group bias says that my in-group is like me And then those who are not like me would be in an out-group And this can apply to all different types of groupings of people 'cause we group in lots of different ways, like based on religion, or based on sex, or based on your profession There's an in-group that you have like this automatic affinity to There are people that you just automatically connect to

And so, subconsciously, the thought is that if we don't actively work, we will all passively discriminate against other types of people Not necessarily race, just people that are not like us And so, it's very important for us to be aware of the fact that it's easy for us to fall into that And when you apply it to the topic of race, it can become racist Now, I'm not calling a single person here a racist

In fact, most people, in fact I hope I never meet a single person who would self-identify as a racist Nobody would say, "I am a racist" But I would submit to you that all of us, from every race, all have discriminatory tendencies that are a part of our fallen nature that have to be addressed I want you to jot a couple things down because there are some assumptions that we make about our in-group And if you want to resource all of this, there's a phenomenal book written by Pastor Miles McPherson called "The Third Option

" It's kind of what we're discussing as our basic construct of the message today because it gives us this beautiful picture of how we need to view this conversation, all right? Assumptions that we make about our in-group Number one, we just would say, "You know what? I'm more comfortable with those who are like me" That's a natural thing I have this natural connection I just am more comfortable

Number two, we'd say, "I'm more inclined to spend time with those who are like me" We make these assumptions about that in-group, the people who look like us Number three, I'm more patient, tend to be more patient with people who I connect with I feel like there's just this natural connection Number four, I give the benefit of the doubt to those who are like me

Number five, another assumption, I give more grace when mistakes are made to those who are like me Number six, here's another one, it's easier to communicate with those who are like me We have our inside language, it's just easier, we understand each other Number seven, we assume that I'll get along easier with those who are like me because we have more things in common And so, and then number eight, I'll go out of my way, I'm more likely to go out of my way to help those who are like me because we have this in-group bias, this mentality that people are just easier to be around, easier to connect with because they're just like us

We have some things in common Here's the problem, in-group bias creates what we have in culture today, it's an us versus them mentality And that's what the world would like for you to believe, that you have to be all in one camp or all in another camp You are all Republican or you are all Democrat, and the two can't get along and can't have conversations You are either pro law enforcement or you are pro black, but you can't be both

That's what the world would have you believe, that it's an us versus them And I'm here to submit to you today that there's a third option, that we would back up from all of that and understand that we can love our black community and we can stand together in unity while still praying for and believing in those who have sworn to protect our safety And recognize that there are bad people in this world and it must be dealt with, it must be eradicated, but it doesn't mean that all law enforcement is the same In fact, if you look across the country, we see law enforcement marching They're begging for the change just like we are

And so, don't fall into this trap that you have to be pro one thing at the expense of something else We can be pro people because we have all been created in the image of God And so, what we have to do as the third option is we have to look to the best and look to what unites us together as humanity And so, we go back to James chapter 2 and verse 1, and he says, "My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith? How can you even call yourself a Christian if you're involving yourself in this playing favorites?" Discriminatory behavior So, while it comes naturally, this subconscious discrimination that many of us embrace towards people who are not like us, the Bible calls us to a place of discomfort, a place of growth, a place of change

It says if you really want to be like Jesus, you're going to get outside of your comfort zone, and you're going to begin to understand the people around you and the world around you In fact, in verse 9, he goes on to say, "If you favor some people over others, you're committing a sin" And I think we need to understand that it is a sin We need to call it what it is, it is horrible, it is disgusting, it is sinful, and it must be abolished from American culture It has to be eradicated, it must be

So, here's the very, very simple solution from every people group and every background towards everyone else in your world as a believer My challenge for you is intentionally apply your in-group bias to your out-group Because that's really the crux of the gospel, that's what Paul did in 1 Corinthians He says in verse 9, "To the Jews I became like a Jew to win the Jews But to those under the law, I became like one under the law so to win those under the law

" Verse 21: "To those not having the law, I became like one not having the law so as to win those not having the law To the weak, I became weak to win the weak And I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some" So Paul said, "I'm going to get outside of my own comfort zone I'm going to begin to interview and to ask questions

I'm going to have conversations so I can understand what it's like to be weak I can understand what it's like to be a person that's under the law I can understand what it's like to be a Gentile and having never had the law So that I can fit into their world, begin to understand their perspective so that we can have a commonality, find common ground, and have a relationship that moves us forward for the purpose of the kingdom" And so, that's what we're going to do today

We're going to have a conversation about what would it look like for us to take our in-group bias and apply it to the out-group What would it look like for us, what would it require of us to put ourselves in someone else's shoes? And for those of you who are white today, I'm just going to ask for just the next few moments that you listen with an open heart Let's check all of our biases and all of our statistics and all the things we think we know at the door, and let's just listen And then pray and see what the Holy Spirit leads you to believe about this subject I'm going to ask you to do three things from God's Word

The first thing that we have to do is we have to listen I think we have to listen And to be honest with you, I don't know that even I have listened as well as I could We've been having some very productive and very eye-opening conversations And it ironically started for me many months ago, long before this tension was created

This has always been a problem in our country And I have some wonderful black pastor friends of mine that I get the opportunity to spend time with And I had the chances a few months ago with a dear friend, Jimmy Rollins, to spend some time with him And we got to talking in the car, we landed at a conference at the same time, and I said, "Man, cancel your rental car, just jump in with me Let's ride together, save the money

" And we got to talking and had this beautiful conversation, and it began to really open up my perspective to things I had not seen before And so, here's the verse I want to follow, James chapter 1 and verse 19, you've heard this before "My brothers, take note of this, everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry" I don't think there's a better verse for this subject than this verse We need to be quick to listen, slow to give our opinion, and slow to bring emotion to this conversation

Let's keep emotion out of it, all of our preconceived ideas and all of our frustration 'Cause I may say things that are true that don't feel true to you I may say things that almost sound offensive to you, but I want you to listen with an open heart 'cause I would submit to you that as a white American, most of us would just have a blind spot to what it's like being a minority in our nation You know why? Because we will never be a minority You will never experience what it's like to live in America not being white

That's just a fact And because of that, it comes with inherent blind spots And while a lot of white people would be very offended by the word "privilege" or the conversation about privilege, I would submit to you that there are advantages and benefits that are given to white people in this nation that are of no earning of our own And many people would say, "Well, I take offense to that because I've worked hard to get where I'm at And I've fought and I've struggled and I've sacrificed

" And I'm not making light of any of that, I have too And I acknowledge that While at the same time, I would ask you the question, have you ever worried on your loan application putting down what race you are and wondering if that'll impact the outcome? 'Cause I've never thought of that, never in my life Do you ever look over your shoulder in a store to wonder if that person's actually cleaning or if they're following you? 'Cause I've never left the store worried about them thinking I stole something, never in my life But see, most of us as white people would never ever think of that because those are privileges that have been given to us just because we're white

And I would submit to you that we have to have these uncomfortable conversations because change only happens when we become aware And I think it's devastating the things that happen in our culture today, and most of us wouldn't believe it In fact, I as a nonracist growing up was like, "Racism doesn't even exist What are they even talking about? And this is crazy Why are we having this conversation?" Because my worldview is that I've never been a victim of racism and I've never participated in racism, therefore for me, racism does not exist

But I have friends from this church who have twins, one's a little bit more light skinned than the other, twins, twin girls And on a playground in Carmel, they were told, "You can play with us, but you can't because you're too dark" I'm not talking about 20, 30 years ago, I'm talking about last year There was a person on our staff who was in the Noblesville Wal-Mart on a Black Friday And a woman with–a white woman with three kids came around the corner, looked up and saw him texting a friend, and went, "Kids, get behind me

" Those are real experiences And I believe God has called us to challenge ourselves to address these issues because I don't think any of our people are intentionally racist, I just think we participate in a system that is not equal And we need to address it as it is And we need to listen Find a black person and ask questions, and say things like, "Look, I'm white and this might be offensive, but tell me about this

Tell me about that" You know that's all the black community is asking for is a conversation? Would somebody just listen? Would somebody hear our pain? We're tired from this imbalance, from the inequality And there's so many white people, friends of mine that are saying, "Look, there's just really not a problem, and look at all these other statistics, and look at these things that we see, and look at this, and look at that" I say throw all that out and find real people Ask them about their real experience

Let's listen so that we can see real change in the world around us There's a weight and a responsibility that comes with leading our nation as the church for a better tomorrow Number two, I think not only do we need to listen, but then we need to learn from the things that we're hearing We need to learn how to do better, and we need to make real change in the world around us, which means real change in our homes and real change in our own lives, real change in our own relationships Galatians chapter 6 says it this way in verse 2, "Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ

" Carry the weight of the people around you Well, I can't carry your weight if I don't know what you're carrying And so, I have to learn what it's like to be a black man, to be a black woman, to be a minority in America I have to understand that because it's a different experience than what you and I have It's just different

Like Jimmy was sharing with me in the car and it just honestly devastated me 'cause I just had never thought about it this way, he said, "You know, I never really experienced a lot of racism You know, there's little things that you notice that seemed strange as a kid, but you just kind of shake it off 'cause you're a kid Then you go to school one day in the fourth grade, you open a textbook one day, and they begin to tell you about slavery and civil rights" He said, "I saw an image of a black man hanging from a noose with a bunch of white people standing around" And he said, "You know, I understand that this doesn't happen in today's world, but now my world is rocked because I'm thinking this is so unsafe

I lived in a country where people thought this was okay" I'm not saying we shouldn't teach our past, I'm just saying as white people, we're not worried about when they start talking about the Civil War We don't ever prep our kids And I was devastated to learn there was a young man in our church who came home one day from school with tears in his eyes, and he says, "Mommy, does Pastor Dave and Kate hate me because I'm black?" And he was just weeping "Does Pastor Brendon not like me because I'm black, 'cause the color of my skin?" She said, "Baby, no

No, why would you ever think that?" It's just different And all I'm asking is that we'd learn Think about this, the talk for white families is sex, but the talk for black families is safety They sit you down, son, and tell you how you come home safe at night Even if you're not doing anything wrong, you say, "Yes, sir

" You don't talk back 'cause I want you home safe Number three as we close, we need to listen, we need to learn, and we need to love We need to love We need to get to a place that's uncomfortable for ourselves, out beyond ourselves like Philippians chapter 2 and verse 3 says, "When you do things, don't let selfishness or pride be your guide" "I know all these statistics, don't go there with that conversation

I already know I mean, we're at the place in this country where it's almost reversed now because we're bending over backwards" Selfishness and pride, we're only seeing things from our worldview It's time to get outside of ourselves and be humble enough to say, "You know what? Maybe I've missed it" I know in my heart, intentionally I've never done anything that would treat somebody else less than

But what if unintentionally, we've embraced mindsets and mentalities that has perpetuated a culture of inequality? So, why don't instead we be humble and give honor to others? You know what honor is? Honor is giving weight, it's giving value to others And I just want you to know if you're a minority here at ITOWN today, whether you're watching online or at one of our sites, you're here at Olson Farms, we value you, we love you You're important, you're special You matter to God, and you matter to us We honor you, why? Because in Genesis, I read it before, I mentioned it before, verse 26, God said, "Let us make human beings in our image

" In our image In the image of God, every man, woman, and child has been created, no matter the color of their skin And so, I challenge all of us to consider the third option Let's get comfortable with being uncomfortable Let's have conversations

Let's take a journey together Let's be the model of what it's like to create real change Proverbs 31 and verse 8 says, "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves" And I'm not saying that the black community does not have a voice I'm just saying it's on us to speak up as well and to ensure justice for those who are being crushed

I'm telling you, the black community is tired, and they are weary, and they have been fighting this fight without the support that they deserve And I just want you to know as your pastor, I would rather unintentionally be offensive than intentionally be silent We will not be silent on this issue And I may say the wrong thing and I might hurt somebody's feelings, and I'm sorry in advance, but we're going to at least speak out We're going to speak up

We're going to use our voice to make a difference And we speak out on all different types of subjects We've talked about abortion, and we have talked about marriage, and we have talked about what God wants in this world around us and what the Bible says And this is a core teaching of Jesus, and we need to speak up on it as well But the Jesus I serve came to make the outsiders insiders

And that's our job No matter what background we're from, step outside of our in-group to the out-group because this is the greatest form of love, as we close, that we give our lives, that we'd make a sacrifice, that we'd step out of what's comfortable and make a difference in the life of someone else Dave: While a topic like racism can often be incredibly uncomfortable, it's important for us to have some uncomfortable conversations so we can see change in our country, in our hearts, and truly make a difference in creating an environment of equality Now, I want you to know that while we stand behind our brothers and sisters who are fighting for equal rights, we're also praying for all of those who are in law enforcement, for our government leaders, and for those who are negatively impacted by the unfortunate riots that came on the backside of peaceful protests In fact, our church just recently joined together to pray for our city and help restore downtown Indianapolis

We came alongside minority owned businesses that were damaged in the riots Check this out ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ Dave: We want to give you this check on behalf of ITOWN Church for $10,000 for your business male: Wow Dave: 'Cause we want to be a part of the solution of helping downtown businesses stay on their feet

And we just want you to know that we love you and we support you And if there's anything you need, we're here for you male: Wow I don't know what to say Thank you, wow

This is amazing Dave: I thought for the haircut today, we would–we'd give you a check for $10,000 from ITOWN Church male: Oh my gosh, man Dave: We want to be a blessing to you and help you get your business back up on its feet, and get your windows fixed, and make sure you're here for a long time male: Oh my gosh man, God is–oh

Dave: Come on male: Oh man Oh man, thank you, bro, thank you Thank God, oh God Dave: We want to see y'all thrive and get back on your feet as soon as possible, and so we brought you a check from ITOWN Church for $10,000 just to be a blessing and a support to your business

And we want you to know that we love you guys and we're praying for you female: That's so sweet, we really appreciate that Dave: We want to make sure that you're here for generations to come female: Wow Thank you so much

Dave: We've got a check for you to support what y'all are doing for $10,000 because we love what y'all are doing and the difference you're making with youth And we want to be behind you, and we want you to know that we love you But we're not just saying it, we're showing it 'cause we want to make a real difference Come on male: Thank you, man

Dave: I love you, brother male: Love you too, bro ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ Dave: You know, as Christians, it's so important that we don't just talk about making a difference, that we actually get out and make a difference I want to take a minute to pray for our country, and I'd love for you to join me Father, we thank you for the opportunity we have to come to you today, Lord

You're the author of life We thank you that we are one race, the human race And today, I pray that you would bring a spirit of unity to our country, a spirit of equality Help us to understand that every single one of us are made in the image of God Lord, we take authority over the spirit of racism, we curse it in the name of Jesus

And we thank you that we can stand together to fight for a better tomorrow for our children and for our grandchildren God, we pray that you would bring healing to this nation in Jesus's name I pray, amen Now, you know, the truth is that the love of Jesus is the answer to all the brokenness that we're facing Truly, he's the only one who can heal the deep wounds of injustice and the pain that our country is experiencing And if you don't have a relationship with him, I want to take just a minute before we end this broadcast to give you the opportunity to make him the Lord of your life, just to open your heart to him

I want you to know that he'll change everything in your life if you'll just allow him So, let's just take a minute if that's you to bow your head and repeat this very simple prayer after me Just say, "Lord Jesus, I surrender to you Forgive me for all of my sin and mistakes I repent

Give me a brand new heart and a brand new start In Jesus's name I pray, amen" Now listen, if you just made that decision to give Jesus your life, man, I want you to know it's the best thing that you can possibly do, and man, I'm so proud of you You know, our church is built for people just like you And so, we'd love to come alongside you and support you in this brand new journey of faith

If you would, the best way I can help you is grab your cellphone, text the word "hope" to the number 63566 All that's on the screen, just text the word "hope" to 63566 Here's what'll happen We're going to send you a quick little video link that will help you take next steps in your journey of faith as you grow in your relationship with God And I promise you we'll never text you again, you're not signing up for a program

I just need to get you this information Now, I would also love to see you in person or online for one of our Sunday services All those details are available to you at itownchurchcom/TV When you're there, you'll also find some amazing opportunities to serve in our community

Man, we'd love for you to come out and help us make an eternal difference in the world around us I sure hope to see you soon, but until then, we love you and we're praying for you, God bless ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ CC by Aberdeen Captioning 1-800-688-6621 wwwabercapcom

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