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Much of the discussion around the ongoing crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, has focused on race relations in the U.S., the need for more diversity and dialogue on race issues in the church, and the issue of how young black men are perceived by law enforcement. While all of those discussions are relevant and needed, very little has been said about how the current state of the black family has contributed to the epidemic of young black men not getting their education, killing one another, and ruining their lives.
The family is the first institution which God created. It is the foundational building block of every society. When the family breaks down, communities break down, churches break down, and entire nations break down. To summarize a statement on the Bible’s definition of the family by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission:
1. The family is divine in origin — God created it.
2. The family has a divinely-appointed purpose — to provide for companionship, procreation, and the nurturing of healthy relationships among humans and between humans and God.
3. The Bible provides guidelines on how husbands and wives and parents and children are to relate to each other.
Since the family is a divinely-appointed and regulated institution, it stands to reason that when society moves away from God’s guidelines for the family, the effects will be less-than-ideal.
Currently, according to the Kids Count data center, 67% of African-American children are being raised in homes with a single adult, or two unmarried, cohabiting adults. Also, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 70% of black children are born out of wedlock. It is sad to say, but the majority of black homes — even those that attend church every week — are far from a depiction of the biblical picture of the family.
Is it any wonder therefore that the following statistics are also true? Although blacks are only 13% of the population, they make up 50% of homicide victims in this country. And 90% of those victims are killed by other black people.
40% of black children are raised in poverty.
Only 42% of African-American young people graduate from college.
What is perhaps even more telling is the fact that, according to the US Census Bureau, well over half of black men and black women in the 30 – 50 age range have never been married, and many black young people have low expectations of marriage.
For many years — especially coming out of slavery and during the Civil Rights era — the black family and the black church was the backbone of the black community. During that time, families and communities instilled in children dedication to God, the value of education, respect for their fellow man, and the importance of hard work. It was during this time that black Americans experienced some of their greatest moments of success. If black America returns to the Biblical foundations of marriage, family, and community, I believe we will see far fewer situations similar to what has happened in Ferguson over the past three weeks.
In closing, let me leave you with these verses from Scripture and a quote.
Psalm 103:17-18 says, “But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children; To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.”
Proverbs 1:8-9 says, “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.”
Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
First Timothy 5:8 says, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”
Demetrius Minor, a pastor, blogger, and member of the national advisory council of the Project 21 leadership network of black conservatives, said, “It is essential and highly imperative that the role of the father be exemplified in black families. Many of the young black men that find themselves shackled to the chains of jails and prisons have lacked a strong father figure in their lives. Fathers provide wisdom, insight, discipline and encouragement. Nobody can serve as a greater role model than a father that is present in their children’s lives… It is a father’s spiritual hand of guidance that will instruct his children to depend on Almighty God for strength and refuge in times of adversity and great challenges… A ‘perfect’ family simply does not exist, whether it’s a black or white household. Every family endures struggles, hardships, emotional turmoil and various differences within the household. However, a strong and cohesive bond between the two-parent catalyst will provide wisdom and enrichment that will last a lifetime.”
In light of what we have discussed today, I want to remind you that in our ever-changing world, there is one Person who never changes. That person is Jesus Christ. The Bible says that He is “the same yesterday, today, and forever.” He is not subject to the whims of society or popular opinion. He has an unchanging, eternal love for you. If you do not know Him as your Savior, I encourage you to get to know Him today. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Thank you for listening to this Torch Leadership Cross in Culture Podcast.
Visit us online at http://www.torchleadershipfoundation.com
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in twenty-three foreign countries. He is the author of thirty-four books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts, The Prayer Motivator Devotional and the Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report and the Second Coming Watch Update. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, and a Master’s degree in Religion from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for twenty-five years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com. Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.