Theatre V – Red Racial Dozen
This is the second of 12 chapters which might be thought of as the “Red Racial Dozen.” Each chapter is based on a single nugget straight from Jesus. While the Red Racial Dozen doesn’t nearly cover all racial issues, it should give us a taste of the mountains we can move if we will simply commit to resisting and then crushing red-word deficiency by memorizing, internalizing and exercising the RED WORDS!
Of all the evil spirits fighting against us in the War on RD—let’s call them demons for brevity’s sake—there is none busier than the demon of mercilessness. Nor is there one more popular among the other demons. Mercilessness seems to be everywhere, and it loves to collaborate with all the other demons of dissonance.
Whenever a person falls, it is the job of Mercilessness to maximize the fallout. And at the rate we humans fall, Mercilessness is always swamped with work.
While many demons must work on the sly, Mercilessness can and does operate right out in the open. He can be slick when a case calls for it, but what he loves most is to get right up in Jesus’ face. Jesus, of course, is very big on mercy, so it’s always a thrill for Mercilessness to kick a person who’s down and thereby rub Jesus’ nose in it, which of course Jesus endures because he is patiently waiting for us to cooperate with him. Jesus says “I desire mercy, not sacrifice (Mt. 9:13)” but Mercilessness says, “Burn, baby, burn!”
Working with other demons such as Fear, Jealousy, Insecurity, Greed, Immaturity and Groupthink, Mercilessness can enter us in a single heartbeat and, having once entered us (at our invitation, by the way, because no demon can do anything to us without our consent), stay forever unless forcefully shown the exit door.
It is the job of all demons to steal, kill and destroy (Jn. 10:10), but few have done more killing, stealing and destroying than Mercilessness. Here are just a few highlights from his list of accomplishments:
- Millions of marriages ransacked and ruined
- Almost five million ex-offenders—the equivalent of an entire metro area the size of Atlanta or Minneapolis—virtually unemployable and without hope
- Countless longstanding family feuds and interpersonal “cold wars”
- An endless array of racial attitudes, prejudices and suspicions
Jesus went to considerable trouble to warn us against Mercilessness and to teach us how to counteract it. “I desire mercy, not sacrifice,” he said. By “sacrifice,” of course, he meant mercilessness in all its forms and disguises. That Mercilessness can operate so widely and so freely among a people—Christians—that has been so thoroughly cautioned against it is one of the great curiosities in the Christian realm.
The thing that makes Mercilessness so pervasive and popular is that it’s so easy. It requires little effort. In fact, it requires so little effort that you might say we come by it naturally.
Mercilessness is a parasitic demon; it always enters on the back of another demon. Take anger for instance. Wherever Anger goes, Mercilessness rides along. And wherever Anger has been, Mercilessness tries to stay. In a sense it clones itself, riding along with Anger to its next stop and staying behind at Anger’s previous stop.
If we think of the demons of racial dissonance as a large marketing firm, it’s easy to see that one demon—Anger in this example—provides the “leads,” and Mercilessness closes the deals. While we’re focused on the “lead” demon, Mercilessness is setting up shop. While we’re taking the lead demon captive and marching it to its jail cell as we should (2 Co. 10:5), Mercilessness is working our blind side and setting up its next sucker punch.
Mercy sounds like the opposite of Mercilessness, but simply replacing Mercilessness with mercy does not have much healing effect. Mercy, in and of itself, can do little to offset Mercilessness. Not kicking someone who’s down is mercy, but mercy doesn’t pick that person back up. Not punishing someone who’s trespassed against us is mercy, but mercy doesn’t restore that person and clear his conscience. In this sense, mercy is of limited use as a weapon but is of great value as a fuel.
In physical wars fuel is vital. It powers planes, trains, trucks, locomotives, ships and factories. In spiritual wars, fuel is equally vital. It can power such mighty weapons as forgiveness, compassion, accountability, generosity and—deadliest of all to the enemy—sustained cooperation.
Mercy is fuel. Left unspent, it’s not much use to us nor much of a threat to dissonance. Ah, but spent wisely, spent for its intended purpose, it can be devastating to dissonance.
Mercy fuels compassion and compassion then fuels forgiveness. Forgiveness, in turn, fuels reconciliation and generosity, and reconciliation and generosity fuel sustained cooperation. Mercy is the “starter fuel,” like the first stage of a rocket, and ultimately mercy will fuel the entire War on RD.
Why did Jesus say, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice?” Why did Jesus repeat it over and over? Because Jesus knows—and wants us to know and act accordingly—that if mercy ever really catches on among Christians, the enemy is toast and we’ll be the ones chanting, “Burn, baby, burn!”
Yes, you can try this at home. And thank you, Jesus!
Red Racial Nugget #2: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice (Mt. 9:13).”
Be street smart yet harmless. Peace.