The demand for slavery reparations resurfaced with a vengeance this past Juneteenth as yet again members of the black community led by well spoken award winning author and journalist, Ta-Nehisi Coates, attempted to make the case for them during a United States Congressional House Subcommittee hearing. Equally well spoken against reparations was young black American, Coleman Hughes, a college student and columnist with an online magazine who among other reasons objected to reparations being given on the grounds that the person receiving them is instantly made a victim.1
While I appreciate the “why” of Coates’ argument for reparations, Hughes’ victimization concern against them strikes close to the heart of my objection rooted in a biblical worldview and expressed in this edited 2003 Commentary. Let me be very clear: to oppose reparations for slavery is not in any way to indicate that in any cases of economic exploitation of or land theft from black Americans afterwards there should not be a swift and just remedy. However, as I have written in other posts2 and now again in this Commentary, slavery was of God and to demand reparations of anyone from it is to demand them from Him (Lamentations 3:27-28)!
Are we really that far gone from a proper fear of the Lord? Consequently, any reparation recipients as victims have their reward from men now, but eternally miss out on God’s as blasphemers (Jeremiah 17:9-10; Matthew 7:21-23, 16:24-27; Romans 1:18-2:11; Hebrews 10:26-31)!
Originally Published July 2003
There are a growing number of African Americans across the nation calling for the American government and corporations to pay reparations to blacks for the experience of slavery. The word reparation is defined as “An act or the process of repairing or making amends” according to Webster’s Dictionary. It also is “Something done or paid as amends; compensation.” Interestingly, Webster’s defines reparations as “Compensation required from a defeated nation for damage inflicted during a war.”
As I understand the rationale behind the demand for reparations, blacks are owed compensation from the government and selected corporations because they benefited from the free labor of our slave forefathers. The compensation would be calculated based on the wages slaves would have earned in one scheme I recall hearing about. Whatever the scheme, the aspiring strong man of God in the image of Jesus Christ knows demanding reparations for the black experience of slavery in America is a wicked and sinful affront to the God of our salvation.3 Indeed, for it was He who allowed our enslavement and also set us free!
When are we going to stop acting out of this satanically inspired attitude of victimization over our experience in America? This attitude is exactly where the demand for reparations comes from. However, according to the Judge of all creation, neither our ancestors nor we now are innocent victims in His sight! He says, “‘There is none righteous, no, not one.’” And again, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:10, 23, NKJV). Therefore, where is the innocence of any human being, tribe, race or nation on the planet?
We who love to so eloquently explain the equality of the races; in our present cry for reparations are we saying that we are more worthy than all other people in the history of the world because our experience was so unjust and undeserved in our eyes? History reveals many other peoples have suffered the humiliation of slavery. No doubt all would have loved to receive reparations for their bitter service. However, most were grateful just to have their freedom when it came. What makes us, the sons of Cush, so special then? In the sight of God, nothing!
Truly, He planned our remedial judgment long ago and revealed it through the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 18). As it was in ancient times, so it is today; we are a people of great pride or is it not pride to demand reparations from the Most High God, the One ultimately responsible for our enslavement (Psalm 107:10-12; Lamentations 3:37-39)? Besides punishing the many wicked deeds of our ancestors, the Lord sought through slavery (and continues seeking in our trials) to humble our great pride as Isaiah’s prophecy shows. It also powerfully pictures that the Lord’s mercy in our sufferings will accomplish His primary end: the salvation of willing souls!
The present cry for reparations blatantly ignores the fact that the Lord impressed on this nation the need to help our slave forefathers set free amidst the Civil War. During the period immediately after the war called Reconstruction, educational institutions (of which many of our historically black universities such as Howard in Washington D.C.) were founded, money and assistance given to help the newly freed slaves begin their ascent to citizenship.4
Did everyone get 40 acres and a mule as promised? No. Were there setbacks due to racism and the violent intimidation of whites? Yes. But while we suffered these things and the grand insult of Jim Crow segregation, did not our people, a little here and a little there, by and by begin to prosper as the Lord in His infinite mercy and grace gave us favor? Yes! And at the turn of the 20th century we were doing so well as we moved from the agricultural South to the industrial North, we started to turn away from the heartfelt faith in the Lord many of our Christian slave forefathers had; rejecting their “Pie in the sky.”
Jeremiah the prophet spells out in clear terms the curse of desolation that follows the man (or people) who trusts in flesh and departs from the Lord; the blessing and enduring prosperity of the man (or people) who trust in Him (Jeremiah 17:5-8)! In light of the many and continuing problems of our community, we don’t need reparations or much more help than we already have. We need to turn back to the Lord in complete repentance which includes forsaking the remake of biblical Christianity into “our own” religion by so many churches!5
The Lord says, ‘“Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins shall die,’” (Ezekiel 18:4, NKJV). Therefore, unless the guilty repent, they shall all die (Luke 13:1-9). We who are enduring the current judgment of God upon our people in rebellion and apostasy through faith in Christ, should consider ourselves blessed to have our lives just as Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian in his day (Jeremiah 39:15-18). Let’s not join in the prideful insult to His mercy by demanding reparations from God or anybody else as victims for what was of His permitted will. Instead, let the faithful--every aspiring strong man and great woman of God in the image of Christ be victors over the world through faith in Him to the glory of God (1 John 5:4-5)!
1 Read the CBS News article.
2 The two-part, Message From A Redeemed Black Man posted beginning on June 2, 2019 under the categories, Biblical Worldview and Black History, launched a series
of posts through this month of June that serve as the most recent addressing divine involvement in Black History. Otherwise, our entire From Slavery To Victory Educa-
tion Project is devoted to this cause as seen throughout its Web Site.
3 To learn what a strong man and great woman of God in the image of Jesus Christ are, get a print copy or digital download of my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To
Basics, at major internet booksellers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBooks.com and Apple (digital only). You can also get a print copy of the book in the
Strong Man Store.
4 While the poor in the community still need help from everybody to “rise,” what is needed most of all from the descendants of our former masters that are guilty is the re-
moving of all of the artificially imposed barriers and obstacles of racism as I wrote in the February 19, 2017 post, Who Is Weeping For My People, under the category,
5 Read the two-part post beginning February 8, 2015, Strong Through God, Not Religion, under the category, Black History.
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