The Human Race has been running for a long time reaching back to the start line with Adam and Eve! ‘Homo sapiens’ was a name introduced in 1758 by Carl Linnaeus which you may think is surprisingly recent – the translation from Latin is 'wise man'. In this race, many ‘drivers’ have motivated people for good and bad. The good can be seen in acts of kindness, charities, generous giving to others in need, works of service and emancipation. Outstanding examples can be seen in people such as Mother Teresa, William Wilberforce, Nelson Mandela and of course Jesus Christ. Sadly, on the other side there are just as many examples of those who have exploited and ruined others – the worst of these is perhaps Hitler who ruthlessly set out to rid society of those who did not fit his Aryan model and sent them to Auschwitz where 1.1million human beings were exterminated. It is a chilling place making one reflect deeply on the Human Race – on its past, present and future.
- ‘I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character’ – Martin Luther King Jr
- ‘Before God we are all equally wise - and equally foolish’ – Albert Einstein
- ‘All this talk about equality. The only thing people really have in common is that they are all going to die’ – Bob Dylan
- ‘Racial discrimination is a misnomer for there is only one race: The Human Race’ – Bernice Alexander
- ‘I believe in the equality of man; and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavouring to make our fellow-creatures happy’ – Thomas Paine
What are your reflections on the state of the Human Race? For deeper insights, consider the following from modern and contemporary history. You will have your own conclusions.
At the final race of the 2016 World Triathlon Series in Cozumel, Mexico, lead runner Jonathan Brownlee appeared to be on the verge of collapse. His brother Alistair abandoned his own chance of winning the race, instead opting to assist Jonathan over the line, finally pushing him to a second-place finish and coming in third himself. Guinea-Bissau’s Braima Suncar Dabo was a hero in Doha in September 2019 after sacrificing his own time to help stricken Jonathan Busby in the men’s 5,000m heats. With one lap to go, the athlete stopped running after noticing that Aruba’s Busby was struggling and could barely stand up: "I thought it was better to help him than to get past him" – Dabo
History records Revolutions sparked in America, Russia, England, Africa and many more countries such as France. The values and institutions of that Eighteenth Century Revolution dominate French politics to this day. It was a period of deep social and political upheaval in France and its colonies which overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalysed violent periods of political turmoil, and culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon. It had many causes but began with liberal and radical ideas, such as equality before the law and the nominal establishment of equality among people.
- ‘I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters and photographers’ – Mahatma Gandhi
- ‘All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others’ – George Orwell
- ‘I want to unite our people and our country. I will serve you with humility and force in the name of liberte, egalite, fraternite’ – Emmanuel Macron
- ‘All the people like us are We, and everyone else is They’ – Rudyard Kipling
- ‘The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal’ – Aristotle
Ideas and speech have great power for good and for bad so this is where you need to discern between the two. When things are tinder dry, a spark can cause a wildfire that gets out of control and ruin a healthy environment. However, it is sometimes good for heathland to have controlled fires.
- ‘If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed’ – Adolf Hitler
- ‘Neither a man nor a crowd nor a nation can be trusted to act humanely or to think sanely under the influence of a great fear’ – Bertrand Russell
- ‘The world is in a constant conspiracy against the brave. It's the age-old struggle: the roar of the crowd on the one side, and the voice of your conscience on the other’ – Douglas MacArthur
Cheering crowds followed Jesus but became the mobs that demanded his crucifixion as they were whipped up and exploited by an influential minority. When a crowd gets caught up with an idea, it’s hard not to get swept along. This is what led to the Nazi regime of fear, invasion and mass murder. Dietrich Bonhoeffer stood against it and was hanged 9th April 1945.
- ‘Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong’ – Exodus 23:2
- ‘In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness’ – Philippians 2:5-7
- ‘There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus’ – Galatians 3:28
- ‘Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others’ – Philippian 2:3-4
- ‘”Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments’ – Matthew 22:36-40
There is another way that Jesus Christ exemplified and calls all to follow. It is simple – love God and love others.If the Human Race, one person at a time followed this call, then there would be great hope for the future.If not, the pond we all swim in will become polluted and smaller with the result of more cruelty and violence stirred by dark powers.
Imagine a world where people truly put others first:
- Where the poor are fed and the homeless housed
- Where justice prevails alongside mercy.
- Where discrimination gives way to love.
- Where encouragement and kindness become the norm.
This is not something that Christians or churches should leave to others. Instead, each should respond to the challenge for the good of The Human Race before it’s time-up and the race is over.
- ‘He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God’ – Micah 6:8
TAGS – rebellion, revival, enlightenment, hope