During the month of February it is customary now that significant attention be given to the contributions of America’s most marginalized citizenry, African Americans.
The mention of the color, culture, conditions and character of a race of people is profoundly pronounced during this one month of the year, moreso since 1976 in both the United States and Canada, because, in 1926, Dr. Carter G. Woodson wanted to make sure that all Americans were aware of the achievements of blacks.
But, despite the appreciably growing acknowledgements in the media of the social, economic, political and artistic accomplishments of blacks, not enough has been said about those whose names may never be called, who prayed and lived for righteousness’ sake.
The righteous being overlooked is not a new problem. It is one that has been around since the days of the biblical writers Job and David. How do we account for the fact that the unrighteous prosper, while the righteous often face the greatest possible hardships?
What sense does it make to continue to go to pray, to meditate, to treat others with respect and dignity, only to be left out of the benefits the majority of folks share?
Is there any hope for the righteous? When will God’s people, whatever their color, get a break? When will the tide turn? Is there any hope?
The current generation, through politics and pop-culture, is working on erasing and forgetting the principles on which our country was founded and re-defining righteousness.
There seems to be a satanic, direct threat on Christian ethics and morals. Our culture is replete with the blending of philosophies and ideologies that give little or no regard to what righteousness really means.
David brings this discussion full circle when he writes with great clarity about the state of the righteous and the unrighteous. His words are clear, his thoughts are thorough and his meditations are instructive and helpful. He writes in Psalm 37:1-5 (KJV):
“Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.”
This psalm implies that good will eventually prevail, grace will continually flow and the godly will eternally survive. It also infers that there are three ways of maintaining a righteous life. First, one must rely on the Lord. Verse 3 of the psalm reads, in part, “trust and do good.” Then verse 4 says we must rejoice in the Lord. And verse 5 continues with the encouragement to relinquish to the Lord. The lesson here seems to be that truth is on the side of the righteous, trust is on the side of the righteous and time is on the side of the righteous.
Righteousness is always the best way. Remember, our troubles come to prepare us, trials come to strengthen us, temptations come to teach us and disappointments come to sober us. So don’t get angry, bitter, careless, discouraged, envious, frustrated, greedy, hopeless, itchy, jealous, kinky, lax, mean, nasty, obnoxious, pooped, quiet, repugnant, sour, twisted, unfocused, violent or weary.
Just ask, believe, commit, delight, enjoy, follow, give and hope, then watch God remember you and reward you for your righteousness. Amen!
Dr. Walter T. Richardson is pastor-emeritus of Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church in South Miami-Dade County and chairman of the Miami-Dade Community Relations Board. He may be contacted at wtrichardson@Bellsouth.net. Website: WTRMinistries.com