Karen E. Pansler, J.D.
In spite of the recent allegations against Michael Jackson,
please read the following message. If they are true, perhaps
we are guilty of turning a deaf ear to Michael's cries for help
for too long. However, we must be very careful of believing
these allegations until we are absolutely certain they are
true. In spite of these allegations, Michael's efforts toward
ending racism are still worth examining, especially since
the Church and professing Christians are callously indifferent
and fail to work toward ending discrimination. In fact, sadly,
many professing Christians actively practice and promote
racism and other oppression.
Heaven is home for Christians
of all races.
We could fly so high
Let our spirits never die
In my heart
I feel you are all
Create a world with
Together we cry
See the nations turn
“Heal the World” written and composed by Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson is my brother. No, he’s not part of my immediate family; but part of my extended family – one of my brothers and sisters around the world. I’m white and he’s black, but we’re related because we have the same heavenly Father. Michael is also your brother. Michael Jackson is our brother.
I confess I’m not a Michael Jackson fan. I’ve never been to one of his concerts, and I don’t have any of his music. However, I’ve watched him a few times on television. He’s definitely talented.
And you know what’s perplexing? He tries to heal the wounds of racism more than most ministers, televangelists, and lay Christians. Now let me make this perfectly clear. I’m not saying Michael Jackson is a Christian. I don’t even know if he professes to be a Christian. His music and dancing are very entertaining. However, I admit, I don’t understand the meaning of some of the lyrics and it’s disturbing to watch him touch his private parts. The point I’m trying to make is that Michael understands we should try to reach out and heal the world. Yet, he is not a minister, televangelist, or someone who self-righteously holds himself out to the world as someone with Divine authority. But he does understand that we’re all part of God’s family.
Yes, we're all God's children. "Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name" (Matthew 6:9). However, the unrighteous are disobedient children refusing to obey their Father’s commands. They are in bondage to sin; they are children of the bondwoman. Galatians chapter four warns us that children of the bondwoman shall not share the inheritance with children of the freewoman.
22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a
bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.
23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of
the freewoman was by promise.
30 Nevertheless, what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and
her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of
31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the
Only the children free from the bondage of sin shall inherit the kingdom of God (Ephesians 5:5, 6; I Peter 1:13-16; Revelation 21: 7, 8). Those in bondage to sin, including hypocrites, shall not share in the inheritance (I Corinthians 6:9, 10; Galatians 5:16-21). Differences in skin color, intellect, height, weight and all other outward characteristics do not separate us from our heavenly Father. It is sin that separates us from Him, not race.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said in his speech at the Civil Rights March on Washington in 1963, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Dr. King was right. We should judge others by their conduct, not their color.
Remember years ago when scientists supposedly made the astounding discovery that we’re all descendants from the same woman? Well, what was so surprising about that? Christians know that all of us descended from our first earthly parents, Adam and Eve. Acts 17:26 teaches, “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.” Therefore, Michael and you and I are the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve. We are brothers and sisters.
As you know, it was not until the tower of Babel that God divided men into different races. But the division of races at the tower of Babel was so mankind would spread out on the earth and not band together to defy God. Genesis chapter eleven tells us the history of the diversity of human language, and the wide dispersion of the human race. After the Flood, everyone on earth spoke one language. Noah and his family were to spread themselves abroad over the face of the whole earth to replenish the earth (Genesis 1:28; 9:1). However, they defied God’s command and journeyed together and found a plain in Shinar and stayed there. They decided to build a tower to reach heavenward “lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the earth.” It is probable that they viewed this tower as a refuge in the event of another flood.
You know what happened. God came down and caused them to speak different languages so they could no longer understand everyone. They quit building the tower and scattered abroad on the face of the earth. Now does this scattering of mankind mean we are to be racist?
See, it’s not about races
Where your blood comes from
Is where your space is
I’ve seen the bright
I’m not going to spend
My life being a color
"Black or White" written and composed by Michael Jackson
I live in the South, in the Bible belt. And I’m surprised by the large number of persons who profess to be Christians and are prejudiced. No one who is a racist is a Christian, no matter how saintly he appears. “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3: 26, 28, 29). Heaven is home for Christians of all races.
Racial discrimination is a sin. Racial discrimination is oppressing someone because he or she is a different race. The Bible clearly teaches that God is for the oppressed and against the oppressor (See “Liberty Chart”). A sin against a brother is a sin against God, who made him a brother. The blood of one human father, Adam, is in the veins of men everywhere. We don’t expect members of our immediate family to be exactly alike, so why expect members of our extended family – brothers and sisters around the world – to be exactly like us? Instead of pointing out our differences, why not stress our similarities? We are more alike than we are different.
And even though our brothers and sisters may live far away, we are to be neighborly. How can we be neighborly?
In Luke 10:25-37 a lawyer asks Jesus, “Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus replies, “What is written in the law?" The lawyer answers, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.” Jesus tells the lawyer, “Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.” The lawyer asks, “Who is my neighbour?” Jesus then tells the parable of the Good Samaritan:
A man was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. Thieves attacked him. They took his clothing, beat him, and left him half dead. A priest was walking that same treacherous path. When he saw the beaten man, he purposely walked on the other side. Then a Levite came. He actually walked up to the wounded man, looked at him, and walked away. Then along came a Samaritan.
Now when the Samaritan saw the beaten man, he had compassion on him. The wounded man touched the Samaritan's heart. He went to him and bound his wounds. He took the injured man and put him on his own animal, took him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day, before leaving, he gave the innkeeper money and asked him to take care of the Samaritan. If he spent more, the Samaritan would repay him when he returned.
Jesus asked the lawyer which of the three was the Samaritan’s neighbor. And the lawyer answered the neighbor was the one who showed mercy on him. Then Jesus said to him, “Go, and do thou likewise.”
The wounded man was probably a Jew. Now the Jews and the Samaritans shared a mutual hatred (John 4:9; 8:48). But the Samaritan didn’t see the man as a foreigner, but as a fellow human being in need of help. He had compassion on the beaten man. He showed mercy on the beaten man. He went to him and poured oil and wine on his wounds. The Good Samaritan cared for that broken and bleeding man the way he would’ve wanted someone to care for him if he were wounded. He looked beyond their differences and focused on their common humanity. His actions proved that he loved his neighbor as he loved himself. “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22).
Remember when Michael co-wrote “We Are the World” with Lionel Richie in 1985? Michael recorded the song with dozens of top artists, and the album raised more than $65 million for the USA for Africa fund. That’s loving your neighbor.
We can’t go on pretending day by day
That someone, somewhere will soon make a change.
We are all a part of God’s great big family
And the truth, you know, love is all we need.
We are the world, we are the children,
We are the ones to make a brighter day,
So let's start giving.
There's a choice we're making, we're saving our own lives,
It's true, we'll make a better day, just you and me.
Send them your heart so they’ll know that someone cares
And their lives will be stronger and free.
As God has shown us by turning stone to bread,
So we all must lend a helping hand.
“Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” is a command. It’s not a suggestion. As you know, a command is an order from someone having authority to make the demand. The commandments are Divine Law that must be obeyed. Just as earthly parents have authority over their children, our heavenly Father has authority to command us to love our believing and unbelieving brothers and sisters. We must honor all men and women; we must respect their feelings and their rights.
He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.
He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.
But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.
I John 2: 9 – 11
If you are guilty of discrimination, repent. All men and women are your brothers and sisters made in God’s image just as you are. We are all the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve. Circumstances over which they have no control have placed them in different circumstances than you. Ask God to enlighten your heart of darkness and see your fellow human beings in a new light. Pray that your blinded eyes will be opened to the truth.
Now let’s apply what we’ve learned in the Parable of the Good Samaritan to Michael Jackson. Michael is our neighbor even though he may live far away from us. He has been beaten and wounded by the recent media attacks. He’s crushed and heartbroken. He’s my neighbor; he’s your neighbor. Jesus did not say whether the injured man in the Parable was good or evil, rich or poor, famous or unknown. So, we are to help everyone who is bruised and beaten.
In Christ’s view, the neighbor we should rescue is not only the poor traveler who has fallen among thieves, but the erring soul who has lost his way in search of the truth. Our neighbor is the man who has descended into the depths of despair. He is the man who has a broken and bleeding heart. We are commanded to go to him and help him, and make ourselves a neighbor.
Some reporters allege that Michael is on the brink of suicide. So, what should we do? Should we be like the priest in the Parable who passes by on the other side? Should we be like the Levite who walks up to him, looks at him, and then walks away? Or, should we be like the Good Samaritan who has mercy on him and binds up his wounds? Christ instructs us, “Go, and do thou likewise.” So, how can we bind up Michael’s wounds? We can’t go to him in person and offer help. How about if we pray for him? That’s good, but is there more we can do? How can we reach out to him? How about writing him a letter of encouragement urging him to repent if he's guilty of the alleged sins against children?
Now let me make something perfectly clear. If Michael is guilty of recent allegations, I'm not excusing him. What I'm saying is no man should be left without hope for living. And if the allegations about his unnatural relationships with boys are true, he desperately needs Christ to deliver him! We must reach out to anyone drowning in distress and despair or drowning in sin! We must rescue the perishing! We must urge Michael to repent!
Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised" (Luke 4:18).
Jesus is The Great Physician! Remember what he said when the Pharisees criticized him for eating with publicans and sinners? Jesus instructed them, "They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Matthew 9:11-13).
The Christian disciple must follow the example of Christ who ministered to the lost, the weary, the bewildered, the wicked, the sick, the indifferent, the ignorant, and the heartbroken. “Go, and do thou likewise” (Luke 10:37).
One of my favorite hymns is "Throw Out the Life-Line" written by Rev. Edwin S. Ufford. Let his words speak to your heart:
Throw out the Life-Line across the dark wave,
There is a brother whom some one should save;
Somebody's brother! oh, who, then will dare
To throw out the Life-Line, his peril to share?
Throw out the Life-Line with hand quick and strong:
Why do you tarry, why linger so long?
See! he is sinking; oh, hasten today--
And out with the Life-Boat! away, then, away!
Throw out the Life-Line to danger fraught men,
Sinking in anguish where you've never been:
Winds of temptation and billows of woe
Will soon hurl them out where the dark waters flow.
Soon will the season of rescue be o'er,
Soon will they drift to eternity's shore;
Haste then, my brother, no time for delay,
But throw out the Life-Line and save them today.
Throw out the Life-Line!
Throw out the Life-Line!
Some one is drifting away;
Throw out the Life-Line!
Throw out the Life-Line!
Some one is sinking today.
Perhaps we are guilty of turning a deaf ear to Michael's cries for help for too long. We must reach out to him. On Judgment Day, I don't want Michael to point to me and accuse, "Karen, you knew I was drowning and didn't even try to rescue me."
We are brothers and sisters; we are neighbors. We are brothers and sisters because we are all the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve. We are citizens of our nation and we are citizens of the world. The world is our family; the world is our neighborhood. Yes, Michael, we are the world.
Heaven is home for Christians
of all races.