Who Is My Neighbor?

by Rick Gillespie-Mobley | This is Black History month when we remember a lot of the positive attributes and contributions of Black people. We like to remember Dr. King’s speech, “I Have A Dream” and we always should.

Scripture: Hosea 4:1-6, Luke 10:26-37
Today’s message is going to be a different kind of a message. I am going to speak like one of the prophets of old. In our Old Testament reading from Hosea, the people of God at this time were pretty much doing what they wanted to do. They thought they were in the midst of some good times. But God saw them as a people who had set aside the word of God and determined for themselves what was right and what was wrong.

God had become old fashion and out of step with the morality of the time. The priest and the prophets who should have been speaking out, were simply going along with the people. God proclaimed, my people are destroyed from a lack of knowledge.

We find ourselves with more knowledge around us than ever before. You can type anything in google and find out more than you want to know about it. You can speak to Siri and she will look it up for you. You have so many news channels you think you have it all. Yet we are all being constantly manipulated by what is the latest thing that is thrown at us. We move from crisis to crisis. This week we suffered through the horrendous tragedy of the high school shooting in Florida. Next week, the media will move us on to something else as though that’s a problem that has been solved.

This is Black History month when we remember a lot of the positive attributes and contributions of Black people. We like to remember Dr. King’s speech, “I Have A Dream” and we always should. Some of us erroneously thought that the election of President Obama had meant the fulfillment of that dream. We forget that in his last speech, Dr. King made reference, “of what would happen to me from the hands of some of our sick white brothers.” He wasn’t talking about a specific person, as much as he was identifying a sickness in the American mentality that does not want to see equality and justice for us all.

The only thing is , God does want to see justice prevail in all societies because all societies are made up of people for whom Jesus Christ died and of people who will one day stand before God to give an account for their lives.

When God called Abraham, it was not to just bless the Jews, God says Genesis 12:3 (NIV2011) 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” The prophet Amos told the people God was sick of their religious festivals, what God wanted was Amos 5:24 (NIV) 24 But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!

Our media manipulates what we should think is of the greatest importance by deciding what to continue to throw in our faces. How many of you remember when they talked about Aids and the crisis it was causing in the Black Community? Today it is as though the problem has been solved because it is no longer politically correct to talk about it.

Yet in 2015, 3,379 African Americans died of AIDS. That was 52% of the total AIDS population. In 2016 there were 8000 new diagnosis for African American men from homosexual contact. HIV diagnosis among African American gay and bisexual men age 25 to 34 increased by 30%.

Yet we are told homosexual behavior is a civil right. What other civil right do you know that is leading people to a deadly disease.

I know I will be called a homophobic bigot just for telling you the truth. Meanwhile our young men are being led down a path of destruction under celebrating diversity. The CDC estimated there are 471,500 African Americans living with HIV. That’s 43% of the total of people living with HIV in the US. How can we make up 14% of the population and 43% of the cases.

If you saw what the headlines in the newspapers and on the local news, by its silence, you would think we have solved the problem of crack and cocaine in our community.

In 1986 Congress passed the Anti Drug Abuse act and established mandatory sentences for those convicted of having specific amounts of cocaine with tougher sentences for crack cocaine. It didn’t get rid of cocaine, it simply filled our prisons with black and brown faces. Even though we were not the ones selling the most drugs, we got more than our fair share of the prison sentences.

We were glad to see them get rid of the crack heads and junkies. Today we have a new problem with opioids. This time it’s the white community that is suffering the most from these drugs. While our sons and daughters are locked up in prison for their drug offences, the strategy is now changed.

WE now emphasize,treatment and counseling and trying to rescue these people lives, which we do need to do.

Only not only do we know who the drug dealers are, doctors and pain center medications, we know where the factories are that produce them, they are called pharmaceutical companies. But instead of tearing down the factories and blowing them up, Sixty minutes exposed that Congress passed a law, to protect the pharmaceutical companies and made it virtually impossible to send executives to jail.

Everybody who voted for this legislation including President Obama who signed it, claim they didn’t know what was in the bill before they passed it. Well why hasn’t there been a vote to repeal the law so that we can tackle the problem. Both Republicans and Democrats are silent. Why did the media let the story drop and focus went back to talking about Russians influencing the elections instead of Congress selling out the American people to the money from the pharmaceutical industry.

It’s not popular in the news to talk about the drug problems in our community, because they want to add another drug legally to our community, and we are to eager to have it. We are about to see a new round of the rape of our community for dollars. Our boys on the street corner have been providing our community with all the marijuana it needs, and risk going to jail for it.

Under the guise of medical marijuana, they have made it legal for rich businesses to gear up to pour all kind of marijuana into our community so that you can smoke it, drink it and eat it. Our government is glad to see it happen because they see money coming into the treasury through taxes. We’re happy because we think it means more partying.

Here’s a thought. If we have high unemployment in our community and among our youth and the community is going to be destroyed any ways. Why not teach our youth how to pay taxes on the drugs they sell, and let them make the profit off of us? Oh no, that’s close to paying slaves for the work they do. We can’t have that. Of all the black councilpersons we had with that first bad drug bill to hit our community, not a single one of them spoke against it, even though it still meant our youth could go to jail for selling it, while big businesses could make millions doing the same thing.

You know you don’t see the KKK walking around in white hoods anymore. They walk around in nice suits. They told us from the beginning what their intentions were concerning black people. Their goal was to maim, terrorize, and kill black people. Because we know their history, all the nice suits in the world will not make us believe they have changed. If they set up a food store and offered us discount food, most of us wouldn’t take the food. We would suspect they were up to something.

We know of Charles Darwin’s book, The Origen of the Species. But the real name of the book is The Origen of The Species by Means of Natural Selection: The Preservation of the Favored Races in the Struggle For Life. In this book and subsequent ones, Darwin developed the idea that Black people were an intermediate species and would most likely extinct itself.

Francis Galton, Darwin’s cousin, wasted no time applying evolutionary theory to society and quickly pushed for selective breeding that encouraged the most successful individuals to have many children while sterilizing the weak, handicap and mentally ill. The poor and less desirable you were, the more you needed to be limited in how much you would reproduce.

One eugenicist made this statement “Eugenic sterilization is an urgent need.. We must prevent multiplication of this bad stock.” Who do you think were the bad stock in America in the 1930’s by white elitists. This was said by Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood. Her intention was to help solve the Negro Problem. It is strange that we would burn down a KKK office in a minute, and yet will defend Planned Parenthood to the end when they set up shop in our community when both of them started with the same purpose of eliminating Black people because they were undesirable.

When we discovered in 2016 that Planned Parenthood was selling the organs of aborted black babies for profit, everybody was in shock and in horror. This was illegal, but nobody went to jail. This was greed at its worse. You get ½ billion dollars from the gov’t to kill children, but you want an additional profit by committing the crime of selling our kids brains, hearts, lungs, and tissue to the highest bidder. Sounds to me like the slave auction block. Congress screamed, talked about defunding Planned Parenthood, the media quickly got it out of the news and business goes back to usual.

The people being charged for the crime in California was the people who exposed the crime, because they taped Planned Parenthood officials without their consent during these secret negotiations for the sale of baby organs. Planned Parenthood continues to get a ½ billion dollars of our money each year. Wouldn’t it need nice if our gov’t set aside a ½ billion dollars each year to help young mothers find people eager to adopt their kids and use the money to help them get a high school diploma.

We here stuff about ourselves that we pass on as truth that is not always the case. We hear how all these black fathers have abandoned their children and kids are being raised in single parent families. We listen to statistic after statistic of how most black men are absent from their children’s lives. I will be the first Black Men to admit, we need to do better.

The reality is, there are a number of things that we accept as true that are not. According to the CDC, there are about 2.5 million African American Men who live with their children and 1.7 million who do not. Of the 2.5 million who do, the CDC found that Black men are among the most involved with their children of all races.

Where do we get such a bad deal from? There are men who father six children by six different women and each woman puts up with it. It is impossible for them to live with all of them unless they are rich with a mansion. Second we talk about homes being led by single women. The women may be single, but many of them have their baby’s father living in the house. Black men are much less likely to marry their baby’s mother than men of other races. That’s a huge blow for our community. Third there is a whole group of men who can’t be with their children, though they want to because they are locked up in jail due to something related to drugs.

In 1972, fewer than 350,000 people were being held in prisons and jails nationwide. Today there 2 million with most of the increase coming from drug offenses. Many of these are Black and they carry a life-long sentence of being a felon. They will be denied access to jobs, access to grants, and access to a host of opportunities to invest in other people’s lives.

A few years back Glenville was a top football state contender. Then they discovered that too many black men were volunteering to help the team out and some of them had a felony record of all things. So they could no longer volunteer because it put the team over the limit for coaches, and the school system didn’t want felons around. So what do you do when you can’t find a job, you can’t volunteer, and you can’t be a mentor. I guess you turn to a life of crime and go back to prison.

Realize that for some people, Black people going back to prison is a blessing. One of the problems with congressional districts here in Ohio is that they are drawn to favor the Republican party. Do you remember when Negro slaves were counted as 3/5 of a person for population in building congressional districts for southern states in Congress? They increased the size of the state population, but they couldn’t vote. Do you know why they put prisoners from Cuyahoga County in rural counties? The prisoners boost the population of the county.

So now you have black democrats in Republican districts boosting the population of the district, but they can’t vote because they are in prison. Just by being in prison, they assist the Republican party. Isn’t it in one party’s interest to keep as many people in jail in their district as possible. So whether you are 3/5 of a person in 1860 or a whole person in 2018, not being able to vote is still not being able to vote.

All of these things are real issues facing our community. Yet the media wants to distract us with stories about affairs, stories about e-mails, stories about using facebook to influence the elections and a lot of other stuff. Why do I go through all of this. Because a guy asked Jesus, who is my neighbor.

Jesus told the story of a man who was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away leaving him half dead. A priest was coming by and when he saw the man he crossed to the other side. A Levite came by, and when he saw the man he crossed to the other side.

It was obvious this man needed some help. In a way, the good thing about the priest and the Levite is that they didn’t make the man’s situation any worse. In our society, instead of helping the poor, who don’t have much of anything, we beat upon them even more. A poor person with a felony gets a ticket. He doesn’t have the money to pay the fine because he’s living from pay check to pay check. He can’t go to court because he can’t afford to miss a day of work at the one place that was willing to hire a person with a felony conviction.

He’s driving in Beachwood and is stopped for a break light not working. He’s taken to jail because there’s a warrant out for that ticket. He can’t pay for the ticket, so he’s held in jail because he doesn’t have the money for a bond. He loses his job because he didn’t show up for work, because he was in jail. The BMW has suspended his license for failing to pay his fine. The only job he can get is in Solon because they will hire a person with a record, but he lost his car because he couldn’t pay the towing fee and daily storage fee. The RTA bus does not go all the way to the job site. What was he to do.

If this guy had been lying on the side of the road and a Republican had come past, he would have insisted on getting tougher on crime and sending the police force out to put the robbers and thieves in jail. If a Democrat had come passed, he would have wanted to raise taxes to build a better road to make it harder for thieves to catch you in the first place. Neither of them would actually want to go over and see this guy’s pain and get personally involved, except to use this person’s picture to prove their point for what was needed.

This guy needed some hands on help. Jesus then tells us that a Samaritan, the guy least likely to want to help this beaten up Jew lying in the ditch on the side of the road. Jews despised Samaritans and didn’t even want to talk to them. Samaritans didn’t care much for the Jews either. Even more, Samaritans were the main ones who beat and robbed Jews when they traveled through Samaria.

But in great detail, Jesus described all that the Samaritan did for this man. He took pity, bandaged his wounds (perhaps with strips of cloth from his own clothing), put the man on his own donkey (meaning that he had to walk), took him to an inn and took care of him. The wine would have been used as a disinfectant and the oil as a soothing lotion. Apparently this Samaritan understood what it meant to help someone in need, to be a neighbor, regardless of racial tensions.

The Samaritan didn’t use the beatup man as a talking point in a discussion. He actually got involved in the man’s life. How willing are we to get involved in the lives of people who need a second chance? The person with the felony record. The person who’s addicted to crack or alcohol. The person who is forced to live in a building the landlord won’t fix. The lives of the kids who don’t have a positive male in their lives.

The person dying from aids. The single mom and her kids about to become homeless. The pregnant teenager who wants to keep her baby, but her family is pressuring her for an abortion. The person who is now in a nursing home and abandoned by her family. We can’t do all of this from our prayer closet. No doubt the priest and the Levite said a prayer for the man as they crossed the other side.

It costs something to get involved in helping others. Jesus said the man paid for the man’s food, his lodging, and his rehabilitation. He did this for somebody he didn’t even know. I’m sure it wasn’t a convenient time for him because he was on his way to somewhere that he had to get to. He would check back in after he resolved that situation.

Black History has to go beyond celebrating the great things that have been accomplished in the past to asking, why are things so similar in so many ways from the dark side of our past. We are to remember those who are in poverty, those who serving life sentences long after they have served their 3 or 4 year sentence in jail, those who are thrown into jail because it helps somebody’s political situation, and those who have no hope.

It is our job as the church to reintroduce the presence of Jesus Christ in our Community to our community. There are families who have never been inside a church and never heard the gospel message. We are the ones who should take it to them and invite them to come and see what God is doing.

When Jesus tells a person, in me you can have a new life. We have to make sure that new life includes a fresh start in society. We are the ones to speak up on our jobs and say just because a person committed a felony five years ago, does not mean that person is the same person today. Our society is trying to insist that people cannot change.

Jesus says that he can change anybody. We need to be the voice of Jesus in a very harsh and unforgiving world.

Rick Gillespie-MobleRick Gillespie-Moble received his doctorate degree in Ministry from Trinity Bible College & Seminary in 1999. He is a native of Dublin, Georgia and has been a pastor for more than 30 years. He is currently in charge of Church Media & Administrative Ministries. He is married to his Pastor Toby, his bride of 38 years and they have four children. If you’re in the Cleveland, Ohio area, please join them for an uplifting service. You can reach Pastor Rick via:

New Life At Calvary Church
7820 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44103
Service Time: 8:30am & 10:45am
Phone: 216.391.8448 216.338.5118.