And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
ROMANS 13: 11-14
Now is the time to pass reparation laws before times runs out. Reparations are forms of compensation provided to the descendants of Black slaves who have suffered the shame of slavery. Reparation is the moral act of righting the wrongs committed by slaveholders, and people who have benefited from American slavery. Now is the time to wake up to pay reparations before Christ returns.
Paul was haunted by the threat of running out of time for the Second Coming of Christ. He believed Christ was coming back very soon. Truth is, no person knows when Christ returns, but we must be ready when Christ returns.
Roman 13:11-14 identifies six public sins: the deeds of darkness, public drunkenness, sexual immorality and debauchery, unholy dissension, and secret jealousy. For this lesson, let’s focus on the sin of debauchery or shamelessness.
Aselgeia is a Greek word that describes a society that seeks to conceal the shame of evil deeds. Shamelessness is a sin. It is a shame that America continues to hide the shame of slavery. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, Black people were kidnapped from the continent of Africa, forced into slavery to work in the production of crops such as tobacco and cotton. Black men were beaten, Black women were raped, and Black children were used as bed warmers for the cold feet of slave masters. It’s a shame that Black people were sold as slaves. The shameful institution of slavery was evil and profitable for white slave owners.
In 1860, the value assigned to the physical bodies of enslaved Black Americans used as free labor and production was over $3 billion. The evil institution of slavery enriched slaveowners who still profit today from tobacco and cotton product industries. It did not stop there. The peculiar, sinister, sickness of slavery also created a slave mentality for Black people that continues to this day. Black people are slaves to poor public policies, institutional racism, police abuse, poverty, unemployment, and lack of wealth.
The shameful effects of the sick institution of slavery include legal and illegal slave codes, segregation laws, anti-voting legislation, lack of access to capital for Black homeownership and small Black-owned businesses, restrictive covenants denying property ownership in certain neighborhoods, denial of the right to attend public schools, racial profiling practices by law enforcement, implicit racial biases against hiring practices for firefighters, law enforcement, construction, carpenters, plumbing, builders, and other high paying jobs, and cutting publicly-funded social programs. Black bodies being bullied, beaten, and slandered by white people who felt empowered to treat Black people less than human results in racial ghettos, Black high unemployment, high Black poverty rates, crime, school dropouts, gang violence, drug abuse, teen age pregnancy, wealth gap between former slaves and former slave owners, lack of homeownership, and the absence of Black-owned businesses.
It is a shame there isn’t sufficient public outcry by Christians of every race and culture to right the wrongs of slavery. The Bible says in Romans 13:11 “And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believe.”
Now is the right time to make the right decision is to pay reparations to Black people for the evils of slavery. We have paid reparation for the encampment of the Japanese Americans, the land and programs for Native Americans, and Jewish Americans via the Marshal plan were paid reparations following the holocaust. Black Americans are the only racial group to never receive reparations for the evils of slavery.
Now is the right time to make the right decision to pay reparations to Black people according to the Brookings Institute, “Reparations should come in the form of wealth-building opportunities that address racial disparities in education, housing, and business ownership. Black Americans are the only group that has not received reparations for state-sanctioned racial discrimination, while slavery afforded some white families the ability to accrue tremendous wealth.”
Now is the right time to pay reparations to reduce the racial wealth gap for Black Americans. White families have 10 times the amount of wealth as the average Black family. The Brookings Institute says, “In fact, white high school dropouts have more wealth than Black college graduates. Neighborhoods that are at least 50% Black have half the home values, on average, to neighborhoods with no Black residents.”
Dr. Rayshawn Ray a member of Reid Temple said, “The following Reparation measures are appropriate: tuition remission and student loan forgiveness; housing down payments and housing revitalization grants; and business ownership grants. If America is to atone for this defect, reparations for Black Americans is part of the healing and reconciliation process.”
In conclusion, Paul teaches us that now is the right time for reparations because the night is nearly over, and the day is nearly here for the second coming of Jesus Christ. In His first coming, Jesus was the suffering Servant. In His second coming, Jesus will be the conquering King.
In His first coming, Jesus was the compassionate healer. In His second coming, Jesus will be the jury and the judge of evil doers.
In His first coming, Jesus arrived to save souls from sin in a dying world. In His second coming, Jesus will arrive with the armies of heaven at His side to right the wrongs of evil deeds. (Rev. 19:11-16)
Now is the time to right the wrongs of slavery.
Now is the time for Reparations.
- How has the history and institution of slavery in the US continued to profit White people and harm Black people, from the beginning and continuing into the present day?
- Which wrongs of slavery and measures of repair/reparation do you think need to be given top priority? Which measures of repair might come next?
- How can we as justice- and moral-minded community members help advance the cause of and the paying of reparations right now?
The Rev. Dr. Mark E. Whitlock, Jr.
Meet the Author
Dr. Mark E. Whitlock, Jr. is the Senior Pastor of Reid Temple A. M. E Church in Glen Dale. Maryland. Pastor Whitlock is only the ninth Pastor to serve at this phenomenal A. M. E Church, he has been serving the Reid Temple A. M. E. community and the great Washington, DC, Maryland & Northern Virginia (DMV) Community since he was appointed as Senior Pastor of Reid Temple A. M. E. Church in July 2019. Prior to this appointment at Reid Temple A. M. E. Church, Pastor Whitlock served as Senior Pastor of Christ Our Redeemer A.M.E. Church in Irvine, CA since August 1998. Over the course of is ministerial and nonprofit career, Pastor Whitlock has raised more than $1.2 billion for the kingdom of God through individual donors, corporations, federal and institutional grants.
Pastor Whitlock has BA in Religion from University of La/Verne, Master of Business from USC, and a Doctoral of Ministry from Payne Theological Seminary.
Pastor Whitlock has been happily married to Reverend Hermia “Mia” Shegog-Whitlock for over 37 years. He has three sons, Ariel, Mark, III, and Devin. Pastor Whitlock enjoys listening to Gospel, Classical, Jazz and R&B music in his down time. Pastor wouldn’t actually admit it but he is Foodie he enjoys trying new and different types of food, you would say that his wife Reverend Mia is a Foodie but he actually enjoys the experience as much as her.
Pastor Dr. Mark Whitlock is the Chairman and CEO of RCDC, Chairman of Reid Temple Christian Academy, President of Reid Temple Bible College, sits on the Board of Director at both National Capital Area Council, Boy Scouts of America & Luminis Health (Doctor’s Community Medical Center).