Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death. This tragedy forced us to look at the reality of racism and injustice in our world and our personal lives. None of us should be quick to deny our biases, but humbly allow God to expose our prejudices and allow Him to change our hearts and actions.
James Emery White warns against what he calls “shadow racism.” He writes that “being a racist is not a fixed term. It’s not an identity; it’s not a tattoo—it is describing what a person is doing in the moment, and people change from moment to moment. Meaning the racism of today for most people is different than the racism of the civil war and slavery or the era of the Jim Crow laws. There’s more of an implicit bias than a functional racism at play in our world. So let’s call it a shadow racism that can rear its head in anyone’s life. And because it’s in the shadows, it needs to be brought into the light.”
( see https://www.churchandculture.org/blog/2020/20/1/shadow-racism )
All racism should be brought to light by God’s grace and gospel. That is not a cultural conviction but a Biblical one. A while back, I read these five reasons Christianity and racism must not co-exist within the Body of Christ.
- Every person is created in the image of God (Gen 1:27). That means that every person matters to God. Regardless of color. Or nationality. Or background. Including people who are different than we are.
- God loves everyone (John 3:16). I realize that believers sometimes debate this conclusion, but I interpret the biblical teachings to say that God loves every person in the world. If He does, I must love all people, also (and, I trust that fellow believers who differ with me on the extent of God’s love would agree that racism is never acceptable).
- The enemy is a divider (Gen 3:12). Satan has sought to divide relationships since the Garden of Eden, when Adam blamed Eve for the sin of the first couple. Believers who condemn other races or claim superiority for their own, thus creating division – even if only in private conversations – play into the trap of the enemy.
- Reconciliation and cross-cultural love are evidences of the gospel (Eph 2:11-22). The gospel has amazing power to take people from entirely different backgrounds and make them one as the family of God, as brothers and sisters in Christ who are sometimes closer than their families of origin. That result is a witness to a fractured, hating world.
- Heaven will be filled with people from every nation, tribe, tongue, and people (Rev 7:9). This description of heaven reminds us that the redeemed will be spending eternity with people who are different. People who claim to be followers of Jesus today, but who condemn others because they are racially different, will have a tough time in heaven.
5 points taken from Chuck Lawless (Used by permission)
BEFORE YOU GO…
Racism is real. Don’t allow is it to be minimized or excused away. It is always wrong. We need to take a stand against it wherever we see it, even in ourselves.
4 Comments Add yours
Thanks Randy! Another thoughtful and timely message. I appreciate your willingness to “go there” with your platform!
I hate to be naive, but really!? There are Christians who will say they don’t think that God’s love is for all!? I know I’ve seen and heard “love the sinner, hate the sin” used as an excuse for actually hating the sinner, but the veneer of “God loves everyone” was still firmly in place, even thought it was followed by some phrase starting with, “but…”. I don’t think I’ve run across anyone who would blatantly deny that God’s love is for all. I suppose it really is better if people who feel that way admit it openly rather than holding the lie (at least then we all know exactly where they stand) but it is still disturbing and sad to me.
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Thanks, Tina. We can’t ignore racism. Thanks for your input on this!
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Like Tina commented, it would be difficult to find a Christian who didn’t agree that God loves everyone. However, the current conflict is not that racism is deplorable, but the narrative that our country is systematically racist. Two very different things.