The February issue of THINK Magazine deals with the subject of racism. With all of the focus on race in our country this is a timely issue. The killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO last year set off a firestorm in our nation. Unfortunately, that firestorm has done little to help deal with the real problem because too many who got involved in the case focused on perception rather than truth. As in all things, the light of truth needs to shine before we can truly deal with a situation.
The truth is that men have always hated other men because of their ethnicity, their skin color, their socioeconomic status, their language, their looks and just about anything else that is different from one person to another. This hatred is not new. It isn’t just a white issue, a black issue, a brown issue or an American issue. In Biblical times, you could certainly argue that the Philistines hated the Jews, the Jews despised the Amorites and so on. In the 1st Century, the Jews hated the Samaritans, the Romans and the Gentiles. These all despised the Jews. Today many Muslims hate the Jews. On and on it goes and it still continues to this day.
The reason for this hatred hasn’t changed throughout the annals of time: when Jesus is sanctified as Lord of your heart, then hatred of your fellow man ceases in your heart. However, when men, even those who are men of faith, refuse to see others as God does, then such hatred will continue. In other words, when we think like the world rather than keep the focus of our hearts and minds on things above, then we will not escape the sinful clutches of racism.
The Bible makes clear God position on racism. God is not a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34 KJV). That means He shows no favoritism of men. If men disobey Him, God will punish them. If men obey Him, God’s grace will be poured upon them. It is that simple. It doesn’t matter who the person is, where they’re from or what color their skin is: Obey and be blessed, disobey and be condemned.
God sent Jesus into the world because it is God’s will that ALL men be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). God’s grace that brings salvation has appeared to ALL men, not just a favored few (Titus 2:11). Jesus became flesh and dwelled among us. His life, death and resurrection destroyed the dividing wall of hostility between men (Ephesians 2:14). When we are baptized into Christ, human divisions end: there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female; and there is neither black, brown or white; there is neither poor, rich, educated or uneducated; there is neither young, old, conservative or liberal for we are all ONE in Christ (Galatians 3:28). And if we are in Christ, then we are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise (Galatians 3:29).
Racism is a sin. To be a racist means, in effect, that I despise someone God created and for whom Jesus died on the cross. In James 2, the Lord’s earthly brother wrote that if a man shows partiality he is breaking the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” (James 2:8 quoting Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 5:43). How can any Christian justify hate for another human being? Biblically speaking, we can’t.
The “Golden Text” of the New Testament says, For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). “Whoever” in Greek refers to ‘all’, ‘any’ or ‘the whole’. In other words, every single man or woman who believes and obeys Jesus will have eternal life in heaven. In heaven, there won’t be any segregation!
Christians, don’t let the world and its agenda cloud the truth. Racism is not a white problem, a black problem or a brown problem. Racism is a sin problem. Some see racism in every situation. Others, of every color, harbor hatred in their hearts. We simply can’t allow ourselves to get caught up in all this. Instead, we need to continue to be lights in the world and illuminate those caught up in darkness with the light of truth, the gospel of Jesus Christ.