It is vital that we continue praying for our country and the racial divide that has continued to plague America. In a perfect world, we would not have to deal with the types of violence and hate that exist in our society today. My heart goes out to all who have been victims of the mindless hatred that occurs on a regular basis in our world. Unfortunately, racism is all too common in our day and, like many others, I was not immune to seeing its ugly effects on society as a child growing up.
When I was seven years old, my family moved down to a small town in Florida. We did not know it at first, but eventually we found out that it was dominated almost completely by Caucasians. I was told as a kid that the KKK was active in our area, although I never came into direct contact with anyone from that group that I know of. However, the absence of any other nationalities in our area made enough of a statement on its own.
I remember as a child feeling so disgusted by it all. In second and third grade, kids would teach each other nursery rhymes that elevated our race and devalued others. It was so ingrained in the culture that even the children had been indoctrinated by the system of hatred passed down from older generations. I never understood it. Whatever that thing is that gets into people and causes them to hate other races just never got a hold of me.
When I study the history of segregation in our country, I am shocked by it. It seems like the most ridiculous idea from my perspective. The blatant mistreatment of people based on the color of their skin or the country that they come from is wicked to its core. How could people not see that we are all equal? And I wish I could say that throughout history, the church was immune to it, but unfortunately many professing Christians were advocates for segregation themselves. And while those days might seem like a distant world from ours, when I hear the reports of what is occurring these days, I realize that I have been naïve enough to think that we have matured beyond racism in our modern society. But that is just not the case as the news reports continue to reveal to us.
As I have been praying and pondering racism, some biblical principles have come to mind that should help us to see God’s perspective on this controversial topic.
The first thing that I find interesting about the Bible is the account of the forming of the human race in the book of Genesis. We are told that God created Adam and Eve. Those were the first two people, from which all the rest of the human race was born. Then, during the time of the Great Flood, Noah and his family were the only ones whose lives were spared. What is so interesting about that? It means that every single person on this earth has at least two distant sets of grandparents in their heritage in common. Every one of us comes from Adam, and every one of us comes from Noah. It was not until the Tower of Babel that different languages were made and eventually, the cultures and civilizations formed over a long period of time. It does not matter who a person is, where they are from, or what they look like, we all come from the same family. If we could learn to view each other like that, what a different world we would be living in!
Paul tells us in Colossians 3:28 that,
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)
There could not be a plainer passage of Scripture to use as a basis for the fact that NO CHRISTIAN should ever have a trace of racism in their hearts. We should see each person in this world through the lens of the cross. The cross teaches us that every person has value. Jesus died for every person. That should settle the score.
Something else that has always confused me about racism is that I never understood how someone could take pride in the color of their skin. It is as if they chose what race they wanted to be. However, Acts 17:26 says,
“From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.”
We see in this passage that it is God who appoints times and boundaries of nations. I have never met anyone who got to select their parents, the era in which they were born, nor their nationality. How could someone be proud of something they had no decision about? It is like someone being proud because they are tall, or smart, or handsome. Pride in these things is futile, because they did nothing to make them happen. How could I somehow feel I am superior because of my race? And how could I feel justified in thinking other nationalities are inferior to mine? It just does not make sense from a biblical perspective. The Apostle Paul echoes this thought in 1 Corinthians 4:7:
“For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?”
Whatever we have, we have received from God, so we should be grateful, not proud, as if we had something to do with it in the first place. The boy born in white suburbia to a middle-class family had nothing more to do with his heritage as the young child born in the bush of Africa. That is not to say we cannot appreciate our heritage or our country. But none of us had any choice in the matter. We were born where we were born and to the biological family that we were born into.
The God of the Bible loves people. Like the children’s song goes:
Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world,
Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight,
Jesus loves the little children of the world.
Jesus is not a discriminator, and neither should anyone who claims to be His follower. We should be filled with love for everyone, even our enemies. How could be allow something into our lives that is diametrically opposed to the teaching of Scripture and the character of Christ?
Revelation 7:9 says, “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.”
We see this beautiful picture in the book of Revelation of a great multitude of people before the throne of God. In the vision, John saw every tribe, people and language group worshipping God. Obviously, the Lord is interested in every people group, and the color of someone’s skin does nothing to increase or diminish their created value. And if we are seeing others through His eyes, racism and prejudice will have no place in our hearts.
Let us cry out to the Lord to send revival and heal our land. That men and women of every color would learn to value each other and learn to love. The love of Jesus can tear down any wall!