BIBLICAL RESPONSE TO RACISM
THE WHITE SUPREMACY MOVEMENT IN CHARLOTTESVILLE
We heard and read about the clashes between violent white nationalists and counterprotesters in Charlottesville last weekend. This tragic event prompted many to ask questions about race and wonder what our stance should be as Christians.
We may define a person’s race based on his or her physical traits, ancestry, and/or genetics but according to the Scripture there is really only one race, i.e. the human race. All human beings are created in God’s image and likeness (Gen. 1:26-27), and we are all equal in the eyes of the Creator.
God demonstrated His love to those who were made in His image by sending His Son to die for the sins of “the whole world” (John 3:16) because He does not want “anyone” to perish (2 Pet. 3:9).
Throughout the Bible, we encounter Jews who were extremely proud of their ethnic background. They were prideful that they were descendants of Abraham and despised the Gentiles (John 8:33, 39).
They thought that their race made them more intimate in their relationship with God and superior in their righteousness (John 4:9; 8:48). But “Were they really better?” Paul’s answer to this question was, “No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Gentiles, are under sin” (Rom 3:9). He concludes that no one is “better off” before God based on their race or ethnicity.
Paul was also confronted by the Greek audience who thought of themselves as superior to others because they perceived other races as barbaric. To this crowd, Paul made the point that everyone is equal before God since all people were created by God and from “one man” (Acts 17:26). Once again, he condemns racial superiority.
In Christ Jesus, we are all children of God (Gal. 3:26). From God’s perspective, there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, but we are all “one” (i.e. equal) in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:28). This is the reason Jesus rejoices to see God’s children of different nations, tribes, and languages worship Him all together in heaven (Rev. 7:9).
In conclusion, the Bible gives us no room for any racial discrimination and condemns all types of partialities. This is the reason we as Christians must stand against any partiality including racism (Jas. 2:9).
So how do we stand against racism? What do we do now? I do not think there is a single way to stand against racism since each person has been gifted differently and situations vary. But whether you are an activist or not, here are some things we must remember:
(1) LOVE: We must express the truth in love (Eph. 4:15) remembering the Great Commandment to love God and others including our enemies (Mat. 22:37-39; 5:43-45)
(2) REPENT: Before we start pointing fingers at others, we must first think of our own racial biases. We may not view ourselves as racists but we may be biased against someone due to their race, ethnicity, and/or religion and think and act differently towards them. If that is the case, we must repent.
(3) PRAY: We must fervently pray for our country and our government so that we can live peacefully in godliness and holiness (1 Tim. 2:1-3).