As a single Christian adult, have you ever experienced any of these scenarios?
- You show up to church services looking for a seat. You see an empty seat next to someone of a different color than you, but keep going till you find a seat next to someone of the same color.
- You gravitate toward strangers of the same race whether in a restaurant, at school, a community event, or a leisure function.
- You meet someone of the opposite gender who is a different race in your church singles group or a Christian singles function and feel slightly uncomfortable. You hope they don’t say more than “Hi!” and try to start a conversation with you because you would never date them if they ever showed interest.
- You see or read about a racially-mixed couple and you have a negative reaction. You just don’t think it’s right.
- Everyone in your church and/or church singles group are all the same color.
It’s been said that the most segregated hour of the week is 11:00 Sunday morning.
I will reluctantly address a topic that has been making the rounds of social media on a daily basis for months, if not years, depending on who just hurt who and what ethnicities all involved were: racism.
Dictionary.com describes racism as:
1) a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others.
2) a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.
3) hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.”
Just 10 days ago as of this post, a horrific video went viral on social media of four black youths who kidnapped and posted live their brutal torturing of a white male who was mentally disabled.
Over the years, several cases of white law enforcement shooting innocent and/or unarmed black persons, mostly black males, have been decried and justice demanded by their outraged and grief-stricken families.
Many groups have been calling for unbiased consideration in how they are perceived and treated because of their race. Some have been calling for centuries. It’s pathetic that the land of the free and the home of the brave has a shoddy and shady history of mistreatment to nearly all minority groups who have entered the country.
White against Black or Black against White.
Any color against any color, really.
Within the same race, racism is called colorism. Often the darker-skinned rail against the lighter-skinned within the same race. You’ll see that a lot within black and Hispanic cultures. I remember considering different research topics for grad school and coming face-to-face with some stridently angry black women who complained long and loud about how dark-skinned leading movie men always got lighter-skinned leading ladies.
It’s all ugly, evil, violent, and so absolutely unChristlike, unBiblical and unnecessary.
The Bible teaches that all sin comes under at least one of three categories: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. This list in 1 John 2:15-17 corresponds to the temptation of Eve by the devil in Genesis 3:6. These categories speak to the cravings and comforts of our flesh, the desire for more things or what pleases our sense of aesthetics, and whatever elevates our status, significance, worth, and identity.
The attitudes that feed racism come mostly from our sense of pride and ignorance.
Pride and ignorance of who the other person standing in front of us actually is.
Pride and ignorance about what the Word of God teaches about who that person standing in front of us is.
Pride and ignorance about who we really are, and what the Word of God teaches about who we are.
The Lord Jesus never endorsed racial hatred and racial divide. Those are human constructs.
Over and over again, Jesus went against Jewish and Roman cultural norms and demonstrated the same love, compassion, and justice for those who were marginalized in His day: women, children, foreigners, slaves.
Just this morning (Saturday), I was reading John chapter 4 for my daily devotional. This is the passage about the woman at the well. Jesus broke through walls centuries thick to outreach and lovingly share truth with a woman who was marginalized on many levels.
Wall #1: She was a woman. Any righteous Jewish male, let alone a Rabbi, would not be caught dead talking alone with any woman other than his wife.
Wall #2: Jesus knew she’d had 5 husbands, and she wasn’t married to the man she was living with now. She was considered a slut, an easy sleezy, an immoral woman by everyone in town. This is often surmised about this woman because she went to draw water in the middle of the day when it was the hottest. All the other women in town drew water early in the morning. She’d probably had more than her fill of dirty looks, sneers, snickers, making obvious how much they despised her and physically avoided her, gossip, and caustic remarks by the other women and decided to avoid them by drawing water hours after they left.
These self-righteous women avoided her due to her nasty reputation and possibly to prevent their boyfriends and husbands from being taken in. The men went to her because she was considered damaged goods and had no boundaries, no social right to say no to flirtations and future offers when she’d already given herself away so many times.
Wall #3: She was a Samaritan. Samaritans were hated by the Jews because they were the descendants of intermarriage between the Jews and the regular local pagans during their captivity in Babylon centuries before.
Jesus broke through all walls, all barriers, to reach a woman whom His Heavenly Father made and loved. Are you breaking down barriers or building walls, my friend?
Twisting the scriptures to say something it never meant, ignoring the spirit of the law, or bypassing the whole counsel of God, will never justify persistent, ignorant, mistreating, exclusive, hateful, stubborn, violent, racism.
The ground at the foot of the cross is level, and that cross figuratively stands on the clay foundation out of which we humans are made. Out of which Jesus was made.
Research tells us that we literally are made of 11 primary elements and dozens more of trace elements. Guess what? The composition of our human bodies is the same as the composition of various types of clay. We’re all just fifty different shades of clay.
I have read several articles and started reading a book about how our different skin tones correspond to the various shades of clay in the earth (see References at the end of my article today for further information). That would make sense when the Word of God tells us that man was formed from the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7) and that He created every nation of humanity from one set of parents, literally “from one blood” (Acts 17:26).
We humans may ascribe added worth to another human being because of their color, gender, education, or wealth, but the Lord does not see him or her that way. He sees them as His child or Not His child. “Have no regard for his appearance or stature, because I haven’t selected him. God[a] doesn’t look at things like humans do. Humans see only what is visible to the eyes, but the Lord sees into the heart (CEB),” said the Lord to Samuel the prophet when he thought that Jesse’s oldest, tallest, and most handsome son was who was about to be anointed king over Israel , 1 Samuel 16:7.
So there is no sense in parading around, arrogant and hateful, thinking that you are superior to someone else because of racial differences.
According to God’s Word there is actually no Biblically legitimate reason for being arrogant and hateful at all. The Lord has one standard for everyone and He will not change it for anyone, according to Romans 3:19-20. Acts 10:34 and Romans 2:11 declare that God is no respecter of persons.
My primary identity is not my skin color, although that may be how you roll.
My primary identity is not my education.
My primary identity is not my career. It’s not my family, my income, my past, my car, my employer, my church.
It’s not even my personality, my talents, my accomplishments or roles or sins or gender. Or your opinion of who I am.
As a follower of Christ, I identify with Him. He is my primary identity.
I know persons of all different ethnicities and races and colors who have adopted child of God as their primary identity. They will not be ruled by anyone else’s negative, ignorant, malicious, hateful opinion of them.
Maybe if we who say we are Christians really started proving we belong to Him by obeying Him, the world wouldn’t marginalize us so badly. Maybe they’d start taking us and taking Jesus seriously.
Maybe the next time you see a stranger of a different race at church sitting alone or with an empty seat next to them, you could invite them to sit with you, or you could join them, say “Hi!” and introduce yourself.
Christian single, are you part of the problem or part of the solution for ending racism in your little corner of the world?
Anderson, Kerby. Race and Racial Issues – A Biblical Christian Perspective. Article for Probe.org. 5/27/2004. https://www.probe.org/race-and-racial-issues/ accessed 01/06/2017
Batten, et al. The Creation Answers Book. Creation.com website. https://usstore.creation.com/the-creation-answers-book accessed 01/06/2017.
Datagenetics. What is your body worth? Article for Datagenetics.com. April 2011. http://www.datagenetics.com/blog/april12011/ accessed 01/14/17.
Dictionary.com. Definition of racism. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/racism accessed 01/14/17
Evans, Tony, Th.D. Christians should put their faith above their race and culture, the Rev. Tony Evans says. Article for the Washington Post. 7/26/2016. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/07/21/christians-should-put-their-faith-above-their-race-and-culture-the-rev-tony-evans-says/?utm_term=.724d03ab978e accessed 01/06/2017
Ham, Ken & Ware, Charles Ph.D. One Race, One Blood: A Biblical Answer to Racism.
https://answersingenesis.org/answers/books/one-race-one-blood/ accessed 01/06/2017
Morris, John D. Ph.D. All People Descended Recently from a Single Family. Article for Institute for Creation Research website, originally published in Where Did the Races Come From? Acts & Facts. 18 (2). http://www.icr.org/mitochondrial-eve accessed 01/06/2017.
Tracy, Kate. Growing A Gap: How Black and White Christians Now Think About Race. Article for Christianitytoday.com. 12/13/2013. http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2013/december/growing-gap-how-black-white-christians-think-race-pals.html accessed 01/06/2017