“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” —Genesis 2:7
Think of some things that divide our culture: gender; political affiliation; loyalty to sports teams; geographical location; amount of money we make; color of our skin; and race. Our society has conditioned us to think this way—that we’re supposed to be different, and we’re categorized as such. It can be so easy to be pressured into believing the rhetoric that’s out there. Doesn’t it seem like every time we turn on the TV or radio, or log into social media, all we hear and see is racial tension, hatred and name-calling?
Racism is defined as “one who views their race as being superior and has the right to dominate others; or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others.” At its very core, racism is a problem of the heart. Jesus teaches us that sin begins in the heart (Matt. 5:21-30, 15:18-19). All of us would say racism is a sin, and it’s a sin that’s been around a long time (Eccl. 1:9). Even Peter struggled with it in Acts 10. If it was a problem then for Peter, there’s no reason to think we can’t struggle with it today.
As much as the world wants to differentiate us, God places us all on the same level—the human race (Gen. 1:27, 2:7). We’ve all been made in the image of God. Regardless of skin color or nationality, we are all equal. There’s been diversity over the course of time, but we all still come from Adam and Eve (Acts 17:26). In addition, we all have a common Savior (II Cor. 5:14-15). Jesus came and died for all. There is power in the blood of Jesus to save everyone. And look what the blood of Christ has accomplished (Gal. 3:28). It tore down the wall between the Jews and Gentiles. What brings us together is the blood of Christ.
So, how can we respond to racism? We certainly do not want to be guilty of rebuilding the walls that Jesus has already torn down. First, we must examine our own heart. Peter had a bias in his heart (Acts 10:28). Are there biases in my heart? Be a uniter. Be a person who brings people together. Assume the best in one another, but hold each other accountable. Stand up for what’s right. We must be willing to forgive and pray. Love your neighbor (Matt. 22:37-40; Luke 10:25-37). Build relationships with all people. And talk about Jesus. Talk about Jesus to people who don’t look like you or talk like you. In the eyes of God, every soul is of equal worth and in need of the Savior.
Let people see in us the love of Christ (Matt. 5:13-16). Every one of us has a circle of influence. Use your circle of influence in a positive way.