How Should a Christian Respond to Racism?

What is the core of Racism?

Here are 7 Bible verses that deal directly or indirectly with Racism.  Anyone can read these verses and make some initial conclusions about race and showing partiality.  It seems like every day we are met with a fresh round of news based on a racially motivated action.  The latest shooting in Charleston, SC has truly sickened me.  After you read these verses below, you can bet that it makes God sick also.

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Proverbs 22:2The rich and the poor have a common bond, The LORD is the maker of them all.
Proverbs 24:2- These also are sayings of the wise: To show partiality in judgment is not good.
Acts 10:28- And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean.
Acts 10:34-35Opening his mouth, Peter said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.
Romans 10:12-13- For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”
James 2:9- But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
1 John 2:11- But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
It is absolutely clear that racism is not at all in the mind,  heart, or will of God.  He sees and loves all people equally.  Every race matters to God.  As Christians, we should love and see all people as equal.  The billionaire who lives on their own island is not more accepted in God’s eyes than the poor mooch on the street corner in New York City.  Money does not make us more acceptable to God.  Our skin color does not make us more acceptable to God either.  In fact, all of history will culminate in an amazing worship service of multi-culturalism.  The book of Revelation paints the picture vividly:
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb” (Rev 7:9-10)!
Yet we still have racism.  It abounds.  It is a label and a platform.  Where does racism come from?
Racism was first uttered as a word actually in 1902 according to the Oxford English Dictionary by Richard Henry Pratt in a NPR article.  Pratt said, “Segregating any class or race of people apart from the rest of the people kills the progress of the segregated people or makes their growth very slow. Association of races and classes is necessary to destroy racism and classism.”  Unfortunately Pratt was known more for this vastly different phrase about destroying the American Indian, “Kill the Indian…save the man!”  What he meant by the idea of Killing the Indian was Kill the Indian in a person and the person would be saved.  He believed the only good Indian is a dead Indian.  Racism has been alive for thousands of years.  Isaac and Ishmael were sons of Abraham, one from Sarah and one from Hagar, two races were formed.  Moses led a race of people out of Egypt after 400 years of slavery.  Can you imagine the challenge a Jewish man had in believing that God was the creator and was powerful to save?  Imagine the fear that must have been in the heart of Ishmael or the people of God.  Or recently among the Indians, the African American slaves, and the Jews. 

Acts 17:26 is clear, God made all races and determined where they should live but why?  Check out a broader context:

 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,  that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us.
 Yes God is close to each one of us.  Pray that many will seek God and find their way back to God.
Racism comes from fear of people who are different.  Although Evolutionists want to push the correlation of racism and evolutionary thought aside, the truth is it may have its roots here.  The subtitle of Darwin’s Origin of Species reads, “The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.” Whether Darwin was meaning human race or different animal species means little when the disciples of Darwin espoused his thinking.  One of Darwin’s bulldogs, Thomas Huxley wrote:
No rational man, cognizant of the facts, believes that the average negro is the equal, still less the superior, of the white man. And if this be true, it is simply incredible that, when all his disabilities are removed, and our prognathous relative has a fair field and no favour, as well as no oppressor, he will be able to compete successfully with his bigger-brained and smaller-jawed rival, in a contest which is to be carried out by thoughts and not by bites.
How should a Christian respond?
  1. Understand that fear lives in the heart of all people.  Pray for love to cast that fear out.
  2. Understand that God does not love you more than those who are different than you.
  3. Repent of your own racism in your heart.
  4. Pray that God receives the greatest glory due to Him by receiving worship from every race of people.
  5. Intentionally seek out friendships with folks that don’t look like you.
  6. Understand that when we all put down our cultural similarities and worship God as one it shows that God is the most amazing object of all.

Lead Pastor 290 Community Church

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2 thoughts on “How Should a Christian Respond to Racism?

  1. Excellent work, Dr. Despres. I think perhaps you should have been the professor, and I the student. As for racism, thankfully I was never cursed with that disease; God grabbed my heart before I was afflicted. I have had many black friends and even had a young black man living in my home for a time, I had led him to Christ and he was homeless so I had to take him home, much to the chagrin of my father-in-law. Blessings on your ministry, dear brother.

    • You know there are internet tests that show how racist you might be. I am not sure of their validity. I do remember going over to a friend’s house when I was in 7th grade, he was one of 3 black guys in my school. I felt weird but I didn’t quite know why. When we moved to Wilmington, NC, I was in the minority at my school, only a couple of white boys on the basketball team. In high school, I didn’t think anything of other races. In college, I was challenged by a guy that I led to the Lord. He thought I might have racism in me. He challenged me to the core of my being. Our conclusion was that I did have some racism, he forgave me, and I have been working on seeing all people equally. One of the reasons, of many, we adopted was to have a diverse family. I would have no problem if my kids want to date or marry a person of a different race. There might be challenges socially but I believe it is a beautiful picture of unity and love. Thanks Michael for the kind words.