As a believer, I am blessed, accepted, and loved by God. And through the Scriptures, I have learned to recognize this new acceptance and live out who I am as well as appreciate the differences of my brothers and sisters in Christ…who are also blessed, accepted, and loved by God. God made us wonderfully different, many different shades and sizes, but we all become part of the body of Christ through the blood of Christ.
Privilege Is Not The Problem
In modern society, the world is trying to deceive people through false teachings. The constant barrage of cultural attacks leads to confusion and ultimately acceptance of the idea. As believers, we have to always come back to the Bible. We can’t lose focus, because once you lose a grasp on the truth, you lose the power to truly make a difference, you become ineffective.
Terms like “social justice”, “systemic racism”, “intersectionality” and “white privilege” are being pushed by the world system, and their understanding and definitions of these ideas are toxic. The focus on all four of these ideas are disparities regarding many different factors (wealth, employment, education, opportunities, privileges, etc.) and then wanting to distribute those to somehow gain “justice”. How are these disparities defined? By comparing groups (ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender, etc.). Thus, your membership in a “group” becomes the primary factor of your human traits and capacities. This might be an oversimplification, but it is the basic concept.
(Side Note: Don’t misunderstand, this isn’t saying that racism doesn’t exist or that it doesn’t exist in many different forms. Racism absolutely exists and it is absolutely wrong, evil, and sinful. And, yes, it and any cultural dynamics that cause it needs to be addressed.)
It would take too long to go into each of these ideas and hash them out fully, and there are those who do it much better than I ever can, but let’s take the idea of “white privilege”. The basic idea is that a person born with “white skin” is somehow inherently superior and has more societal privileges than those who are not born with white skin, thus this “injustice” needs to be fixed. (Belief that skin color is the primary determinant…this is racism.) Also, a person who has “white privilege” is racist/biased simply because they are white and even if they don’t know it, they simply, “don’t know what they don’t know,” and their hearts are so wicked that they can’t know, so they must be taught how bad they are by a person of color.
This is being pushed by the world and it is very toxic for our culture and for believers to buy into. This is an affront to sound Biblical teaching!
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”
Does privilege exist? Yes. Are there privileges in societies and cultures because of one’s skin color? Sometimes. Do these privileges only exist for white people? No, it happens to all skin colors. Does that make it acceptable? No.
This type of thinking causes a negative attitude that goes as far as calling for white people to apologize for their whiteness. Or because you are “white” and not a “person of color” this is somehow wrong and you will get treated less as some kind of retribution…so “justice” can be served.
As a Christian I should be asking some questions: Should a person apologize for the way God made them? Should a person apologize for their blessings instead of being thankful for them? Absolutely not.
The world might tell me that I am a mistake, I should hate myself for the color of my skin, or I need to apologize for it…but on the contrary, in Christ, I found a new appreciation for it! And you can too! Whatever shade of color your skin is!
We need to remember, especially as believers, any antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership in a particular ethnic group is wrong. That’s racism.
Besides the obvious, I think this type of thinking is dangerous: (1) a person doesn’t choose his skin color; (2) privilege is incalculable and it is not consistent across the board for whatever group you want to single out; (3) there is always someone less privileged than you, but no one wants to focus on that, just those with more; (4) privileges come in so many forms and at so many different times throughout a person’s life, and it is not just privilege from skin color; (5) this type of thinking leads to more division; (6) having varying amounts of privilege is not sinful.
Perspective Is Helpful In Our Miscommunication
Perspective is needed. “Group A” doesn’t fully understand “Group B” because of their differences in perspective. For example, those with wealth might not understand the hardships of those without it. Or with our current situation in the USA, a white man might not fully understand what it is like living in America as a black man. So what should be done? Communication. Listening. Understanding. Loving. As believers, we can listen to one another without devaluing the way that God made us, trying to see the same thing but from a new or different perspective, which gives more information and then choosing to be ministers of grace in this world.
Perspective isn’t always flawless. Sometimes it is ruined by conditioning from culture, meaning that our society has conditioned us to see things as black and white, when in reality we don’t have any idea. A friend told me a story recently, he accidentally cut someone off driving. The guy he cut off was a white guy in a big pickup truck and that guy stopped and had a few choice words for my friend driving. One’s culture could easily condition us to see this man yelling at my friend from a certain perspective: if my friend was black, the guy is a racist; but if my friend was white, he is just a jerk. It makes you think, doesn’t it? What if my friend was black, so we say the guy is racist. But then if I give you more information and say the white man yelling at my black friend also has a black man and an asian man in the truck with him. Then our perspective changes again. This is one reason that perspective must be balanced with facts and truth. Just because we perceive something, doesn’t mean that we are right. Nevertheless, seeing things from someones else viewpoint helps us in understanding them and informs us on how to have compassion and empathy…because you can see what they see.
Most importantly we need to have a Biblical perspective about what the Bible says who we are in Christ. We need to see what God sees.
The Biblical Perspective Is Paramount
We are God’s creation! (Psalm 139:13-18; Romans 8:28-29)
There are certain aspects about ourselves that are predetermined before we are born and that we cannot change, such as, gender, the time period we are born into, our body structure, our skin color, our nationality at birth, certain abilities or talents, parents or relatives, and birth order. The Bible says we are fearfully and wonderfully made by a good God, so we should see these things as the will of God, accepting how God made us, and, in Christ, He is working them together for good.
I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I cannot change certain aspects of my life. I accept them as the will of God. God created us all different and allowed us to be born into many different situations and with varying levels of “privilege”. But whatever your situation is, if you are a believer who loves God, then He is working it together for good and His glory.
You are also God’s creation. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, whatever shade of skin you have. Our differences are to be accepted and appreciated, not ignored, or looked down upon.
We are God’s workmanship! (Romans 8:29–32; Ephesians 2:10)
Even though I accept the unchangeable aspects of my life as the will of God, I also must recognize that I was born sinful and needed to be saved by God.
Before time, God ordained a plan that would redeem us from our sin and create us new in Christ Jesus unto good works. Knowing we are His workmanship allows us to walk in the good works that He has prepared for us to do.
You can also be God’s workmanship and be redeemed from sin. He can create you new in Christ Jesus unto good works. No matter your situation, God wants to have a relationship with you and use your life!
We are recipients of God’s amazing grace! (1 Corinthians 1:3–8; 15:10; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; Ephesians 1:15-16)
All of the goodness in us is because God’s grace is with us. We are who we are by the grace of God. The evidence of God’s grace in our lives and the lives of others should cause us to give thanks to God.
I had the wonderful opportunity to hear the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and I repented of my sins and believed in Jesus. If you are reading this, you also have an opportunity to believe in Jesus Christ too.
Application (1 Peter 4:9–10; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4; Ephesians 2:9)
As believers, knowing that God recognizes our full worth in Christ, this should cause us:
- to know that we aren’t neglected but accepted
- to turn our bitterness into thankfulness
- to accept our deficiencies
- to stop grumbling and start being grateful and appreciative.
- to be humble, not boasting in ourselves, but boast in our great God
- to be empowered to overcome our insecurities
- to encourage and serve others with the grace we have been given
- to accept and appreciate those predetermined aspects of others