Tag Archives: Racism

What About When Life Is Unfair?

“But that’s not fair!” is the phrase that is declared by people all around the world who feel that have not been treated with equality and justice. Everyone wants to be treated with the same standards, but the truth is that life is unfair. Every person will experience unfairness in their life, but as believers we can learn how to handle this unfairness in life through the example of Jesus—who chose to do right no matter the cost!

God Is Always Fair—He Is Our Standard

  • For us to measure if something is fair or not, we have to have something to measure it by. There has to be a standard that says something is fair or unfair. Ultimately, that standard is God Himself. The Bible says that God is the Rock—representing strength, stability and permanence. We can trust God to be fair and unchanging. He makes the perfect standard from which everything else is judged because His work is perfect and all His ways are justice (judgment, fair). You don’t have to worry about God telling you something wrong because He is a God of truth and faithfulness without any sin (iniquity, evil). God is just and right—by all standards He is righteous and good—He is the standard.
    Deuteronomy 32:4
  • When Jehoshaphat put judges over God’s people in the Old Testament He told the judges to “let the fear of the Lord be upon you”—meaning that they were to have a holy respect for God who was to be their standard of fairness as they did their job of judging the land. Their judgments were to reflect God’s character of justice and impartiality—for there is no iniquity (unrighteousness) with God, nor respect of persons (partiality), nor taking of gifts (accepting bribes to not judge fairly). God is fair.
    2 Chronicles 19:7

Jesus Endured Unfairness—He is Our Example

  • Jesus was sent into the world by God. He was sent to be a light in the world—to show mankind the truth so that they could be saved through faith in Him. Jesus was equal with God but took upon Him the form of a servant. During His time on earth Jesus obeyed all that God told Him to do and say. He obeyed His heavenly Father—who is always fair!
    Philippians 2:6–7; John 12:44–50
  • Jesus experienced many of the same things that we experience. He experienced being tired, being hungry, and being thirsty. He experienced different emotions, such as: He marveled, He wept, and His soul was troubled. All of this points to Him being fully human.
    Matthew 4:2; 8:10; 26:38; John 11:35; 12:27; 19:28; Hebrews 5:7
  • Even though Jesus was fully human, He was different from us in that He was sinless. Jesus never committed a sin. His virgin birth made it possible for Him to be born without sin. He lived in the same corrupted world that we do and had many of the same temptations, but He never sinned.
    John 15:10; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5; Hebrews 4:15
  • Life wasn’t always fair to Jesus. Many didn’t respect Jesus or listen to the message that He had for them. Some people lied about Jesus and mistreated Him. But Jesus did nothing wrong to deserve this kind of treatment. He was the example of perfection. Being such, He responded to the unfairness by humbling Himself and becoming obedient unto death—even the death of the cross. Jesus responded by submitting to God’s will.
    Philippians 2:7–8; Luke 22:42
  • God knew the world was an unfair place—it became that way after the first man sinned against God—but He chose to send Jesus into the world anyway. Why would God do this? Because of something wonderful called grace—the free and unmerited favor of God that makes a way for our sins to be forgiven. God knew that it was only fair that all unfairness and sin had to be adequately punished but He loved us and wanted to rescue us from this punishment—therefore, He made Jesus to be sin for us (who knew no sin) so that in Jesus we might be made the righteousness of God. God loved you so much that He allowed Jesus to suffer “unfair treatment” or “treatment that should have been yours” so that He could offer you salvation through grace by faith.
    2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 3:10; 23; Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 2:9-11; 1 Peter 2:24–25

Believers Endure Unfairness—For The Glory Of God

  • As believers, we are called to honour the authority that is above us with respect. Servants are to submit to their masters. Children are to submit to their parents. Citizens are to submit to their government. We are to submit to them when they are good, gentle and fair to us but also when they are bad, intolerant and unfair to us. We are to endure unfair treatment from those who have authority over us because this honors God. Sometimes we will do wrong and we will deserve the treatment that we get, other times we will have done nothing wrong, but we are still to endure the grief while suffering unjustly—this is acceptable with God. We submit to authority to honor God.
    1 Peter 2:18–20; Titus 3:1-7
  • As believers, we are called to follow in Jesus’ steps—meaning because Jesus suffered for us without sin, we are to also suffer without sinning. Jesus suffered but He didn’t sin in response. He didn’t respond with deception or verbal abuse. The danger in retaliating to unfair treatment is that we could respond with the same unfair treatment or sin. Instead of responding with sin, Jesus continued committing Himself to God—who judges right. Jesus endured unfairness to honor God who knew that He would make all things right one day. Therefore, we should also endure unfairness to honor God.
    1 Peter 2:21-23
  • As believers, we are to submit to our authorities, good or bad, but we also have the right to not obey them when they are asking us to do something illegal (fraud, physical or sexually abuse, etc.) or to do something that is contrary to what God has commanded (forbid to teach in Jesus name, they want you to lie, etc.).
    Acts 4:19-20; 5:29
  • As believers, we are to be minsters of grace in this world. The authorities over us are sinners and will always be sinners until they die. We have an amazing opportunity to minister grace to them—the same grace that God showed to us. When you are mistreated by those who have authority above you and they don’t deserve your respect this is the perfect time to show grace—respond by giving them unearned respect and kindness because you are choosing to honor God!

Review Questions

  • Who or what is the standard of “fairness”?
  • What kind of unfairness did Jesus endure?
  • Why was Jesus willing to endure this unfairness?
  • As believers, what are we called to do?
  • As believers, why are we called to do that?

A New Appreciation, Not An Apology (Even For Whiteness)

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.”
Colossians 2:8

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

Related

Followers of God Not Allies To The Unrighteous (Even During Grief)

Speaking Up: Complete Affirmation

Because black lives matter too! I am in complete agreement with this statement. I love black people and I believe black lives matter. One can not claim that all lives matter equally and unjustly treat a certain group of people based on their skin color. Thus, to truly affirm that all lives matter, you must affirm that black lives matter too.

(Side Note: I think that adding “too” to the end of the hashtag/saying clarifies the true meaning of what many well-intended people mean when they share it and makes it much less incendiary. It indicates “both/and” instead of the possibly “either/or”. I think clarity of speech and meaning for the believer is much more important than simply participating in something that is trending but unclear or divisive. But this isn’t the main point of this article. Nor is saying it without “too” wrong.)

Although misunderstood, because of the way the hashtag/saying is often presented (causing many people internally to ask, “Hey, doesn’t everyone matter?”), the positive use of the hashtag/saying is to affirm to the black community exactly what it says, “Your life matters!” And even if we are not black, we mourn with you, we value you, we hear you and we see you—and we are trying to honestly say, “You matter to us!”

Every follower of Jesus should affirm that black lives matter too. Jesus came to save the black man too. He died on the cross for every shade of skin tone that exists within the single human race. We are to communicate the love of God to a lost and dying world and this absolutely includes black lives. (Following Jesus and racism/hatred are incompatible; 1 John 2:9)

I empathize with you. I want to have compassion. I do care and I am trying to love. I stand against unjustified police brutality, murder, racism, hatred, and apathy.


Vigilance: We Aren’t Allies With The World

“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.”
Colossians 2:8

“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”
2 Corinthians 11:3

As the above is true, the following is also true. At the same time, we must be vigilant, because we know that Satan doesn’t let a crisis go to waste. “Black Lives Matter” is more than a hashtag or support for black lives, but it is a network and an organization. They have a website and they have a “what we believe” page. A quick read through it shows that there are many positions that a Bible-believing Christian can not affirm. (Not to mention their calls for the murder of innocent cops.) This organization (BLM) is incompatible with Biblical Christianity. Believers and local churches don’t need to lock arms together with such an organization to affirm that black lives matter too.

This isn’t a political stance but it is a Biblical stance. Politics, the mainstream media, and a barrage of social media postings are confusing believers and they are not sure which way to go. We don’t know where we fit in. But as believers, we are in the world but not of the world… we shouldn’t fit in neatly into any worldly groups (see below: John 17:14–17). We are called out from worldly ideologies and world-views (Black Lives Matter, Marxism, Postmodernism, Deconstructionism, Feminism, Black Liberation Theology, etc). To take it even farther, even though we vote within a majority two-party system, we shouldn’t feel “comfortable” in the republican or democratic party. We are part of something different, something greater, something better…this world is not my home. If we are Bible believers then we will be at odds from the world simply by believing what it says. We affirm that racism, homosexuality, abortion, transgenderism are all sins against a Holy God. We also affirm biblical marriage between one biological man and one biological woman, sex only within that marriage relationship, and pro-life from the womb to the tomb as right and true.

It is all in the name…the marketing of this organization makes this balance hard and causes confusion. Many if not all believers want to affirm that “black lives matter” but also not be mistaken for support for “black lives matter (the organization)”. As you can see, because of the name of the organization, to be against the organization also sounds like you are against black people. But this is furthest from the truth. Things are often labeled this way on purpose and for this purpose. But because the world uses a “good phrase” to also mean bad things, does that mean we should avoid it as Christians? I don’t think so. I think we redeem it. It is similar to the rainbow which has a certain meaning for the homosexual community, but it also has a meaning for the Christian community. Because some use it to teach anti-biblical things, should we ignore its Biblical meaning? Of course not. We redeem it and use it for good. This might take adding context and thus extra work, but if that is what it takes to not be misunderstood and to shine light into the darkness, then we should be willing to do the extra work. (Or do avoid confusion, you can say the same thing, but chose different words or hashtags).

“I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”
John 17:14–17


Applications: Loyalty, Humility, Engagement

As believers, we do desire to be followers of God and not allies with the unrighteous. Here is how I think we can apply this:

In Psalm 139 David reminds us of two important things that I think are helpful:

  1. We can’t be loyal to God and at the same time be allies with His enemies. We have to firmly stand with God and not with those who speak against Him with malicious intent, take His name in vain, and actively oppose Him. We don’t want to be identified with them or be mistakenly grouped together as their ally. Your testimony is on display. Application for this article: Show your support and love to the black community out of loyalty to God and don’t become allies with those who oppose Him.

    “Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: Depart from me therefore, ye bloody men. For they speak against thee wickedly, And thine enemies take thy name in vain. Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? And am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.”
    Psalm 139:19–22
  1. We constantly and humbly come before God to unroot any unrighteousness in us. As we firmly stand in our loyalty to God we are inviting Him to search and know our hearts and thoughts to see if there is any sin or unrighteousness within us. We want to expose anything within our character that would be grievous to our righteous Father and be led in the way that God loves. Application for this article: Ask God to search and know your heart and thoughts to see if there be any wicked way of racism in you and if so, repent.

    “Search me, O God, and know my heart: Try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.”
    Psalm 139:23-24

Finally, our next step takes us back to John 17:

  1. We are to engage the world as Jesus did. We are on a mission like Jesus was. What did Jesus preach? Repentance and belief in Him for everlasting life! Application for this article: Engage the black community around you as Jesus would do; be the salt and light you have been commanded to be.

    “As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.”
    John 17:18

    “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”
    John 6:29

    “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
    John 6:40

    “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
    Matthew 4:17

Related:

The Power Is In The Gospel (Even Against Racism)

We have the gospel and the gospel changes everything!

The gospel is more than a one-way ticket to heaven, the gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ who was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died on the cross for the sinner, was buried and then three days later rose again from the dead. It is this good news that causes radical life change!

It not only saves a life but it transforms a life. A proper perspective and proper preaching of the gospel calls for humility, repentance, and faith. After salvation, the effects of the gospel continues to teach us and remind us that we were/are sinful, we need to repent and by faith, we are being transformed into the image of Christ.

Now don’t misunderstand what I am saying, once a believer places their trust in Christ, positionally they are “In Christ” and righteous, but practically we are being sanctified and the Lord is rooting out our sins and making us like Christ.

Thus, a clear and Biblical understanding of the gospel changes a person from the inside out. True heart change is the only lasting way a person truly changes. In a world that is so divisive and full of hurt…it can be cliche to say, “They just need the gospel!” especially when others are looking at Christians as being the ones that are doing the hurting and causing the division. So what is the problem?

I think the saying, “They just need the gospel!” is absolutely true, but I think the problem is that the effect of the gospel hasn’t fully taken root in many churches and/or it isn’t being applied for life transformation. Often, this is at the fault of the pastor, for his preaching lacks the clarity of the gospel application on the daily lives of the believers. Or is it because of a lack of study, personal politics, or fear of the reaction of the people he is preaching too? It is hard to say, but every facet of the gospel (redemption, justification, forgiveness, mercy, grace, etc.) teaches us something about how to live out our interpersonal relationships in a Christ-like manner. “The gospel changes our worldview—meaning that according to the truth of the gospel we are to walk uprightly or in accordance to it. At salvation, every believer already has a previous world-view (based on culture, upraising, school, etc.) in which they interpret the world and the things around them. But also at salvation, the truth of the gospel should become our new world-view and we start to interpret everything according to it. This will have drastic changes in our lives.”

The focus should be on the proper preaching of the gospel for salvation and then on the effects of the gospel because this is where radical change truly comes from. The Victorious Christian Life is choosing to live out the truths of the gospel and all of its implications. The gospel truly is the answer for the world today!

Even Against Racism

The gospel is not about racism, but the effects of the gospel absolutely deal with racism. (Note: The cross wasn’t for societal liberation of the oppressed instead it was for the salvation of mankind from the problem, penalty, and presence of sin for the glory of God.) With recent events, “racism” has been pushed forward into the forefront of the conscience of our nation once again. “Racism is the unjust treatment of ethnic groups different from your own because they possess different human traits and capacities, often causing one to see himself as superior and others as inferior.” But racism isn’t just an American problem, it has been a problem in all three countries I have lived in. It is a human problem. It is a sin problem. As cliche as that may sound to say, it is no less true. “All racism is sin because all mankind is from the same human race that is created in the likeness of God and thus each is of equal importance.” But the gospel changes everything! “Believers are called to reject the evil thoughts and actions of racial prejudice, discrimination, and are called to love others as themselves.” (See these verses to understand the effects of the gospel and racism: Ephesians 2:13-22; Colossians 3:11; Galatians 3:28; James 2:4, 8)

Or at least the gospel should change everything!

So why are some professing Christians not changing? Because they are simply not being taught the scriptures correctly or they are disobedient to the truth.

When I was in China, I preached against racism. It was needed. I plan on doing the same here in Taiwan. Why? Because racism is sin and believers are not to live in sin, but instead we are to be radically changed by the gospel, which includes all cultural upbringings or traditions that are contrary to the Bible. The same gospel than can convert Chinese atheist/communist to becoming a follower of Jesus who endures persecution, and the same gospel that can change an idol-worshipping Taiwanese man into a follower of Jesus never to bow to an idol again, can also change a racist American into a follower of Jesus who has a love for all people despite their skin color.

As believers, we need to remember the gospel is always the main thing—because Jesus is always the main thing. If someone claims to be a Christian and yet you think the sin of racism is deep within their hearts, you need to confront them with the gospel. A person can not claim the gospel and habitually not live of the gospel.

Preaching the gospel and its implications in our churches may cause some to leave…then so be it! Who wants church members who aren’t Christlike and have no intention of becoming like Christ? Church membership is supposed to be made up of those that are under the blood…and if you are under the blood we are of the same body (but with many skin tones). The unity of the body in truth is of greater importance than any skin color or political party.

Our culture, our nation, our world needs proclaimers of the truth. Small or big advancements in society might change over time, laws may assist to make sure that people are treated more fairly, and reforms are important…but there is only one thing or should I say One Person that can truly change or “make new” the deceitfully wicked human heart…His name is Jesus!

Don’t let anyone tell you anything else: Jesus is the answer for the world today!

Preachers, let’s do our job!

Believers, let’s do our part.

Salt. Light. Go.


A Pitfall That Leads To Disunity

I believe there is another pitfall that is being flippantly used to cause division and if we aren’t careful, it can enter into the church and cause division among believers. It is the idea that just because of a person’s skin color (white) or because of their place of birth (America) then they are part of systematic racism even if they are not aware of it. You don’t need to be thinking racist/biased thoughts, do racist/biased actions, but just because you are living, growing up in, and participating in a system that is deemed “racist/biased” by some, then you, therefore, are also guilty. Thus, just by living your life as certain skin color (white), you are being racist/biased. Therefore, you need to repent of your racism or the less incendiary word “biases” that are deep within your heart (even if you are unaware of it). Some take it even a step farther and are calling you to repent for the sins of racism committed by your parents or grandparents. 

From a Biblical perspective, this has many problems. First, mankind is born sinful and the potential to commit any host of sins is completely possible, but being born of certain skin color or in a certain location doesn’t make one racist or biased (this in itself is biased). Second, as New Testament people of God, we are to repent of our sins, not the sins that we didn’t commit or the sins of others (including our grandparents, etc). Third, false accusations are often lies dressed in emotional tirades, not factual presentations of the law of God, which causes one to know their sin and leads to true repentance. Fourth, the goal of true repentance is an authentic heart change, not just an outward change because of societal pressure or social media angst.

As far as I am aware, Jesus didn’t call out all Jews to national repentance for their mistreatment of Gentiles to accomplish social justice or vice verses, but when Paul saw the wrong actions of Peter, he called him out on the spot (Please read this study on Galatians 2:11-21). Real and identifiable actions/words/thoughts of racism or basis should be called out and dealt with. And we have a Biblical process for that as believers. (A healthy church practices church discipline. Jesus gave the church instructions on dealing with believers who have fallen into sin. The goal is to restore and reconcile the believers and purge out those who are the unrepentant or not real believers. Matthew 18:15–17; 1 Corinthians 5:6–7, 12–13)


Reminders

  • Read Romans 12 & James 3 & 1 Peter 3:8-17
  • Vengeance is the Lord’s. (Romans 12:19)
  • Love God and love others. (Mark 12:30-31)
  • Listen first and then speak. (Proverbs 18:13)
  • Don’t hang out with the angry. (Proverbs 22:24-25)
  • Don’t let your anger lead to sin. (Ephesians 4:26-27).
  • Hatred is guilty of murder in the heart. (Matthew 5:21-23).
  • What is good? to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God. (Micah 6:8)
  • Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil. (Proverbs 4:25-27)
  • Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)
  • Wisdom from above: pure, peaceable, gentle, easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. (James 3:17-18)
  • He that says he hates his brother, is in darkness even until now. (1 John 2:9)
  • Brethren let’s dwell together in unity. (Psalm 133:1)
  • Search my heart oh God. (Psalm 139:23-24)
  • Love–it covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:7-8)
  • Let us not offend each other, bad consequences. (Proverbs 18:19)
  • Swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. (James 1:19-20)
  • The sentence against an evil work should be executed speedily. (Ecclesiastes 8:11)

As a side note: Speaking Truth in Love

I have heard some within our circles who say that as they travel that some pastors have felt uncomfortable with or even turned down a fellow preacher/missionary from preaching in his pulpit just because of his skin color. Brothers, this ought not to be! It has been said that the pastor was afraid of what the church people would think etc.! Brothers, are you not leading your flock? Are you not teaching the Word of God correctly? Your church people ought to think what the Bible thinks. You are there to declare, “Thus saith the Lord…” May those within our ranks who misrepresent God’s Word or peddle in the sin of racism, repent!


Related

What Is An Attitude Of Love?

An attitude of love is a way of life that finds salvation in the love of God as it was manifested through the cross of Jesus and humbly accepts it by faith; this life-changing love causes the believers to choose love as the most important characteristic of all their actions and is to be paired with all their actions. As a result there is no more room for the sinful attitudes and actions that comes from a heart of hate. The Holy Spirit works in them to fulfill the royal law of loving others as yourself.
John 13:34-35

God Is Love And God Manifests His Love Towards Us

  • Love has a range of meanings but can be put into four main categories (based on the Greek language): sexual or erotic affection/love—the feeling of being physically attracted to someone; family affection/love—the feeling a parent has for their child; friendly affection/love—the feeling a person has towards their close friends; sacrificial affection/love—the feeling and action of making a willful decision to care about and do good for another, even if they are undeserving and despite the personal cost to do so. It is this kind of “sacrificial love” that God has shown towards us and the type of love we are aspiring to use to love others. This type of love is rooted in God Himself because the scriptures say that, “God is love”. Therefore, an “attitude of love” means to have a determined and authentic way of thinking and feeling about God that expresses being born of and knowing God (our relationship with Him) and enables us to properly respond as receivers of His sacrificial love—to love one another.
    1 John 4:7-8, 11; Luke 6:35
  • God’s sacrificial love was manifested towards us when He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, into the world to save us. While we were still sinners Jesus died for us—to be the propitiation for our sins—so that we might live through Him. We were completely unworthy of God’s love and goodness towards us, but because He is love He chose to share it with us according to His own purposes. He even paid all the expense—it cost Him the life of His son to love us and restore our relationship with Him.
    1 John 4:9-10; Romans 5:8
  • God’s love changes everything for the believer as it matures in us (perfected). As believers, we become children of God. He is love. Thus, love is to be characteristic of who we are. We are to sacrificially love others just like God did when He manifested His love to the world through Jesus’ death on the cross. We can’t see God or love, for these are invisible, but we can see them through the sacrificially loving actions of believers who are living out God’s love here on earth—it is a testimony or witness to the reality of God’s love. As we know and believe the love that God has for us and subsequently live out this love through the Holy Spirits work in our life, it provides assurance that we truly abide in God. It also gives us confidence (boldness) in the day of judgement—we know that our sins are forgiven by God because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, thus we no longer live in fear—anticipating an unsure or unpleasant outcome or punishment. But we live our lives knowing that we are loved by God and thus in return love God and love others.
    1 John 4:12-21; Matthew 22:36-40

To Love Above All Else Is The Goal Of Every Action

  • Love is the ultimate characteristic above all else and everything without love is useless. Thus love needs to be paired with every action that we do. We want to effectively communicate, have great faith, be full of giving and merciful acts and personal sacrifice, but if we do any of these without “genuine love” then it profits us nothing!
    1 Corinthians 13:1-3
  • Paul describes genuine love fo us and what it is really like. It is a love that never fails. The following is broken into four categories to help us apply these to our actions:
    1 Corinthians 13:4-8
  • The “temperament” of genuine love: (1) “suffers long”—patient and even-tempered during difficult times towards others; (2) “kind”—tries to be gentle, considerate and sympathetic towards others; (6) “does not behave itself unseemly” (rude)—not being offensive or impolite towards others; (8) “not easily provoked”—doesn’t get easily upset or irritable at others and doesn’t take everything personally; (9) “thinks no evil”—doesn’t keep count of other’s failures or sins nor becomes resentful towards them.
  • The “selflessness” of genuine love: (3) “envies not”—doesn’t become upset over someone else’s’ advantages; (4) “vaunts not itself” (boastful)—you aren’t focused on expressing your self-importance but on expressing others’ self-importance; (5) “not puffed up” (prideful)—doesn’t exaggerate a sense of self at the detriment of others; (7) “seeks not its own”—doesn’t take advantage of others to fulfill your own desires.
  • The “rigidness” of genuine love: (10) “rejoices not in iniquity”—doesn’t feel happy when others do wrong and doesn’t accept or allow sin; (11) “rejoices in the truth”—does feel happy when others do right and stands firm on biblical truth.
  • The “acceptance” of genuine love: (12) “bears all things”—willing to suffer everything  (small grievances and sins against you) that interpersonal relationship bring for the other persons good; (13) “believes all things”—willing to believe good about others and not wrongfully judge their unverified motives; (14) “hopes all things”—willing to expect good in your relationships with others; (15) “endures all things”—willing to courageously withstand all trials and do our best to manifest the love of God—others might treat us bad but we are going to stand firm and keep loving them.

To Overcome The Inward Attitudes Of Hatred

  • The opposite of love is hate. Hatred is the inward attitude of the heart that feels and thinks intense dislike or aversion towards others (for various reasons). This sinful attitude is often the root of the many outward actions, such as: verbally assaulting others (ex. cursing, insults); physically assaulting others (ex. killing, violence). Thus, hate and love cannot live together at the same time within believers, you must choose to hate or love others. As believers, we choose to love others through the power of the Holy Spirit—it is part of the fruit that the Holy Spirit is producing in all genuine believers.
    Matthew 5:21-26; Galatians 5:19-25
  • The Bible shows us that a habitually lifestyle of hate is a sign that a person is a false believer or false teacher. Is you life defined by love or hate?
    1 John 2:9, 11; 4:20
  • True love means we are not to be partial (respect to persons; show favoritism). If we do we become “judges of evil thoughts”. This includes discrimination (ex. giving preference to the rich verses the poor), racism and bigotry. Instead we are to replace any of these attitudes of hatred with the royal law found in Scripture, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”.
    James 2:1-9

Review Questions

  • What are the different kinds of love?
  • Who is love? How did He manifest His live?
  • The goal of every action fo the believer is to express what?
  • What is genuine love like?
  • Love helps us overcome what kind of wrong attitudes?

Firm Foundations Five (54 of 55) What About Racism?

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What About Racism?

Racism is the unjust treatment of ethnic groups different from your own because they possess different human traits and capacities, often causing one to see himself as superior and others as inferior. All racism is a sin because all mankind is from the same human race that is created in the likeness of God and thus each is of equal importance. Believers are called to reject the evil thoughts and actions of racial prejudice, discrimination, and are called to love others as themselves.
James 2:4, 8

God And The Human Race

  • God created all mankind in His image. One of the most important truths to understand regarding this topic is that there is only one race, the human race, and all of us are created in the image of God. The Bible says God made all nations of men of one blood to dwell on all the face of the earth. This means all mankind, no matter what ethnic group, comes from Adam, the first man.
    Genesis 1:26–27; Acts 17:26–28
  • God is no respecter of persons. He does not favor one ethnic group of people over another. All mankind is equally loved by God. All mankind will be equally judged by God. All mankind has the opportunity to be redeemed through the same means—repentance and faith in Jesus.
    Deuteronomy 10:17–19; 1 Samuel 16:7; Acts 10:34–35; Romans 2:11–12; Ephesians 6:9
  • God divided mankind into two groups, Jews and Gentiles. After mankind sinned, God promised a way of redemption. Then He said that way of redemption would come through the line of Abraham. Through Abraham’s seed, Isaac, Jacob, and continuing, God separated them and considered them His chosen people to give us Jesus, the one and only way of redemption. They were called to obey God, be a kingdom of priests, and a witness to the nations.
    Genesis 3:15, 12:1–3; 32:28; Deuteronomy 4:37–38; 7:7–8; Joshua 22:5; Exodus 19:5–6; Jeremiah 13:11; John 4:22; 7:42
  • God broke down the middle wall of partition between the Jews and Gentiles. The Jews often failed at their task, but through the Jewish line of David, God brought forth Jesus, who through His death on the cross made it possible for both Jews and Gentiles to be reconciled unto God in one body. This one body is the church. In Jesus, we are one. Now, the only division that exists is believers and unbelievers.
    Romans 10:12–13; Galatians 3:26–29; Ephesians 2:14–22; Colossians 3:11
  • God loves the human race, including all various ethnic groups that exist or have existed. Before the throne of God, there will be a great multitude, which no man can number, of all nations, kindred, people, and tongues. God manifested his love toward mankind by sending Jesus to be the propitiation for their sins. As believers, we realize how much God loves us even though we weren’t deserving of it and commands us to love others in the same way.
    John 3:16; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 4:9–13; Revelation 7:9–10

The Bible And Slavery

  • The form of slavery the Bible approves of was regulated by the law of Moses, and often people who couldn’t pay their debts or who couldn’t provide for their needs on their own would voluntarily enter into slavery. For many, this provided a better way of life and opened more doors of opportunity. Masters were to give their servants that which was just and equal, knowing that they themselves were under the God of heaven.
    Deuteronomy 15:12–15; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 4:1
  • The form of slavery the Bible condemns is that of forcing people into slavery, stealing people and selling them into slavery, or enslaving someone based on their ethnic identity, etc. In the Old Testament, the punishment for this kind of sin was death, and the New Testament confirms this form of slavery is sinful and the law was given to help protect against it.
    Exodus 1:7–11; 6:5; 13:14; 21:16; 1 Timothy 1:8–10

Answers To Tough Questions

  • Do some people use the Bible to teach racism? Yes, but no scripture teaches racism. False teachers, cults, and people who misunderstand the Bible will twist certain scriptures to teach their own type of racism to justify their mistreatment of a certain ethnic group. Racism is a result of sin and causes people to commit sin. It is not a truth taught in the Bible
  • What about racism because of culture? Racism is often a problem that is taught through one’s culture and it is hard to change their way of thinking about another ethnicity. Often people are racists toward another group because of characteristics they are born with and don’t have control over, such as skin color, nationality, gender, social status, and financial situation. As believers, we recognize we are all of one race and that our different characteristics are God-given and we will not be a respecter of persons.
  • What about racism because of unjust treatment? Racism is often caused because of a past or current circumstance that leads one group to hate the other. Mistreatment, heinous crimes, a war between countries, etc., can make a person bitter toward an entire ethnic group, even if the current generation had nothing to do with the accusations. As believers, we forgive because we are forgiven. We are called to forgive and love in the same way that we have been forgiven and loved by God.
    Matthew 18:21–35; Ephesians 4:32
  • How can I forgive others when they don’t deserve it? Those whom you discriminate against may not have done anything to deserve your forgiveness, but neither have we done anything to deserve God’s forgiveness. God forgave us because He was holy and we are called to be holy like He is holy.
    1 Peter 1:14–21
  • What about “interracial marriage”? Marriage is defined as one man marrying one woman, thus not requiring the same ethnicity of the two people who want to marry. Believers are only told not to marry unbelievers because it can negatively affect their spiritual walk with God.
    Matthew 19:4–5; 2 Corinthians 6:14

Review Questions

  • What is racism? Is it right or wrong? Why?
  • How many races are there?
  • Who does God love? How did He show His love?
  • What does the Bible teach about slavery?
  • How should believers respond to racism?

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