Some years ago an African-American pastor’s wife from Atlanta visited us in Chile. Her husband pastored a church just miles from my old elementary school. During the 90s, my family and most of our friends left the area opting for a less “urban” environment in the suburbs.
As we discussed my own history in the south-Atlanta area, the pastor’s wife laughed and said, “We call that white-flight!” Puzzled at the new term, I asked her to explain. She said all blacks know that whites start getting nervous when blacks began to move into a neighborhood, and eventually the whites move… all of them move.
I, on the other hand, have been on the other side of those conversations and heard the anxious remarks about the increasing minority population. I knew what she was saying was right.
I’m not going to get into the whole socioeconomic discussion, but I do want to talk about racism!
Here are some random thoughts about God, the Bible, and racism:
- All men and women are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). How can we belittle an image bearer of God? The fact that they are bearing His image means they have infinite worth.
- God created us (Genesis 1-3). We’re all from the same family. We know evolution is not correct. Men didn’t come from apes. There are no substandard, underdeveloped Neanderthals roaming around the earth! Each African and Latin American breathing today got his or her life from the Creator of the universe.
- Jesus died for the whole world (John 3:16). He didn’t give preference to any skin color or social level. He shed the same blood for Europeans as for Africans and Americans. We teach our children to sing “red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight”, but do we really believe they are precious? Are they precious to you or an annoyance? Would you prefer to live with only people of your ethnic group? If so, don’t read the next one…
- All nationalities, cultures, and obviously races will be together in heaven for eternity (Revelation 5:9). If you don’t like to be around “foreigners”, don’t go to heaven!
- God said to go and preach the gospel to all the world (Mark 16:16; Matthew 28:18-20). God told us to be His ambassadors, because they (people groups of every nation) are important.
- The second most important commandment is to love others as ourselves (Matthew 22:36-40). Notice there is no reference to love others only within your racial or social group. Do you love people of other races as much as you love yourself?
- Have you ever considered that we had no option to choose where we would be born. God choose our parents, our country of origin, and our color.
- Jesus gave us the perfect example to follow. He left the perfection of heaven to be born into abject poverty. He took the time to learn the language and culture of the people. He respected that culture, except when it went against the Bible. Plenty of times He could have said, “Look at how dumb and dirty these people are! They eat weird foods and have some of the strangest habits.” Of course, we know that he didn’t. Do you have Christ-like attitudes towards people of other races?
By the way, the same attitudes that I find among whites in the south are also prevalent among many of the Chileans we work with in Chile. It is an area that we often have to handle. This is not an American problem, it’s a sin problem.
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