We can’t forget what happened in Charlottesville, VA several months ago. The names Micheal Brown and Trayvon Martin are etched into our memories. Countless white students have dressed in blackface and shouted racist chants. Numerous people have developed doctrines that promote Black superiority. How are we to respond? Social media is a double-edged sword is often a place of fruitless conversations. Therefore, social media is not our best outlet. Face to face conversations produce sustainable fruit.
I am often asked by brothers and sisters in Christ, how do I respond to racial issues in America? Typically, I give a few pieces of advice. I know many of you are wondering how to respond to racism in America. Let me offer you four principles to help you respond to racial issues in a Godly manner.
Respond with Humility
“That’s just how they are.”
Humble yourself. The statements mentioned above are defensive statements. We state them to prove to others, we are not racist and to dismiss the idea we are capable of it. This is contrary to scripture. We are all sinners (Romans 3:23). The sin of racism is not limited to those in white hoods or black jackets. Racists sit in church pews. Racists have black friends. Racists live in a diverse environments. Racists move into white and black neighborhoods. Your sin makes you prone to racism. We all need the saving grace of Jesus Christ because we are prone to partiality (James 2:1).
Our sin gives us blind spots. Injustices related to law enforcement has become so polarized. Discussions about this issue have lacked humility.The black lives matter people believe they are better than the all lives matter bigots. The all lives matter people think they are superior to the BLM liberals.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus
- Am I considering others more significant than myself?
- Where is my sin? Do I need to repent?
- Am I responding with the mind of Christ?
Respond with Listening
Stop telling people what they believe. Seek to accurately and fairly represent opposing views. Make sure you know enough about a position to oppose it. You may not agree, but seek to understand. Have you taken the time to understand why the NFL players are kneeling? Have you sought to understand those who view it as disrespectful to our nation? Once again, you may not agree, but if you respond without listening you are being foolish.
If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame. Proverbs 18:3
Before you respond ask yourself:
The Word of God is relevant to all aspects of life. It is useful in racial issues. It is our best resource. There are no new sins. Prejudice, discrimination, and racism are in the bible. The Gentiles were victims of discrimination. Peter demonstrates his prejudice and Jewish superiority in Galatians 2 and Acts 10. Paul responds in Galatians 2 and states Peter was out of step with the gospel. God responded three times in Acts 10. Let your response we dictated by scripture. Too often I have seen nationalism and ethnic superiority parading as Christianity. Carl Ellis calls this Christianity-ism. It is when cultural masquerades as Christianity.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 2 Timothy 3:16
2) Am I allowing the bible to correct me?
The news gives us people and places to mention in our prayers. Racial issues should give us people and places to pray for. Our nation is in the midst of racial strife. Creative methods do not have the power to reconcile us. God is the only one who has the power to unite sinners and keep them united.
So Pray. Pray God will reconcile his people. Pray for understanding. Pray to be aware of your blind spots. Pray that the gospel may be preached and its power may be displayed. Pray for God to humble you. Pray for Christian unity.
praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, Ephesians 6:18
2) What do I need to pray about?
If you avoid the issues of racism, or think they are unimportant compared to other topics, you are the moral relavists you warned us about.Dr. Russell Moore