The United States is becoming increasingly divided along racial lines. Even within the church, we see far too much racism. I remember a Christian who was upset when Tubby Smith was hired as the coach at the University of Kentucky. I remember Christians who had never locked their doors before begin making sure the locks were in place at night when Hispanic migrant workers began working in local tobacco fields.
Scripture presents another way, and today, I wish to give biblical reasons to reject racism.
God made man in his own image.
“‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:26-27). Every man, woman, and child has the image of God within him or her.
God man all men from a single man.
God “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” (Acts 17:26). You go back far enough, you’ll find that we’re all descended from a single man—Adam. Why hate your own kin?
God loves the entire world
“God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). If God loves the world—every single person—enough to give his Son to die for every single person, who am I to make differences among people?
All men sin
“There is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:22-23). At first glance, the fact that all men sin may seem out of place in this list, but understand the situation in Rome. The Jews and Gentiles were deeply divided along racial lines, and Paul spends the first three chapters of his epistle making the point that no race can claim superiority over another, for each race is equally guilty of sin. You see, since I have as much sin as someone from another race, who am I to claim that I’m better than anyone else?
We’re all each other’s neighbors
When a lawyer sought to justify himself and asked Jesus who is neighbor was, Jesus told the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). The point of the parable is simply this: We serve without distinction to race. We are, after all, each other’s neighbors.
We’re convicted by the law as transgressors when we shall partiality.
“If you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors” (James 2:9). Partiality is sinful, and showing partiality makes one a transgressor.
By his blood, Jesus ransomed people of every ethnicity.
As the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders praise the Lamb who is worthy to open the scroll, they declared, “You were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10). People of every ethnicity have been ransomed by the blood of Jesus. Who am I, therefore, to make a difference among the races?
Jesus showed kindness to people from every ethnicity.
When Jesus encountered a Samaritan woman at the well, he sat down and talked with her. When a Canaanite woman approached Jesus and asked for healing for her demon possessed daughter, Jesus healed the little girl. Jesus, as the Creator, understood all people bear the image of God and he treated them accordingly.
Jesus’ genealogy includes “foreigners.”
In Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1), three women are named. Tamar was a Canaanite and Ruth was a Moabite. Matthew also mentioned “the wife of Uriah,” a Hittite. We don’t know for sure that Bathsheba herself was a Hittite, but Jesus’ ancestor was at least married to a “foreigner.”
God has made no distinction between the races.
Between Jew and Gentile (and everyone is in one of those two categories), God has made no distinction; they can be saved exactly the same way (Acts 15:9). If God makes no distinctions between the races, why would we?
Let’s pray for healing. Let’s pray for understanding. Let’s pray for reconciliation. Let’s be the instruments through which God brings healing, understanding, and reconciliation.