I grew up in Virginia during the 70’s, in the wake of desegregating schools. My neighborhoods and public schools were a mix of ethnicities and there was bullying and fights based on residual racial tension. However, these fights, in my neighborhood were not only held by the children. I remember watching my mother sob to my best friend’s mother as they together chose to stand against their neighborhood club. Their women’s club, ironically themed as the Cultural Arts Club had disinvited anew lady who happened to be black. She was our new neighbor, she and her family had just moved in across the street from our house. My mom had made a special attempt to warmly welcome this woman to her club and her supposed friends were pressuring my mother to find a way to tell her she was not welcome to come back. I am certain what was especially heartbreaking was that some of these women were part of our church at the end of the street.
One of the primary issues our country is constantly trying to solve is racism. A simplified definition of racism is to hate, oppress, marginalize, or disrespect someone because of someone’s ethnicity. Racism is the opposite of what the Bible teaches about race. No amount of social gestures or public statements or education concerning race will fix this issue. Only one thing will. This one thing is truly repenting of sin and being saved by the grace of the Gospel. It is impossible to counteract any sin, let alone racism without saving grace!
If you want a boiled down solution for racism it is repentance. You could say repentance is what gets people to grace and that grace is what changes your heart from being hateful. Titus 3:3 gives the clearest description of someone pre-Christ or is pre-saved! Prior to having a converted heart, you characteristically hate people and the only corrective for a hateful heart is to get new one.
"For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another." (Titus 3:3)
God’s Word is the ultimate leveler. When you recognize your problem as sin and turn away from it and turn to Christ, then and only then are you dealing with this issue. No matter who you are or where you come from your solution for the sin of racism is the same for all and clearly defined in Ephesians 2:
"But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near." (Ephesians 2:13-17)
Hostility between Jews and Gentiles was there from Israel’s beginning when God established his people as his nation. Jews, by God’s design were separated from Gentiles for the sake of ethnic purity. God’s plan for them was righteous separation called “holiness.” The intent was separation from the pagan practices of false religion. Israel was meant to stand out as a pure light to on-looking Gentles, to put on display what a nation blessed by God looks like! Sin messes up everything. Israel’s God-ordained separation ended up as a twisted version of righteousness really called self-righteousness. Their legalism acted as a cover for compromise as they intermarried with pagan nations and intermixed with their pagan practices.
Jesus came to interrupt Israel’s sin coming as a light to the nations! The light of the world! Christ came to take polarized people groups and make them one. “How does this happen?” “Making the Gentiles part of Israel?” “Is it supposed to be a separate-but-equal coexistence?” No!
Kent Hughes said: “Jesus didn’t Christianize the Jews or Judaize the Gentiles. He didn’t create a half-breed. He made an entirely new man.”
The two became one! Gospel transformation – nothing more and nothing less – solves racism! Period! Paul wrote this to the churches of Galatia!
27 "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise." (Galatians 3:27-29)
“Is blood thicker than water?” In Christ, we are closer to one another than an identical twin, if that person does not trust Jesus as Savior and Lord [H. B. Charles, A Biblical Answer for Racial Unity]. The bottom line is that sin separates. Unrepented sin destroys relationships. Hating someone for their race or at the same time not loving someone based on their race are both equally dramatic sins. For believers, co-existing and not offending people from a different race falls short of what God requires. The root of racism always comes back to one problem and that is sin. This problem has one solution, who is Jesus. A dramatic Savior who recreates hearts that not only stop hating but start loving! This is the body of Christ and the family of God.