Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Don’t Justify Racism

As we approach Martin Luther King Jr. Day there becomes a lot of discussion surrounding racism in America.  Over fifty years after his assassination racism finds itself alive in well in American culture. Racism has been a problem and a symptom of the fallen world which goes back to the earliest of human history. Jesus addressed the racism in his day repeatedly.  He used a Samaritan as the example of love when he told the story of the Good Samaritan. He was criticized frequently by his acceptance of those who were not Jews.  He even talked to the woman at the well about the need for water in which she would never thirst again.  In a culture that hated everyone who was not like them, Jesus rose above it and showed love to everyone despite race, sex, social status or nationality.  

You would think that Jesus’ example would be enough for the Church throughout history to champion acceptance and flee from racism.  Though the Church has on occasion stood up for unity above race, much of our history is marred by being on the wrong side of this issue.  Southern Baptists have at our origin racism as one of the driving issues for our split from Baptists in the north.  Baptists split between north and south years before the Civil War.  The Southern Baptist Convention has worked hard over the last several years repenting publicly for that sin and has worked to bring racial reconciliation and racial diversity to be part of our identity. Yet, we find Sunday morning as the most segregated time in American culture.

I find that most Christians are blind to their own racism.  We do not call it racism because we try to justify it in order to legitimize it in our own eyes.  We point the finger at the other side and use data analysis to try to prove why it is their fault and not ours.  We use “token” co-workers and friends to prove to others how we are not racist while at the same time not seeing them as our equal in any way.  The Jews, led by the Pharisees, had a lot of religious reasons to hate Samaritans and a lot of political reasons to hate the Romans. Yet Jesus contradicted those reasons by being their friend and equalizing all races by dying on the cross for all.  Jesus came to save sinners and in sin we are all equal.

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