Racism and the Gospel

Sometimes I feel like I’m grasping at straws with topics such as this one that carry so much weight. It seems like everybody has a different narrative of what has happened, and a different opinion on how to fix what they view as the “real issues.” It’s like my voice gets drowned out from the shouts on both sides and the issues never seem to actually get discussed.

For those playing catch up, I’m a 22-year-old white kid who grew up in a very non-diversified demographic and now lives in the South. To be straightforward, racial tensions were something that I always heard about but never experienced- until now.

With my outside perspective, let me tell you what I see. I see the black community having to deal with a number of issues and prejudices that white people simply do not have to deal with, rarely if at all. I see hurt people looking for answers and justice for lost loved ones. I see this unfortunately resulting in violent protests, attempting to call attention to the issues and the injustice but simultaneously creating new issues and new injustices.

What do I see from the other side? I see a denial to see the apparent. A sweeping under the rug of social injustice and an unwillingness to admit there’s a problem. I see us pointing fingers at the hypocrisy and using that as an excuse to completely disregard creating change. It’s almost as if we view that supporting the fight towards reconciliation of racial injustice as inherently taking a stand against law enforcement or our military and veterans.

But I cannot think of a single movement or idea that is as opposed to racism as the gospel is. Each person is created imago Dei, that is, in the image of God. Not only are we all created in the image of God, we are all corrupted by nature because of sin. This sin curse is far reaching, and from it stems the desire to oppose or degrade one another because of race or even to combat injustice with injustice. Simply put, we are all fallen and separated from a holy and righteous God and the only hope of reconciliation is the gospel. And the gospel is for all nations, all tribes, and all tongues. Racism parades pride. The gospel demands humility.

Which brings me to the heart of the issue: if people are hurting, why are Christians not helping?

How hypocritical is it of us to sit on the sidelines and critique a community looking for answers to what it’s going through, and not extend a hand? If people are in need, and we’re criticizing those trying to stand up for them (however misguided they may be) then maybe we’re a part of the problem and we don’t even realize it.

What makes us angrier: people speaking out against injustice or the injustice itself? And it seems as if we disagree with how people are protesting, then it’s okay to  completely forget about the issues themselves because it’s easier for us to protest against protesting than to protest the injustice itself.

Don’t get me wrong here; I’m not condoning any acts of violence occurring within the protests. I’m not condoning the “victim mentality” card that some are playing, feeling entitled to justice. The only justice any of us are entitled to is God’s wrath. And I’m certainly not calling you to quit supporting veterans or stop standing proudly for the national anthem. I’m simply asking you to not use that as a cop out to dodge a very real problem that people are facing each day.

Because it’s the excuses that are all too familiar to the black community that we use to hide the underlying issues.

“Well all lives matter, so you’re missing the point.”

“Well you’re just justifying violence and rioting, hypocrites.”

“Well maybe if you just comply with the policemen, they wouldn’t have to shoot.”

“Well your education system is terrible and your neighborhoods are overrun with violence and drugs, so it’s not my problem.”

How can those who claim to be saved from the just punishment of a holy God point a finger at the injustice of the world and blame the people affected by it rather than extending their hand to help? It makes no sense to me that we proudly stand against the voices of this community with our angry emoji reactions and never once offer any attempt to understand how we can help. Why don’t we extend a hand to the hurting? Why aren’t we willing to discuss these issues?

As Christians, we’re called to help the widows and the orphans. The afflicted and the pushed out. The poor and the blind. To those in need: we should meet their needs, right? Jesus sat down with the sexually immoral Samaritan woman and showed her compassion. He commissioned the gospel to go to Jerusalem, to Judea, to Samaria, and to the end of the earth. Jesus is interested in reaching the nations and the gospel transcends race.

It’s that kind of thinking that drives us to stand outside abortion mills and be a voice for those without a voice still in their mothers’ wombs. It’s why we fight for those sold into sex trafficking. It’s why we have food drives, love offerings, and adoptions. And if we are to be consistent, it’s why we should fight to stand up against racial and social injustice.

But who cares about being consistent these days?

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