One crime with racist intent is too many, but we have seen multiple. The number keeps climbing. People stand back and say, “It’s just coincidence that this keeps happening” or “Not all of these crimes are about race”. We can say whatever we want, but the truth is that racism still exists. How do I know? I live in the rural South. I still hear the derogatory and racial slurs. I see the segregation among schools, churches, and activities, although this is not mandated. Racism is alive and well, and the church should be addressing it.
I can hear some pastors say, “Let’s not address issues; let’s just preach the Bible.” I have a shocking revelation for you…The Bible addresses it! Furthermore, our Lord and Savior was scandalous in that He defied the ethnic and social norms of His day.
Take a look at John 4 where Jesus encounters the woman at the well. Jesus defies the customs of the day by speaking to a woman. This was not viewed too kindly in Jewish culture. He also defied the customs of that day by speaking to a Samaritan. Samaritans were half-breeds (half Jew, half Gentile). Jews, as God’s chosen people, had this supremacy mindset (one that Jesus addressed on other occasions). They did not like Gentiles. This Samaritan woman who was a product of a Jew-Gentile relationship was an even greater outcast because neither ethnic group wanted to accept her. But she encountered a loving Savior who wanted to redeem her from a life that was void of satisfaction.
Even the Apostle Paul who is viewed by some as a male chauvinist levels out the ethnic playing field. He said in Galatians 3:28, “There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” These principles still apply, and the church should address it.
It is high time for us to listen. As a lily white boy from Portsmouth, Virginia, I don’t know much about being treated unkindly by another race. It has happened before, but it is not something I face daily. I would dare say I am treated with greater respect by some of my African-American brothers and sisters than I am by my white brothers and sisters. The African-American community I know possesses qualities I admire. While I do not understand their struggle from experience, I want to take time to listen. I want to hear their perspective so I can better understand and find a way to see some of these walls fall.
It’s time to stop pretending everything is just fine. Good people have been silent for way too long. The church is quick to call a lot of things sin. Let’s call racism what it is too – a sin! We might not know what to do to see things change, but we can take some steps in the right direction.