Deep breath. Please read forward with an open mind and an attitude of grace. This was a hard one.
Here I sit, a white female, sharing my heart and gut on the topic of racism. Some may say I write from a predestined air of having no idea what I’m talking about and you are, in some degree, probably right. I have never felt the mistreatment due to the color of my skin. Others would argue that I might have felt the discrimination of being a woman. I can’t honestly say that I have. Either I’ve chosen not to see it through my rose-colored glasses or I’ve truly not been a victim of such discrimination. Bottom line, I can’t personally say someone has discriminated against me and therefore, I don’t claim to write from a victim’s vantage point.
I write from my heart. A heart which is broken in today’s world. A heart convinced Jesus is brokenhearted as well. I’ve been searching to align with Jesus’s perspective. To learn God’s direction in the one true book to follow – The Bible.
I was immediately drawn to the biblical reality there is really only one true race – the human race. In Acts 17:26, Paul teaches we all came from the same source of creation, “from one blood every nation of men”. One blood. In other words, there are no superior or inferior races. We are all from the same race: the human race created in the image of God our Father. Superficial differences in skin color, hair color, hair texture, or eye shape may provide physiological differences between people groups. But the Bible doesn’t provide any justification for treating people differently simply because of these physical differences.
I’m not suggesting there isn’t an issue. Oh, completely the contrary. The issue of racism or ethnic prejudices are running rampant in a terribly fallen world. I’m only suggesting, above, racism is not biblical at the root of creation. I think we can agree.
However sadly, the first scene of the prejudice plague on our fallen humanity can be found biblically in the Old Testament. God divided humanity into two groups: Jews and Gentiles. The Jews were an ethnic group of people descending from Jacob. A Gentile was, well plainly, everyone else. God desired for the Jews to lovingly minister to the Gentiles in a way that honored and glorified Him. However, the Jewish people mostly became prideful of the status from God and ended up hating the Gentiles. Thankfully, Jesus Christ put an end to this, breaking down the dividing wall of hatred between the two ethnicities. In Ephesians 2:14, we learn of Christ our peace, who made both one, and broke down the wall of separation.
If we all lived in accordance to the teachings of Jesus without fail, we’d already be in heaven, not still here on earth in our fleshly sinful nature. Therefore, we have issues and race has become a big issue either due to pride or fear or insecurities. That which is different from us, scares us in one way or another. We shy away from discussions about our differences because they tend to become uncomfortable or awkward or feelings get hurt.
So, in my deep heart’s desire, I ask; “what can I do, as a Christian, to build bridges and close gaps?”
- I must accept my own responsibility in the problem. I have to accept where I have an unaddressed preconceived inappropriate mindset and take it to the foot of the cross. Repent and seek correction. Over and over again.
- I must not pretend prejudices don’t exist just because they don’t negatively impact me personally.
- I must not become offended by things like “Black Lives Matter”. Yes, all lives matter, but do all lives currently feel a personal persecution? Does saying “Black Lives Matter” necessarily mean all lives don’t? No.
- I must be compassionate and culturally sensitive.
- I must tolerate, in the biblical sense of the word, taking the time to listen and understand other people. Build bridges. Break down the isolation between races and cultures.
- I must not think myself superior. Paul tell us in Romans 12:3 that a man should not “think more highly of himself than he ought to think.”
- I must treat all others kindly and lovingly. Friendly, open communication is important, as well as is flexibility and keeping an open-mind. “And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” 1 John 4:7
- I must focus on how to enhance my ability to bridge a racial and cultural gap.
- I must be willing to have the conversation.
- I must, in any way possible, point to Jesus. He is the ultimate answer and cure.
I do not have all the answers, nor do I believe my tiny corner of the world will make global change. My prayer always remains, my circle be blessed because of what Jesus has done in me. In Him, I seek obedience and rest my hope.
In Christ, I hope in this glorious conclusion. Despite how bad we as humans mess things up on the topic of race, with Christ, there is no favoritism on account of birth, beauty, or blood. ALL at the foot of the cross are sinners and ALL at the communion table are saved by the same amazing grace. Praise God.
In His Grip, Ashlee
Pray with me: Heavenly Father God, I love you. Thank you for pressing this topic deep into my heart and giving me the courage to share it. I pray, we can find healing in a world wrecked with hurt over issues of our differences and hatred. Give us all a spirit of peace, love and understanding. Help us to live a life focused first on Jesus, empathizing openly with each other. Mold our hearts toward you God. Until you draw us to heaven where we will live in complete peace, remind us we are all your children here and your son died to save us all. In His precious name I pray. Amen.