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What Does the Bible Say About Racism?

The church of Jesus Christ was never meant to be a group of people who looked and act exactly alike. We are united in our faith in Christ Jesus [1] and our trust in God’s Holy Scriptures. After Peter’s first sermon, three thousand people came to know Christ from all over the world. As believers we have the responsibility to stand out for our unconditional and accepting love of Christ for all people. Let’s learn how to deal with R-A-C-I-S-M according to the Bible:

R – Refuse to accept cultural prejudices

“Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite” (Numbers 12:1).

Miriam and Aaron used their prejudice against Zipporah as an excuse to question Moses’ authority given to him by God. As a result, Miriam was struck with leprosy and sent out of the camp for seven days. God will always discipline prejudicial attitudes within the body of Christ in His own way.

A – Accept others in the light of Christ

“Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right’” (Acts 10: 34-35).

At the end of Peter’s vision—God said to him, “Don’t call anything impure that I have made clean”. Peter realized after being in Cornelius’ home that God was calling the Gentiles to the faith. The Lord will have representatives from every nation of the world in heaven—believers must witness and be open to those of different races in the Spirit of Christ.

We (the Church) are to reach out in the unconditional love of Christ and become a refuge for all people regardless of their race. [2]

We (the Church) are to reach out in the unconditional love of Christ and become a refuge for all people regardless of their race.

C – Conform to Christ’s example of acceptance

The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?’(For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)” (John 4:9).

Jesus shook up the social perceptions of His day by talking with a Samaritan woman who had a bad reputation. He looked past her cultural background and ministered to her need of Him. As a result, an entire community came to know Christ. Believers need to seek out God’s vision of people’s spiritual needs rather than get side tracked by their race.

I – Instigate the Christian example of love

“When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple.  But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles” (Acts 9:26-27).

The disciples were afraid of Paul based on his reputation; yet Barnabas took the step of helping them to see what God had done. In many societies, there can be deep rifts of cultural and racial hatred from past offenses. However in the church, there should be unity in the love and forgiveness through Christ Jesus. Old wounds can be healed in the presence of the Holy Spirit [3] when there’s acceptance and openness to God’s purpose.

S – Speak up when racism is evident

“When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned” (Galatians 2:11).

Although Peter was initially given the charge of ministering to the Gentiles, in a moment of weakness he reverted to separating himself from them. Paul took the initiative to call Peter out for his wrongdoing in order that the church stand true to its witness. Courageous men and women of God must speak the truth in love so that the church remain unified in the Spirit.

M – Make every effort towards peace and fellowship

“In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food” (Acts 6:1).

Were the Hellenistic Jews being overlooked on purpose? Scripture doesn’t give more insight into this situation other than how the church solved this problem. There will be times of conflict within the church—perhaps because of cultural differences. However the Lord has called His body towards peace and there should always be great effort to restore proper fellowship among believers.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:19)

Racism isn’t from the Lord, but from the devil. His evil agenda is to kill, steal, and destroy as many people from every continent as possible. It would be hypocrisy for believers to attest to the love of God and yet hold on to racism.

The church stands in the gap for the lost people of the world. We are to reach out in the unconditional love [4] of Christ and become a refuge for all people regardless of their race. The body of Christ is the great melting pot of all nations in this present world leading towards the next.

More reading: What is the Purpose of the Church? [5]

Resource – New International Version Bible, The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblca, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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