Many of us watched in confusion, shock and anger as images of the riots and looting in Ferguson, Missouri played out across our TV screens. Some activists not only supported this anarchy and looting, but even encouraged it!

I understand that racial tension has been running high for some time now, but reducing racial prejudice and racism is a complex task that varies from community to community, so it doesn’t lend itself well to simple, “1-2-3-one size fits all solution” that can be adopted and applied without having a thorough understanding of the environment. Something like this takes knowing your community well and choosing strategies that best fit your community’s needs, history, context, energies, and resources.

And even then, none of these activities or strategies alone will lead to a sustainable change at the individual level. In order for such change to occur, we have to take actions that will allow us to consistently affect the different levels over a long period of time.

Racial ArmsThe first thing to understand is that there is only one race—the human race. Caucasians, Native Americans, Africans, Asians and Jews are not different races. Rather, they are different ethnicities of the human race. All human beings have the same physical characteristics—Eyes, ears, noses, and mouths. (With minor variations, of course) More importantly, all human beings are created in the image and likeness of God. (Genesis 1:26-27) God loved the world so much that He sent Jesus to lay down his life for us. (John 3:16) The “world” obviously includes all ethnic groups.

Racism, in varying forms and to various degrees, is a plague on humanity. Those who practice racism, prejudice, and discrimination need to repent. They are passing on that same hateful way of thinking onto their children and future generations to follow. And victims of racism, prejudice, and discrimination need to forgive. Ephesians 4:32 declares, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Racists may not deserve our forgiveness, but did we deserve God’s forgiveness any more than they?

So what is the solution to the racism problem in our communities? The bottom line is that God has already given us a solution to racism and discrimination in His Holy Word, the Bible. God does not show partiality or favoritism, (Deuteronomy 10:17; Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11; Ephesians 6:9) and neither should we. (James 2:9)

All forms of racism, prejudice, and discrimination deny the work of Christ on the cross. So we need to love others with the same impartiality as God. If we treat a person with contempt, we are mistreating a person created in God’s image; we are hurting somebody whom God loves and for whom Jesus died.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:34)

So instead of working so hard to fight back against racial prejudice, maybe we should be working even harder on how to love one another without prejudice and overcome evil with love.

 

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