Posts Tagged ‘racial prejudice and racism’

In September, Pope Francis fired a Paraguayan bishop accused of sheltering a pedophile. Francis said his decision to fire the bishop was incredibly difficult. However, it was necessary for “the greater good of preserving the unity of the local church.” Pope Francis’ decision to fire the bishop underlines his “zero tolerance” approach to sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

Pope Francis followed up on his zero tolerance as he launched a blistering attack on the Vatican bureaucracy Monday, outlining a “catalog of illnesses” plaguing the church’s central administration, including a “narcissistic pathology of power, existential schizophrenia.” The pope also denounced the lust for power of ladder-climbing clerics—those who indulge in hypocritical double lives, and lamented a sense of “spiritual Alzheimer’s” that leads clerics to forget the joy that is supposed to animate their lives. He was especially critical of cliques that enslave their members and become a cancer that threatens the harmony of the body, eventually leading to “death by friendly fire.”

Many would argue that the same could be said about our own political leaders. But remember, we’re the ones who voted them into office. Are our own religious leaders guilty of the pope’s accusations? And what about us? Are we also suffering from spiritual Alzheimer’s?

2 Peter 1:5-9 tells us to, “Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

We are told that the Christmas season is a time for faith, goodness, joy and godliness—that “Jesus is the reason for the season.” And yet, our lives are plagued with greed, jealousy, hate, violence and discord—just the opposite of what Peter tells us we should possess as Christians! Have we forgotten that as Christians we possess all of the godly qualities that Peter speaks of?

James chapter 4 gives us the reason AND the solution for all of the hate that is plaguing our communities. The reason: “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

The solution: “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

Pope Francis suggested that his prelates examine and improve themselves. Should we not do the same?

If ever there was a time to pray for revival in the Church, it is now! May this Christmas season fill us all with a resolute spirit to seek God and His righteousness and love for our fellow human beings.

My heavenly father, I am crying—crying for the hurting—crying for the haters. I am crying from seeing people killing one another. Please hear my prayer! Help us stop all the hate on earth! Please give us peace again. Please look at these people killing and being killed and show them your mercy! Let us return to the God of our fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Please hear my prayer and do what you think is good. Amen.

 

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.