“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” – 1 John 4:20 (NIV)
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speech at The Hungry Club Forum in Atlanta on May 10, 1967. The address was on the three major evils that were endangering the gains that black Americans were making. The three major evils were the evil of racism, the evil of poverty, and the evil of war. Racism is still an evil today, some 54 years later. Dr. King acknowledged in the speech that “..there has been some progress, and I would not want to overlook that” but went on to add “we must face the fact that we still have much to do in the area of race relations.”
Americans have been turning to organizations, education, famous personalities, and, ultimately, the government to address the on-going racial divide in our nation. Yet racial tensions have not abated. The church believes that the only solution powerful enough to bring about racial reconciliation and harmony is the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is this gospel that announces that, through His blood, Jesus has demolished the dividing wall that separates humanity along racial lines and has brought all ethnicities together as brothers and sisters into one body—the church. It requires believers to do the hard work of renewing our minds by replacing old ways of thinking with gospel ways of thinking.
It is tough to turn on the media and be bombarded with images of evil, violence, hatred, and racism. It makes you wonder whether we truly realize that systemic racism is still an active part of our culture. It also makes you wonder when the evil of racism and the polarization, division, and injustices will ever end? In earthly kingdoms, it will not. Only when Christ returns will there finally be true justice and peace for every race, tribe, tongue, and person. When Christ returns, there will be harmony among mankind. That will be a truly remarkable day.
In the meantime, how do we as Christians, respond to the evil of racism? The first step is to ask God to identify any pride and prejudices, big or small, in our hearts. Why? Because racism is rooted in pride. And the danger with pride is how quickly it can take root in our lives without warning, which turn into jealousy, bitterness, prejudice, and even racism.
The apostle John put it simply: “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar.” To be a part of the solution, we need to ask that God align our hearts and minds with His. In a world filled with hate and anger, pray that God’s love will overcome the evil that is racism. Following and loving Jesus is the best place to start.
- What do you see as the role of the church in overcoming racism in our community?
- What role can we play in destroying the evil that is racism?