I grew up in a predominantly white, northern state in the U.S. during the 1950s. My community’s discrimination challenges were based on religious, political, and national ancestry differences — not race. I never met a person with a different skin color than my own until I was in college. I never saw a person “of color” until I was in my teens. I do not recall observing racial discrimination personally until I was an adult, except in books, newspapers, or films. I was raised to believe that the color of someone’s skin was unimportant to how they should be treated. The only discrimination that affected my family personally was unrelated to race; it was based on my grandfather’s German ancestry following war between the U.S. and its allies, and Nazi Germany and its allies.
The friendships I’ve shared in adulthood with people of different races validate what I was taught as a child. Simply stated, the differences among my friends of different races are typically man-made or would exist even had we shared the same skin color. They are not differences that are important to God, because God is impartial to them: “For God treats everyone the same.” (Romans 2:11)
Genesis says that God created man in God’s image. It doesn’t specify the color of man’s skin: “The time came when the Lord God formed a man’s body from the dust of the ground and breathed into it the breath of life. And man became a living person.” (Genesis 2:7)
Does racial discrimination exist in the U.S.? Unfortunately, yes, although it is against the law and against God’s will. As long as there are people who defy or deny God, there will be people who hate. For people who hate, it seems that any reason will do.
Racial discrimination is inconsistent with Christianity. Racism that is embedded in our culture in such a manner that we don’t realize it is the most insidious racism of all — and against everything Christ stands for. Christ teaches us to love one another. “And so I am giving a new commandment to you now — love each other just as much as I love you.” (John 13:34) No where in the Bible does it limit Christ’s commandment to people of similar skin color. I read that God does not look at us and see our race; He looks at us and sees the human race. (I cannot remember where I read it.)
I believe most Christians would agree that racial discrimination is wrong. The question so many of us seem to stumble over is whether condemning racism is enough — or whether Christ expects us to do more? Whether we intervene and help someone who is being treated unfairly because of racism is a personal decision. It is a decision of the heart. Perhaps it will help guide us to imagine the victim is Christ, because Jesus teaches us that if we fail to help someone in need, we are failing to help Him. “And I will answer, ‘When you refused to help the least of these my brothers, you were refusing help to me.” (Matthew 25:45)
Do black lives matter? Yes, black lives matter; all lives matter to God.
If people have a problem with that concept, then they have a problem with God.
Photo by bettorodrigues