We’re first going to have to define racism. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary lists as its first definition:
“a belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race”
Some say that racism is more than a belief but is a practice of implementing laws and policies or establishing societal norms that discriminate against individuals or groups because of their race, ethnicity or skin color. In America, people are often categorized as those who benefit from or those who are victims of racism. This divisiveness exacerbates relationships, tears at the fabric of our society and often prevents seeing others as individuals made in the image of God.
The answer to your question is found in the Bible. Men and women have repeatedly turned their backs on a loving God who wants, more than anything, to be in relationship with him. Because we are in a constant state of rebellion against God, we no longer pay attention to our moral compasses. We no longer listen to God’s spirit within us that wants to show us how to live in right relationship with God and with our fellow man. As a result, all of us imagine that we know what’s best for ourselves…and we want others to affirm that belief.
So, we seek out like-minded individuals. In doing so, we feel obligated to find fault in others who do not think or act as we do. We seek to minimize the accomplishments of others and think of them as somewhat of lesser value. That, in turn, allows us to imagine that we are somehow superior to others—a foundation of racism. Those attitudes lead to wars, conquest, and the infliction of pain and suffering on others.
Racism, then, is the extension of man’s individual rejection of God and his creation. The fix that God has provided is the transformation of an individual’s heart and mind. It begins with confession of one’s own sins, and a cry to God for forgiveness. Recognizing that we have turned our backs on the God who created the universe and knows everything about us is very sobering. It comes with a realization that the penalty for our sinfulness is greater than we’re willing to bear. That’s why God allowed his son, Jesus, to come to earth and to die on a Roman cross, substituting his death for the death we deserved.
When we accept what he has done for us and let him refocus our lives to be more like him, we will begin to see others as he sees them—not looking on their outward appearance, but on their hearts. That’s God’s fix for racism. That’s why true followers of Christ cannot be racists, and should actively seek to drive racism from society.
Throughout history, Christ-followers have worked to end divisions between peoples. In America, it was predominantly Christians who worked tirelessly to end the scourge of slavery. For example, the nation’s sixth president, John Quincy Adams was a deeply religious Christian who did something no president, before or since, has done. After leaving the White House he fiercely fought against slavery for last 17 years of his life as a Congressman.
Would you like to know how to embrace a faith that leads to an end to racism as the hearts of men and women are aligned with those of Jesus? We encourage you to read our blogpost: How does one become a Christian?