Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – September 24, 2018
There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:22-24
“I am culpable”. Until all of us confess and embrace this truth about racism, our conversations will remain oversimplified, patronizing and ineffective. My sin of insensitivity to the real racial issues is standard equipment for the “cultural car” I drive as a majority person in our society. Unless my empathic understanding rises above my emotional fragility and racial naiveté, I only offer an insensitive bandaid to the chronic inequalities of my minority friends. By offering short sighted solutions for systemic problems, I only add additional layers of distrust and injustice that bury racism alive. Cold, calloused hands emerge from the soil of racism even uglier than before.
Why does Paul boldly state, “There is no difference between Jew and Gentile”? Because racial equality is the heart of Almighty God. We all have sinned. We all fall short of the glory of God. We are all justified freely by His grace. We are all redeemed by faith in Jesus Christ. Just as all races have access to eternal life in heaven, so all races have access to Christ’s abundant life on earth. God’s definition of who is the better race is His one race of humans in Christ Jesus, period.
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
How can the majority culture show compassion for others with different backgrounds and collaborate with the minority culture in addressing racial inequities? We can’t remain the silent majority snuggled up in our suburban gated communities. With grace and grit, risking rejection, we must speak up about inequities toward minority men related to arrests, incarceration and sentencing. We create systems for minority children to have the same education privileges, with equal punishment and rewards. We move past pay inequality in the marketplace to compensate all the same for a job well done. A majority who speaks up offers a voice for an ignored minority.
Racial healing and unity follow when friends from different cultures create safe environments to speak out loud about current pain and past wounds. Racism is put to death and given a proper burial when ongoing civil and compassionate conversations happen at home, work and church. Here is where hearts connect, minds are enlightened, trust is built, the Lord Jesus is the focus and the Holy Spirit knits our hearts together in love. A long, hard process? Yes. Worth it? Oh yeah!
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility” (Ephesians 2:13-16).
Heavenly Father, I confess my culpability to racism. Cleanse my heart and make me a part of the solution not the problem, in Jesus’ name, amen.
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