Each month between 100 – 1,000 people search for Racial reconciliation on Google, and Google offers about 11.3 million results. Each month between 1,000 – 10,000 people search for Racial harmony on Google, and Google offers about 16.3 million results. Racism however gets 100,000 – 1,000,000 Google searches per month, and yields about 254 million results. What are we focusing on? It’s widely recognized that mainstream media focuses much more on problems than on solutions. But what does God’s Word say? “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” – Philippians 4:8 (ESV) There has been and still is racism in America and in the world, but there is also a lot of love, unity, and harmony among different races of people. Many of us live, work, and worship together day in and day out with good in our hearts toward our fellow man, regardless of race or background. There are also plenty of examples of God working to build bridges and promote harmony among the races. For example, in this month’s issue of GODSPEED, we uncovered a story about Hispanic evangelicals influencing the Trump White House to bring about passage of the First Step Act, a criminal justice reform bill that helps alleviate racial injustice in our prison system.
We should properly focus the bulk of our thoughts and efforts on God’s desire to bring healing and harmony, and that’s exactly what we’ve tried to do in this month’s issue.
Racial Healing Starts by Recognizing Sin
However, we should still acknowledge racism and fight against it. We can start by humbling ourselves and acknowledging our own sins, the sins of our ancestors, and corporate sins—the same way believers did under both the Old and New Covenants.
Many believers in Old Testament times confessed and repented of corporate sins. Daniel was a righteous man, but he offered prayers of repentance on behalf of his ancestors and his nation: “We have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land.” – Daniel 9:5-6 (NIV) In Chapter 7 of the Book of Acts, we find Stephen preaching about the national sins of Israel in an attempt to bring his contemporaries to repentance: “But our ancestors refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt.” – Acts 7:39 (NIV) “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute?”– Acts 7:51-52a (NIV) Jesus called out the corporate sins of entire cities: “Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. ‘Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.’” – Matthew 11:20-21 (NIV) While we can’t repent of someone else’s sin for them, we can acknowledge that various sins have taken place and that they are still affecting generations of people. We also see in the New Testament that both Paul (inspired by the Holy Spirit) and Jesus address corporate sins among bodies of believers. Perhaps most relevant is the fact that both Paul and Jesus rebuke bodies of believers for tolerating sin among their brothers and sisters (see 1 Corinthians 5:1-2 and Revelation 2:15-16, 20-22 for examples). As individuals, we can ask ourselves whether we have done everything possible to pursue God’s vision of harmony among the races. Under the New Covenant, weare not guilty before the Lord for what past generations have done. But we are responsible for anything we have done and if nothing else, we may all have committed sins of omission in this area. If some personal weaknesses and failings are coming to mind for you right now, tell God what you’ve done and ask for His help. Tell another person. You don’t have to tell everyone, but you should probably tell someone you trust. Ask them to pray for you to be set free and healed of wrong attitudes, words, and actions. We don’t have to wallow in guilt, but we can recognize and acknowledge that there’s a problem. Once we do that, we can move forward together toward solutions. We are responsible for doing our best to correct the wrong that exists in our communities, nation, and world. GODSPEED Contributor Mike Berry explored these topics in depth with Bill Haley, grandson of Alex Haley, who is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Roots. Be sure to check out his article and the full audio interview in this month’s issue.
Racial Harmony Starts When We Take Action
Perhaps the best way to move forward is by getting involved with what God is already doing in these areas. He’s moving to bring about racial reconciliation and healing, and it’s our goal to make readers more informed so that we can take action. We want to challenge ourselves and our readers to do more. Let’s take the time to read about the various movements happening now and ask ourselves what steps we can take to support those movements. GODSPEED Director and Contributor Rebecca Lamont penned a nice summary of various movements that we can all take part in right now, and it’s available in the current issue.
Last, let’s seek to live out racial reconciliation and harmony in our daily lives and in our churches. What would it look like if people of many tribes and cultures worshiped together as part of one body? That’s exactly what we found for this month’s issue of GODSPEED: A church planting racial harmony in Birmingham, Alabama.
“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.”– Hebrews 7:9 (NIV)
Our primary identity is in Christ, not in the color of our skin, our national origin, or a political party. There is no segregation, class system, or socioeconomic status in God’s Kingdom. God loves all people of all nations, tribes, and languages, and it’s His will for us to live in harmony with one another. Join some of the movements we identify in this month’s issue. Support them. Get involved.
If you don’t have a home church, find a church whose members are made up of various races and get involved there. If your church is primarily made up of a single race, start having conversations and holding events with other churches that are primarily made up of a different race. In the name of Jesus Christ, let’s tear down walls and come together.