God is Not a Racist
“And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10: 25-29, NASB)
It’s in times like this that I wonder: How do people that don’t know who Jesus is get through this life? How do those who don’t know His love face the uncertainty of the day? How do those who don’t
stand in His promises cope with their fear and deep sadness that is an inevitability to this life? Because I don’t think that I’d be able to function in this year alone if I didn’t have the steadfast faithfulness of God to lean into in days like these.
By now, everyone has seen or heard of the tragic death of George Floyd, mercilessly killed at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis. In the days that have followed, the entire nation– and much of the world– have become both enraged and somber. And I find myself heavy over the obvious hatred of the black community by some, but I am also heavy that the Church struggles in both their tact and method of response. On one end, the Church is shot down by people that generalize us as racists because, well let’s face it: Our Founding Fathers were both Christian and slaveowners, and those attitudes from hundreds of years ago are still passed down in certain communities that find those two details hard to separate. These people call out for action and think thoughts and prayers are weak.
And on the other, some Christians feel, “Well, what CAN I do?” In this case, I want to point your attention to today’s key verse and the verses proceeding it. In Luke 10, a man asks Jesus how he can inherit eternal life. Jesus, in true Jesus fashion, asks him what the scripture says to answer his question. The man says that first, he should love God with everything he has, and second, he should love his neighbor to the degree in which he loves himself. When Jesus commends him and affirms that this is the answer, the man asks Jesus to define what He means by “neighbor.”
Wow, what a human response: “Yeah, Jesus. I know what scripture says, but when you say ‘neighbor’ how broad of a term is that? Because there are some people that I want to exclude from that ‘neighbor’ umbrella.”
From there, Jesus launches into the Parable of the Good Samaritan, a story where a Jew meets some robbers on the road from Jerusalem. The robbers beat him, strip him, and leave him for dead on the side of the road. By chance, a priest sees him while walking down the road, but passes him by without offering help. In the same way, a Levite– someone who comes from a group of people that assist priests in worship and are known for their holiness– passes the man by as well. But then, a Samaritan passes this man on the road and takes compassion on him. He picks him up, bandages his wounds, and brings him to an inn for shelter, paying the fee for his stay.
So who’s the neighbor? The one who showed the Jew mercy. For context, you should know, Jews and Samaritans were like oil and water. They did not mix. For a Jew in that day, associating with a Samaritan was basically a sin, and vice versa. But this Samaritan, a person that shares no similarities or cultural association with this man beaten and left for dead, was the one to reach out his hand and help a Jew that had been passed on and disregarded by two high-ranking, supposedly holy people in his own community.
What am I saying? Yes, I am white. I have privileges that I will probably never even realize because my ethnicities are covered by a certain skin color. I am also a Christian. I pray that the love of God would turn our country to repentance and that His blood would clean up the corruption and brokenness we all see. But if I am like the priest or the Levite– if I decide that my prayers are enough and continue to walk by, then I will never emanate Jesus to a whole race and community of people who feel beaten, stripped, and left for dead simply for the way they look.
Jesus prayed. But he also acted. He also stood up and defended the broken. He sailed across seas to touch people that were considered “untouchable” because Jewish law stated they were unclean. He intervened and stopped public stonings. He loved every single person He met with fierce kindness and mercy.
Friends, God is not a racist. Black lives DO matter to Him. He is also not colorblind. If He were, He wouldn’t have devised a creation full of color. God delights in black skin, white skin, and every shade of brown in between
So what should our response be to this crazy, tumultuous, hurting world? It should be prayer and action. If you’re a gifted speaker, speak out and offer your support in comfort to those in fear and wisdom to the confused. If you’re a prayer warrior, join a march, lend your voice, and prayer-walk your whole city. If you’re an exceptional listener, then offer your ear and empathy. Whatever you do, always be Jesus. The more Jesus we can lend this world, and those that are oppressed, is the more light we can offer to a dark world. God might not call out racists in the Bible, but he’s very clear in His commands that we are supposed to be His hand extended to all people, all nations.
To my friends in the Black community, I am so sorry for your heartache. I mourn with you, and please know, Jesus feels the loss, too. I may not understand your experience, but I will stand with you in your pain, as a listening ear, a hand to hold, and a shield to stand behind.
Dear Lord, I ask that you would impart your wisdom to each and every person reading my words today. I ask that for those struggling in fear, grief, or fury, that you would comfort and give peace and strength to power through today. For those who are uncertain of what to say or how to lend themselves to a cause that seems so deep and wide, I ask that you would give them the wisdom of how you would respond. I come against the Spirit of Disunity that comes against this nation in the name of Jesus and I ask that you would show us by your Holy Spirit to see each other with the love that you see our neighbors with. Lord, we so need more of you today. We thank you for always pouring yourself out just in time, but we are a broken nation and we need a touch of you today. We love you, In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen