Holy week has arrived.
One of the great things about Holy Week is that we get to face some naked truths. Those truth can be difficult to acknowledge. At the end of day on Mondays, we are all usually tired. We are tired because we are overwhelmed by what we see everyday. We see the constant reminders on social media of people who question nationality, race, sexuality and creed. We see people who abuse their position with words that are uglier by their intention than their sound.
I’m often asked, “Why does everything boil down to race?” It seems that the issue of racism is one which intersects all aspects of our being. Issues of privilege and advantage, inclusion and exclusion impact our relationships with each other and to the goods, services and opportunities of society. Our present racial/ethnic group relationships are informed by our histories and shaped by the realities of living in a racialized society.
We see the injustice of oppression in our world every time we turn on the evening news, log on to a national news website, or open a newspaper. We live in a world full of oppression, corruption and injustice…and it makes our hearts ache for heaven.
We don’t have to take Solomon’s stand and declare death or never being born as better than seeing or experiencing oppression because we know that in time, justice is coming.
Again I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them. Ecclesiastes 4:1
The vast majority of Americans know that racism is wrong. It’s one of the few things almost everyone agrees on. We see from the rest of the New Testament that justification by faith does not eradicate our gender, our vocation, or our ethnicity, but it does relativize all these things. Our first and most important identity is not male or female, American or Russian, black or white, Spanish speaker or French speaker, rich or poor, influential or obscure, but Christian.
When we treat people unfairly, when we assume the worst about persons and peoples, when we favor one group over another, we do not reflect the God of justice nor do we honor the Christ who came to save all men.
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer. Sadly, we can hate without realizing we hate. Hatred does not always manifest itself as implacable rage, and it does not always–or, because of God’s restraining mercy, often–translate into physical murder. But hatred is murder of the heart, because hatred looks at someone else or some other group and thinks, “I wish you weren’t around. You are what’s wrong with this world, and the world would be better without people like you.” That’s hate, which sounds an awful lot like murder.
So, just in case no one has said it, racism is a sin.
Racism is a sin because it:
* denies the very source of humanity ? the image of God in humankind;
* destroys God’s likeness in every person and thus repudiates creation and its goodness;
* assumes that human beings are not equal before God and are not part of God’s family;
* is contrary to biblical teaching;
* denies basic justice and human dignity;
* is a blatant denial of the Christian faith;
* is incompatible with the Gospel;
* is a flagrant violation of human rights;
* separates us from God and from other human beings;
* makes us blind to the reality of people’s suffering and
* perpetuates racist attitudes, practices and institutional racism.
Do what ever you can this week to silence this horrible idea. Do not tolerate this in any form this week.
Do not let this be a wound that Christ takes to the cross because you didn’t do anything to stop it.