Am I Racist?

My first memory of noticing that someone had a different skin color is so early as to make the setting vague. All I know is that my mother and I were in the back of a taxi driven by black man. Without any malice, I asked a perfectly innocent question, “Mommy, why is that man a different color?” My mother didn’t miss a beat. She said something along these lines … “Because God loves variety sweetie. He created people in all different shapes, sizes and colors, but we’re really all the same. God loves us all just the same. Everyone is special to Him. He loved you and this man so much, He sent Jesus to save you both.” You know … I never questioned my Mom’s answer. It made sense to me then and it still does. So, from the standpoint of thinking I’m a better kind of human because of my skin color … no, I don’t believe I’m a racist.

My mother’s theology was good. The Bible backs her up. Many people have argued erroneously for race inferiority from the Bible, but those arguments all do violence to the texts and ultimately fall apart. Paul speaking to a group of Athenians who believed they were the master race said , “From one man God made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.” Acts 17:26–27  Paul also confronted two ethnic groups entrenched in racial hatred for one another with these words, “God’s purpose was to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility.” Ephesians 2:15–16  My great hope as a believer in Jesus Christ is to be part of the numberless host standing in His presence. John described them as, “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language.” All people share a common paternity and therefore equality before their Creator. His loving goal of redemption and reconciliation pursues them all. Those who embrace His grace will one day stand side by side in His glorious presence. So, theologically, I am not a racist.

Space does not allow me to answer one more necessary question, so I’ll raise it but save the discussion for next week. Do I act like a racist? I’ve told you what I believe … but does my walk match my talk? Here’s where I’m starting with that question, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23–24