What does the Scripture say about racism, prejudice, and discrimination?

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The innocence of a child who knows only of LOVE.

Introduction

As one who lives in a predominantly secular humanistic society, there remains much confusion and conflict over racism, prejudice, and discrimination. It seems that the more Canadian society tries to find answers and/or solutions to the aforementioned, the more our society contributes to the problem rather than eradicates it.

As a follower of Christ, I look to our Creator and the Scripture for answers to age-old problems termed “hatred” in modern society.

What do Caucasians, Africans, Asians, Indians, Arabs, and Jews have in common? They are all part of the human race. They are not different races but rather different ethnicities. This is a very important distinction to make when it comes to any discussion of race and racism.

As members of the human race we all have similar physical characteristics with minor variations amongst ethnicities – we are much more alike than we are different.  We have also been created in the moral image and likeness of God.

Then God said,

“Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26-27 NIV

God loved the world so much that He sacrificed His only son. The “world” unmistakably includes all people in all ethnic groups.

For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NLT

It is equally important to understand that God does not show partiality or favouritism.

For the LORD your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords. He is the great God, the mighty and awesome God, who shows no partiality and cannot be bribed. Deuteronomy 10:17 NLT

Then Peter began to speak:

“I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism.”  Acts 10:34 NIV

 For God does not show favouritism. Romans 2:11 NLT

Masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Don’t threaten them; remember, you both have the same Master in heaven, and he has no favourites. Ephesians 6:9 NLT

In the book of James, we are taught that those who discriminate are judges with evil thoughts.

Have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 

James 2:4 NIV

By contrast, we are encouraged to love our neighbours, including those who are of a different ethnicity than our own.

Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” James 2:8 NLT

In the Old Testament, God divided humanity into two distinct groups: Jews and Gentiles. God’s plan was for the Jewish people to be a kingdom of priests, selflessly ministering to the Gentile nations. Instead, the Jewish people became proud of their station in life and began to disdain and demonstrate hostility towards the Gentiles.

Jesus Christ put an end to scorn and derision, literally destroying the dividing wall of hostility. All forms of ethnic prejudice, and discrimination are an offence to the work of Christ on the cross.

For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.

Ephesians 2:14 NLT

The answer to racism, (i.e. ethnic prejudice and discrimination), is to LOVE one another and FORGIVE one another.

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. John 13:34 NLT

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 NIV

I cannot emphasize these two principles of love and forgiveness enough. If God is non-discrimatory and loves us with impartiality, then we need to love others with that same excellence. If we treat a person with contempt, we are mistreating someone who was created in God’s image. We are literally causing pain towards a person whom God loves dearly and for whom Jesus Christ gave His life for.

We need to be reminded once more:

There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28 NLT

We need to repent:

Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Romans 6:13 NLT

We need to forgive:

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13 NIV

Conclusion

It is my hope that you have come to a better understanding of what the Bible teaches about  favouritism, prejudice, and discrimination. The answer to true world peace, a planet without hatred and war is right there before us. As human beings we are exhorted to love, accept, and forgive no matter the cost to us as individuals and/or even entire societies. That’s why Jesus died and was resurrected from the dead.

By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.

1 Corinthians 15: 2-4 Berean Study Bible

So where does one begin?  The eradication of “hatred” is accomplished one person at a time. The person to begin with is the person staring back at us in the mirror.

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