“Is not this the fast that I have chosen?…that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?” (Isaiah 58:6-7, KJV)
The sad recent events in the United States regarding names like George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor have taken the world by a storm. They have acted as tipping points on issues concerning racism and injustice, with roots that extend deeper and further than what recent news and social media headlines might suggest.
Racism exists because the world has not accepted the gospel of Jesus. The book of Genesis teaches that there is only one race—the human race. Regardless of ethnicity, racism is equivalent to hating our own relatives. It is essentially hating ourselves. The gospel confronts the entire human race over its prejudice. Racism and prejudice are manifestations of hatred fueled by human arrogance.
It is important to note that the gospel of Christ is ultimately the only solution because it is the only force strong enough to transform the human heart. Jesus speaks of the gospel as seed that changes the heart of an individual. When we accept this seed, we become a new creation and citizens of heaven. We become children of God. The gospel can do miraculous things within our hearts because with heart transformation, unity replaces division, love replaces selfishness, and kindness replaces hate.
In the near future, Millennials and Gen-Z will make up nearly 60% of the global workforce. We as young people in God’s church have a powerful and large part to play in confronting the world with the gospel, which alone can break the bonds of racism and injustice within our generation.
So, what are some things that Christians can do?
Many of us are unaware of the dynamics that surround the lives of marginalized communities in our world. May this be an opportunity to educate ourselves in relation to the history, even the recent history of hate and injustice that have been ongoing since the fall of humanity.
Listen to friends, acquaintances, and even strangers about their perspectives. Seek to understand where they’re coming from.
“The golden rule is the principle of true courtesy with its truest illustration seen in the life of Christ. In associating with others, we should aim to put ourselves in their place. We should enter into their feelings, difficulties, disappointments, joys, and sorrows. We should identify with them. Then we should do to them as we would have them do to us if the roles were exchanged” (Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 134-135).
Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” The best way to champion justice is to champion truth, and Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). Take time to intercede and to pray on behalf of those suffering from injustice in the world, because it is that prayer moves the arm of God to do something. But in your prayers, also ask what He would have you do. Develop a personal biblical plan on how you can be a peacemaker on a daily basis and not just when the media highlights injustice.
“Christ tears away the wall of partition, the dividing prejudice of nationality, and teaches a love for all the human family. He lifts men from the narrow circle which their selfishness prescribes; He abolishes all territorial lines and artificial distinctions of society. He makes no difference between neighbors and strangers, friends and enemies. He teaches us to look upon every needy soul as our brother, and the world as our field” (Desire of Ages, 823).
As we prepare to be face-to-face with God as one heavenly family, let us not hide from, but turn to, and embrace all those who are oppressed and suffering in our communities. Let us take part in the true fast of Isaiah 58 and not remain absent from members of our own family, our own flesh. Especially when they need us most.