From Hate to Racism to Division in America

posted by Rusty Guenther

“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourself in Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26-28  This week it seems we are being bombarded with news of racial strife, hate filled language and ugly scenes of those trying to incite riots. The internet and news shows are overflowing with talking heads, pointing fingers and opinions as they try to place blame and fault. It is easy to blame the so called Neo Nazi’s with their torches, Nazi and racist banners and hate language; without them their would not have been a march in the first place. But where did they come from? It would be easy to dismiss them as generational racist whose hate speech has been passed down through their families and cultures but there are over 350 groups in the Unite States identified as Hate Groups, and the objects of their “hate” is too numerous to list. The Bible is clear that every person on this earth is created in the image of God; regardless of skin color, background, nationality, education or economics and to separate someone out and judge or condemn them because of one of these factors is not only against God’s wishes and desires—it is unbiblical! It is not enough to label someone as a racist, or call a group a hate group, or to even counter protest. We must address it at its roots; and the root of all of this hate is prejudice. Prejudice simply means to “pre-judge”, to allow our preconceptions and stereotypes to cause us to look at someone through a certain lens. We all struggle with it in some form or fashion; we judge people by the way they dress, their skin color, the way they talk, their education, where they are from and we allow these generalizations to influence how we think about them or the group they are with and over time these “prejudicial impressions” become a part of our thinking. Sadly, even in humor, the way we joke or talk about these stereotypes passes on a prejudicial mindset to our children and perpetuates the problem. This cannot be for someone who claims to be a Christ follower. We are commanded to love our neighbor; in mind and action and that starts by “seeing” every person we come in contact with as a child of God and created in His image— including those on both sides of the conflicts this past week. We need to stop focusing on how we are different, and celebrate how we are similar as children of God. Perfect love will always drive out and defeat hate but that kind of love can only come from a humble heart striving to rid itself of any “prejudice”; seen or unseen. “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness” 1st John 2:9