Definition that will be helpful as you read:  Racism is racial prejudice with a heart full of malice.

One of the most important things that has happened in this election is the acknowledgement of the progress that has been made in the area of race.  Now this does not mean racism is no longer a problem.  I believe that many, many votes on both sides were cast with race being the primary consideration.  A multitude of times every day race still plays a factor in actions, attitudes, and words.  I wish it was something that would just completely be a non-issue, but because of humans’ sin nature, I do not believe it is something we collectively will get over until the return of Jesus.  However, we can give thanks as great progress has been made!

Though many are not racists everyone on our planet carries racial prejudice with them like an old, dirty, t-shirt that was meant to be thrown away a hundred times but still keeps getting worn – often hidden under a shirt that is nicer to look at.  It is important to understand in your own heart how much racial prejudice you have and what you are attempting to do about it.  One of the things I am most proud about my grandfather (a hard working southern dairy farmer now passed) is how he knew the culture he grew up in was wrong, he knew his own tendencies toward racial prejudice, and he allowed the Holy Spirit to work in his heart.

I’m sure all of us have experienced racial prejudice to one degree or another.  We usually take great note of the unfavorable kind, and normally don’t even realize the favorable kind is even occuring.  If I am on the basketball court and feel that I am not given a fair opportunity because I am white, I get ticked off.  When I get pulled over and a white cop gives me a warning, I rarely think, “I wonder if he only gave me a warning because I am white?  What if I was black?  Would I have gotten a ticket then?”  No, I just take a deep breath and go.

I think people often miss the element of anti-racism/anti-prejudice teaching as they read the Scriptures.  The Good Samaritan, the woman at the well, and the need to care for widows in Acts chapter six are all examples.  If you are aware of this when you read, I am confident you will find many other instances.  May we seek to do with away with any sin of racism and racial prejudice and seek to have the heart of God on the subject.  “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (I Samuel 16:7b).  Do I even need to mention, “Love your neighbor as yourself?”  Racism and racial prejudice just are not compatible with being a follower of Jesus.

We should be very thankful for the work of William Wilberforce, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., and many others who lined up with the heart of God on this issue. They all were sinners and had their shortcomings, but in this area they each had an important role to play.  Thank God they pressed on in the face of extreme odds and opposition.  May that be a lesson to us in this and in every area of social justice, to keep pressing forward.

A prayer:  “Dear Father in Heaven,  I thank you for your love for all the people groups.  I thank you that your Son Jesus died for each one.  Help me to see as you see and to have the heart that you have for all people.  Help me not to judge a man or a woman by the color of their skin, but rather to have discernment as to their relationship with You.  Whether the person needs the Gospel of Jesus, prayer, or love and fellowship, help me to see it that I may act and speak according to their need.  Lord please protect those who would be subject to racial violence today.  Lord please help your people to have the right heart and to love and to act in love.  In Jesus Name! Amen!”

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