By Jennifer Heeren, Crosswalk.com
The Bible rarely mentions skin color. When it does, it’s merely a quick description. It never separates people by the color of their skin.
Even in the human DNA system that was created by God, there are 6 genes out of the 30,000 – 40,000 genes total that have anything to do with skin color. Although the skin color you’re born with is determined by those 6 genes, melanin can adapt if your physical environment changes drastically. If a light-skinned person goes to live in South America for years, their skin would at first burn but eventually, it would grow darker for protection.
Based on my reading of the Bible, I don’t think that skin color really matters to God. From one man, He made every nation of mankind to live on the earth (Acts 17:26). We are all one big human race. God created us with beautiful varying hues to show His creativity, not to separate us. However, people are from differing heritages and all of those differences should be celebrated, not used to divide us.
God created us to be individuals, not always being lumped together in groups. The most important thing is that all of mankind was made in the image of God, male and female of all skin colors. What matters is that each and every person was created in God’s own image and likeness. Due to this fact, every person deserves dignity and respect.
When considering biblical guidance, there are two important groups: believers and unbelievers. Believers walk in the light and unbelievers walk in confusion and darkness. The believers need to remember that they too were once in the dark, but now because of God’s mercy, they walk in God’s wonderful light. Therefore, we should remember to spread God’s good news of redemption whenever we can.
God may not put much emphasis on skin color but unfortunately, sometimes humans do. Sometimes we stick to our same groups. Sometimes we don’t understand people of other groups. And then there are other times where people allow the lies that they’ve been taught to drive them into hatred. Any learned lie must be pointed out, repented from, and undone by God’s Word. Love is always stronger than hate. Here's some of what the Bible has to teach us about avoiding racism:
Don’t Hate or Malign Another
The Bible never once condones racism. To the contrary, it says that anyone that hates his neighbor is in darkness and walks in darkness (1 John 2:11). It also says that anyone who is angry with his neighbor, insults them, or curses at them will be liable to judgment and even hell fire (Matthew 5:22). Who is your neighbor? Anyone other than you.
Pray for Your Enemies
When you run into a person with racist tendencies, don’t hate them either. Even when you don’t understand, you can love your enemies by praying for them. Pray that God will open their eyes to the lies they’re believing. Pray for their hatred to be replaced by compassion.
Don’t Judge by Appearance
We should never judge by appearances (John 7:24). Sometimes we do have to identify a person’s behavior because people can do rotten things. But when we do, we need to discern or admonish rightly. We can never judge anyone’s motives. Only God can do that because He can see into our hearts. We should only confront wrong or hurtful actions. Racism is wrong and hurtful because it's based on making quick judgments simply because of how a person looks.
Listen to the Victims
When people feel they’ve been discriminated against, listen to their story. Don’t tell them that it’s nothing. Sit with them. Listen to them. Grieve with them. Cry with them. And then pray for them and ask for the wisdom to relieve the situation. Help them realize that with God, they can overcome any bad situation.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Charise Wilson Photography
Always Ask God to Search Your Own Heart for Any Signs of Racism
Wrong thoughts can sneak into our minds easily—so we need to continuously search our hearts for lies we are believing. When we find those lies, we need to yank them out by the root. Someone doesn’t wake up one morning a full-blown racist. Many lies are implanted into their minds one by one over time.
We need to get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, slander, and any other evil behavior. And then replace them with kindness and forgiveness until we are soft and tenderhearted (Ephesians 4:31-32). Racists have hardened hearts. We need to run in the other direction whenever we can.
Remember Our Ultimate Enemy Is the Evil in the World
Even a person who acts like a racist isn’t the real enemy. They are simply willing pawns of the enemy. Turning people into racists is a tactic of the devil. You can’t fight it with your own reasoning. You must put on God’s armor and use His weapons.
Put on the belt of truth, the breastplate of God’s righteousness, shoes of peace, and then hold up the shield of faith to block the arrows of lies that the enemy throws. Remember that you have been redeemed by God and He is with you as you fight the enemy. Then you will be equipped to fight the lies with the truth of the Word of God (Ephesians 6:10-17). Never fight fire with fire or hate with hate.
What Really Matters
It is true that God shows no partiality for specific people groups. Everyone from every nation can come to Him in reverence. And if you do that, He won’t turn you away. All believers are one in Christ Jesus.
One day in heaven, people from every nation, all tribes, and all skin colors will gather around the throne of God. No one will be remotely worried about what anyone looks like. We will all be praising and thanking the Lamb who was and is worthy.
Jesus’ redemption on the cross is the best antidote to racism because He died for all nations in the whole world. If you believe that He died to cover your sins, you are redeemed, and therefore need to see people of all nations as the same inside.
Instead of judging your neighbor, go out and love them. Share the good news and help others become disciples in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Watch what you say.
Watch what you think.
Be a solution more often than you add to the problem.
And always remember: We all bleed the same.
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Photo Credit: ©SparrowStock
Jennifer Heeren loves to write and wants to live in such a way that people are encouraged by her writing and her attitude. She loves to write devotional articles and stories that bring people hope and encouragement. Her cup is always at least half-full, even when circumstances aren’t ideal. She regularly contributes to Crosswalk. Her debut novel is available on Amazon. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband. Visit her at her website and/or on Facebook.