It was a smaller demonstration than the ones we had seen on the news this week. It was a peaceful gathering held in Calgary, in response to the brutal death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. There were signs held up, tears, silence, people taking a knee, prayers lifted for the family of Mr. Floyd, and calls to end the violence against people of colour. One sign that particularly caught my eye read: “What would Jesus say about Racism?”
Since Jesus did not speak directly to the subject of racism, I can only speculate how He might react to this week’s events, and these verses come the closest to answering that question.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
According to Webster’s online dictionary, racism is defined as “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.” Based on that definition alone, Jesus would be in complete opposition to racism because He does not look at the outward appearance of someone; He looks at their heart.
1 Samuel 16:7 “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
I read a particularly good quote by Darrell Bernard Harrison, Dean at Grace to You and lead host of the “Just Thinking” podcast. “Many people, he said, “say they want to “end” racism. I understand what they mean by that, but “racism” isn’t like a carton of milk with an expiration date. Biblically, ethnic prejudice (“racism”) is not an “ism”, it is hate—period (1 John 2:9-11; 3:15) —and the only way to “end” hatred is by repenting of that sin and believing the gospel of Jesus Christ (1 John 4:9-11).”
Jesus is “colour” blind. It does not matter to our Lord whether a person is black, white, yellow, red, or a combination of those skin-colour pigments. He made man in His own image, perfectly and wonderfully made, in every size, colour, race, and ability. Jesus loves ALL people equally. Jesus does not look at the outward appearance of a person, but He looks at the heart, and this is what he sees:
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. (Jeremiah 17:9-10)
A good man stores good things in his heart, but an evil man stores up evil in his heart. And the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. (Luke 6:45)
It is from within a person’s heart that evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly come. (Mark 7:21-23)
“As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.” (Proverbs 27:19)
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” So, God looks from heaven to see if there are any who seek God. (Psalm 14:1)
“A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart.” (Proverbs 21:2)
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)
People justify themselves by what others think of them, but what people value highly is detestable to God. God knows their hearts. (Luke 16:15)
“The Lord detests those whose hearts are perverse, but he delights in those whose ways are blameless.” (Proverbs 11:20)
The hearts of people are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts. (Ecclesiastes 9:3)
Does this shock you? It should. The sad fact is that humanity’s overall heart condition is deplorable. What we say and do reflects our heart condition. We cannot hide our true nature from God. The heart gives us away. For the most part, we follow our hearts, and it is our own undoing. Unless we allow Jesus into our hearts to change us from the inside out, we are doomed. He is the only One Who can set our hearts right.
Racism is a heart issue not a race issue. Let’s face it, to be racist and full of hate is to sin. The only way to end racism and hatred for good is to repent of that sin. Jesus is the only One Who saves us from our sins, so we must put all our faith and trust in Him! Racism will only be defeated if we follow the teachings of Jesus, and we begin to love others as we love ourselves. My dream is that one day we can all live in peace and unity as brothers and sisters in Christ!
“He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith.” (Acts 15:9)