This last week the country was shocked again with another mass-murder. A young white man went to a black church in Charleston-S.C., and killed 9 people, among them the pastor of the church. Besides the horrific crime, the main story is about race. The “alleged” perpetrator already confessed not only to the crime, but also his motives. His racist views were guiding him. Of course everybody is trying to express their opinion, and using this tragedy to gain media points and advance political views, not only about race, but about guns and other aspects.
This event not only reveals a sad reality, not only here in America, but in our world. We need to understand that we are all racists. Every race and ethnic group believes that they are better, superior, smarter, better looking, and stronger than everybody else. This, I believe, is a stain on our human and sinful nature. Each one of us wants to be the center of the world, and the others must bow down to us. If we could just start making a small shift in how we see race, it would produce great changes in our lives and in the world around us.
Unfortunately most of those people that have a racist view profess in one way or the other a belief in the Bible. If that is right, we should try to learn what the Bible teaches us about that. The first thing that we learn is that we all are creatures of God. This is what we learn in Genesis: “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, Gen. 1:26.” We are all created in the image and likeness of God, even though the corruption of sin damaged that. However we still have vestiges of His image and likeness in each one of us.
If we think that changed over time and some people are superior to others, the apostle Paul will correct us. Preaching to the Athenians in the Areopagus he said this: “From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. Acts 17:26.” I would like to emphasize the beginning of the verse: “From one man he made every nation of men.” It is important to understand that the Athenians believed that they sprung from the soil, and that they were indigenous and therefore different/superior to others. This helps us to understand why Paul mentioned that we all came from one. We all have the same origin and God is the One who created us all, without exception.
We can have a different skin, a different language, a different culture, but we all came from God. Because of that we should treat others, no matter how they look, in what they believe, and how they speak, with respect and love. The principle to be used in our relationships should be “love your neighbor as you love yourself. Matthew 22:39.” But unfortunately we live in a broken world, and our sinful nature frequently gets the best of us.
I know that I am not saying anything new about this tragedy, but my hope and prayer is that we can start make those small shifts and see others as created by the same God, and treat them accordingly.
Have a blessed week,