3 Biblical Reasons Racism Is Sinful And Silly
The Bible speaks clearly against racial discrimination.
Racism was only a small, subtle problem where I was raised. I grew up in the all-white, middle-class town of Reynoldsburg, Ohio. Everyone was Caucasian: everyone in our schools, our neighborhood, our stores and our church. Finally in high school, about five African-Americans were “bussed” in from nearby Whitehall, apparently to add variety to the racial scene.
Thus, there was not much racial tension—there was no one to be tense with! But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t hear some racial slurs and learn some subtle racism. I’m ashamed of that now.
After high school, I attended Moody Bible Institute in downtown Chicago. There the racial situation was quite different. I was given a Practical Christian Work assignment in a high-rise tenement building on the south side of Chicago. We went to the home of a dear elderly African-American woman who invited in the children nearby for our little Bible class.
I began to realize that racism is sinful and silly.
Still, I didn’t have opportunity for a lot of interracial interaction. But after becoming a full-time missionary in 1998, I’ve been blessed to work in 60 countries on every inhabited continent of the world. I’ve met and ministered with believers from many nations and races.
Often the Christian passion, zeal and sacrifice of all the other ethnicities have impressed me deeply. They usually have less money, education, opportunity and freedom. Yet their commitment to Christ is immense. When I travel I often think of the words of Jesus, “So the last will be first, and the first last.” (Matthew 20:16 ESV)
I’ve come to realize that for a Christian, any racism is wrong.
Here are 3 biblical reasons racism is sinful and silly:
1. God’s love does not discriminate racially.
The Bible is explicitly clear that God loves everyone, from every ethnicity, race and skin color. The most famous verse in the Bible says, “For God so loved the world….” (John 3:16) The “world” means the entire world, every person. Salvation is available for the entire world—all who will receive it! To learn how to receive salvation please click HERE.
Not to love those whom God loves is downright sinful and silly.
Those who receive Jesus will live together in the same neighborhood (heaven) for all eternity. The Apostle John had a vision of this great neighborhood and recorded it in Revelation 7:
“After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands.” (Revelation 7:9 NLT)
Note that the vast crowd is from “every nation and tribe and people and language.” No one is left out, no one is discriminated against.
Other verses also make God’s nondiscrimination policy clear:
“Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear Him and do what is right.'” (Acts 10:34, 35 NIV)
“Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people.” (Revelation 14:6 NIV)
“And [God] has made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth.”(Acts 17:26 KJV)
God said to Abraham, “And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed….” (Genesis 22:18a NLT)
It could hardly be more well-defined. God’s love doesn’t discriminate racially! For Christians to discriminate in the face of this clear teaching is not smart.
2. How we treat others is how we treat Jesus.
Matthew 25 has some clear and gripping teaching from Jesus. He describes those who will go away to “eternal punishment” and others who will go to “eternal life.” The difference is what is done for the less fortunate: feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, helping the sick, etc.
Jesus equates the less fortunate to Himself, saying: “I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.” (Matthew 25:45 NLT)
Two important points about this passage:
1. Jesus wasn’t saying that we earn our eternal salvation by doing good works for others (see Ephesians 2:8-9).
2. Jesus was saying that loving others is loving Him and mistreating others means mistreating Him.
It doesn’t matter who the less fortunate are—even if they are “the least.” To mistreat another, or to despise another, is to despise or mistreat Jesus.
How we treat others is how we treat Jesus:
To discriminate unjustly against others is to discriminate against Jesus.
To slur others is to slur Jesus.
To despise others is to despise Jesus.
To enslave others is to enslave Jesus.
To abuse others is to abuse Jesus.
When we realize that racism against others is racism against Jesus, we know how sinful and dumb it is.
3. True Christians live by “The Golden Rule.”
Jesus gave His summary of the entire Old Covenant when He taught, “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.”(Matthew 7:12 NLT)
This principle is often called “The Golden Rule.” If practiced universally, it would eliminate all racism.
A great article titled “What is the Golden Rule” explains that this teaching is unique to the Bible. Other Eastern religions have similar teachings, but they are negative: Don’t do anything to others that you wouldn’t want them to do to you. This is sometimes called “The Silver Rule.”
But biblical teaching is positive and proactive: do to others as you would have them do to you. Based on Leviticus 19:18, it also predates the teachings of the Silver Rule by about 1,000 years!
We should ask, if I was born in that person’s skin, how would I want to be treated? Then we’re to treat the other person in that way.
Doing this eliminates all possibility of racism, prejudice and discrimination.
Living this way is not optional for Christians. In fact, it is the mark of true Christians: “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:35 NLT)
Conversely, not loving others is a mark of not being a true Christian: “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” (1 John 4:20 ESV)
In conclusion, we understand that there is absolutely no biblical justification for racism. In fact, just the opposite, racism is entirely contrary to the Bible’s principles. It’s sinful and silly. Anyone who claims to be a Christian but practices racism might be proving that they’re indeed not a true Christian.
An ironic footnote: If you look at the Reynoldsburg Wikipedia page, it lists four Notable people from our little town. Of the four, only one is Caucasian. A lot has changed since I grew up in all-white Reynoldburg!
Additional resources about related subjects on this site:
Podcast: Does salvation come only through faith in Christ? (exclusivism)
Video vlog: Have You Been Pecked At?
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