Let me say it outright: Racism, the idea of supremacy of one race over another (or all others), has no place whatsoever in Christ. Yet, sadly, many who do embrace such racial supremacy—especially of the white supremacy variety—do so with the twisted notion that it is in keeping with Christianity.
Last week, I preached on Genesis 12 and Romans 12, with the hymn Make Me a Blessing as inspiration for my reflections. But, at that time, I was not aware of the unfettered racism that was expressed in Virginia. Many of us had just come from a church family camp, where internet access was spotty. So, come Sunday morning I was oblivious to the tragic events that transpired just days before. As I look back, I realize how my sermon could have addressed the issues of that weekend.
My current concern is not so much about trying to place blame on whatever party “started” the violence, but about the mindset that promotes racial supremacy as a valid Christian posture. I agree with Russell Moore (president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention) when he asserts: “White supremacy is Satanism. Even worse, white supremacy is a devil-worship that often pretends that it is speaking for God.”
My sermon highlighted the truth that God’s people are blessed to bless. Embedded in the DNA of God’s people is the character to be a blessing to others. God’s blessing was never meant to be an exclusive benefit. “I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you … and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12.2–3 NIV). Note that the Lord says “all peoples.” No exclusion here.
The New Testament affirms the same when, concerning the new humanity in Christ, Paul declares: “Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all” (Colossians 3.11 NIV). Romans 12 describes right relations in Christ that has no place for a supremacist mindset, “showing eagerness in honoring one another” (Romans 12.10 NET; see also Philippians 2.3-5).
Word of warning: Racism comes in other forms too, not just white supremacy. We all need to stay vigilant. Followers of Christ have received abundant blessings in Christ, and the Lord intends that we pass on these blessings to “all peoples.” The hymn instructs us: Carry the sunshine where darkness is rife. Perhaps it should start in our own hearts. Then that light may shine through us as we become the answer to the prayer that the hymn expresses: Make me a blessing to someone today.
—Keith Y. Jainga