“Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.”
Racism is a disgusting evil that has plagued humanity for almost all of human history. It's wrong! Christians who think otherwise are wrong and Christians in history who were racist were wrong. Still, the banter on social media has been disturbing. Everyone wants to point a finger. It's Trump's fault, it's the left's fault, it's the right's fault... The truth is racism is a symptom of a far greater problem that cannot be solved by a different government, or a different president. Let's think about this historically to get some perspective.
The Egyptians enslaved the Israelites for 400 years and used them to fill the jobs that no one else wanted to do. They were ridiculed, beaten, and killed for the sake of the slave masters economic benefit. One kingdom beating another in war has often been the means by which one ethnic group enslaved another. The thought has been that the group that won was superior or their gods were superior. Whether it was the Egyptians, the Babylonians, or a host of other groups it was racism.
Of course it isn't just ancient history, the Jews have been the target of anti-semites for thousands of years. African tribes were enslaved by other African tribes and sold into slavery by white men who thought themselves superior for many centuries. Hitler sought to help evolution along by killing millions of Jews, the founder of Planned Parenthood (Margaret Sanger) was an open racist and her racism has played a significant role in the mission of PP. Racism was prevalent at the founding of the United States and the horrifying SCOTUS ruling of the Dred Scott case in 1857 held up racism and slavery as an acceptable practice.
Just a short 50 years ago we saw terrible racism in the 1960's. Ever since four black students refused to leave an all white lunch counter in North Carolina there has been a battle over civil rights. Of course you can't mention civil rights and racism without mentioning the great Martin Luther King Jr. who was assassinated for his fight against racism on April 4, 1968. That was only 49 years ago.
What happened in Charlottesville yesterday may very well live in infamy for some time. Why does this keep happening? That answer is so simple people don't want to recognize it. The answer is sin and a fallen world. That doesn't mean we should just give in and let it happen. It does mean we should realize the fight can only be won with one tool. The last president probably did as much to contribute to the race problem as the current one. Government cant pass enough bills to extinguish racism from humanity, it isn't the kind of thing a law can change. Sin is always a heart issues and racism is more of a heart issue than most sins.
There is a solution to racism, but there is only one solution. What is it? It, like the problem itself, is simple. So simple most people don't want to accept it as the solution. It's the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the Holy Spirit getting a hold of a person's heart and changing it to align with the heart of God. Until people accept and submit to the truth of a God who created all people in the image of God there will be hate, beliefs of superiority, and destruction in this world.
So, what should be the Christian Response to Charlottesville? Prayer? Yes, pray, hit your knees and cry out to God. Cry out to God for mercy, for judgment, for love. But that isn't it, there must be more. Denounce such hatred and violence? Yes, denounce the white supremacists, denounce the violence, denounce racism in all its forms wherever it rears its abhorrent head. That's not it either, there must still be more.
Whatever else we do, we must do this one thing. We must use our feet. Isaiah 52:7 says, "How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news,who proclaim peace,who bring good tidings,who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, 'Your God reigns!'" Later in romans 10:14-15 Paul writes, "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'"
That's the answer, the church/Christians must use their feet they must boldly and unapologetically bring the good news of the gospel to the world, to their work place, to their kids baseball team, into the schools, and in to the streets wherever those streets lead. There is not time to waist. Live today like Jesus is coming tomorrow!
John Byrne is a pastor who has been spouting off his opinions his entire life (just ask his mom). This little blog is his venue for continuing in this tradition.