No one can deny that problems exist between people of different races. Historically, majority groups have abused and mistreated those in the minority. What does the Bible say about this?
For example, what about the nature of man: is one race created superior to others? Genesis 1:27 tells us that the first man and woman were created in God's image. Since all people today are descended from Adam, it follows that all men are equally in God's image, regardless of the color of their skin.
What about our deeds of kindness: should we prefer to help people of our own race? Jesus answered this in Luke 10:25-37. He taught each person to love his neighbor as himself. When asked who our neighbor is, He told a story about a Samaritan who helped a needy Jew. Now Jews and Samaritans were different nationalities and commonly mistreated one another like different races often do today. But Jesus taught that any human being is our neighbor; and if he needs our help, we should help him. This does not teach, however, that we should show favoritism to minority groups any more than it teaches us to show favoritism to majority groups. To treat any person unfairly because of his race is to fail to "love your neighbor as yourself" (see also James 2:1-13).
What about in the church: should we worship with and attempt to save just people of one race? Acts 10 tells about the apostle Peter who, because he was a Jew, thought salvation was only for Jews, not for Gentiles. He learned that "God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by him" - Acts 10:34.35. In fact, this is the real solution to racial strife. Only the gospel of Jesus can change men's hearts so all can be truly one in Christ (Galatians 3:28).
(c) Copyright David E. Pratte, 1/2008
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