Christians and Racism in America

Jesus told a parable about a man who was beaten and left on the side of the road to die. A priest passed by, and didn't help. Another supposed religious man, a Levite, passed by, and didn't help. 

And then, a man from a different religious and ethnic group, a Samaritan, stopped.

Jesus told this parable in response to a question from a Jewish leader. The Jews at the time hated the Samaritans. They considered them the scum of the human race, half-breeds, idolaters. 

But Jesus, in response to the question, "Who is my neighbor?," tells this story. 

Jesus, in one simple answer, reveals all kinds of hypocrisy in this religious man. He shows him the question isn't about trying to figure out who to be good to, and who not to be good to. The question is, Are you going to do good?

And in the same punch, he reveals to the leader, not only must you do good to everyone, but even those you consider scum are doing this better than you.


Christians today are often the pharisee in this encounter. We act as if we're the religious elite, but the idolatrous are beating us to love. We act as if we're good neighbors, trying to make this world better, but we're ignoring the men on the side of the road. 

Racism, as much as we hate to admit, is a problem in our country. It's not the same as it was 100 years ago. Black people aren't slaves. They aren't legally considered 3/5th of a person. 

But, they are victims of a less visible racism. They're victims of veiled prejudice held by many people in our country. 

Even me.

No, I don't hate black people. No, I don't think they are lesser humans. 

But I do have an involuntary, natural bias in my mind. I'm quicker to assume a black man is guilty than a white one. I am more likely to trust a white man than a black one. 

This racism isn't a result of making a conscious decision to hate a certain group of people. It's the result of a lack of effort to correct the latent bias. 

We're all biased. It's our natural inclination to distrust those not like us. It's going to take work to correct that bent of our minds. 

All goodness takes work. The Christian worldview says we have an inclination to all kinds of evil, racism being one of them. And it takes work, and trust in Christ, to correct those evils in our lives — to become good. 

Right now, black lives in our country are just like the man robbed and on the side of the road, left for dead. They've been beaten down, and told by countless people, even Christians, that their struggle is nonexistent. We've walked by, like the priest, in religious garb but no goodness in our hearts. 

It's time we fix this. It's been way too long. I, personally, have no idea what it feels like to be at the hands of a society rigged against me. I don't know what it feels like to be persecuted by the government I am ruled by. 

But I serve a God who does. God himself was persecuted. God himself was executed by his government. And through him we have the power to help those who need it. 

We have the power be a good neighbor. 

So put in the work to rid your life of evil. Put in the work to make racism a thing of the past. 

Be a good neighbor. Because black lives do matter. 

Hearing from God