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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, June 11 2020

How do I overcome racist thoughts and feelings?

Treating a person with contempt because of their race or any other reason is to hate another person made in the image of God. Overcoming racist attitudes involves honest self-examination and a determination to see others as God sees them.

Racism is one of the most hotly debated and discussed topics of the past several years, with the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, consistent news coverage and analysis, college classes focused entirely on the topic and large-scale societal discussions of repatriation, restitution and equity.

While there have been a lot of discussion revolving around this topic, a definition of what constitutes racism has proven difficult to nail down. In its simplest form, when a person looks at individuals of another race or culture as inferior to themselves in some way based purely on the colour of their skin and not the content of their character, then by definition that person has exhibited racist thoughts and feelings.

Overcoming racist thoughts and feelings requires a change of mind and seeing all people as God sees them—as made in His image, with the same glorious future potential to be in His eternal family.

The apostle Paul makes the point that when it comes to spiritual inheritance, gender, social class and race make no difference. God sees all of his creation as potential children in His family. If a person is baptised in Christ and receives God’s Holy Spirit through the process we see outlined in scripture, and if that individual yields themselves to God’s Holy Spirit, allowing it to lead them, then they are heirs of the promise, the very children of God (Galatians 3:28, Romans 8:14).

It doesn’t matter if they are black or white. It doesn’t matter if they are poor or well-off, it doesn’t matter if they are male or female. The presence of God’s Holy Spirit within them unifies them as one body in Christ Jesus (Romans 12).

As a result of this—when we pass judgment on someone else because of the colour of their skin, we exhibit partiality, which is sin (James 2:9). We must repent of that sin and bring ourselves in line with God’s own viewpoint on the topic of race outlined in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Repentance comes from the Greek word, metanoeó, meaning "to change one’s mind". As Christians we are all striving to change our minds and put on the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). We must pray to God and ask for repentance from a great number of things, but if we are specifically struggling with racist thoughts and feelings, praying to God earnestly to change our mind and help us to see the potential in all of mankind is essential.

Our great God is not a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34-35). He shows no partiality, calling people of every race and land (Acts 17:26-27). We must repent and believe in the Gospel of the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:15) and work to bring every thought into captivity (2 Corinthians 10:5) as we mature to the full measure of the stature of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:13).