The “Brave New World” of the 21st Century requires a “Brave New Discipleship” strategy.

Four Reasons Why Christians Should Not Discriminate

Posted on: July 12, 2016



As our nation reels from accumulating racial conflict, punctuated by the tragedy in Dallas last week, I found myself pondering the issue of racial discrimination and how Christians can respond. It is a complex issue made even more complex by history and politics. As a result, we cannot plumb the depths or come to final answers in a brief blog. Nevertheless, we can start by being clear on reasons why Christians should not discriminate.

  1. We have all been created in the image of God. (Genesis 1:27)

Since we are all created in the image of God that means that every human being has inherent and infinite worth. It also means that no one human being is worth any more than another human being. This remarkable truth elevates us all without inflating us, and humbles us all without debasing us.

  1. The Bible declares that we are all equal. (Galatians 3:28)

In God’s eyes, there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female… and by implication, neither one color or another. All humans are equal in God’s eyes. Because all humans are equal in God’s eyes, all humans should be equal in the eyes of Christians. None of us chooses which race he/she is born into.  By what rational reason should we needlessly suffer for a choice none of us makes?

  1. Jesus said, “Do unto to others as you would have others do unto you.” (Luke 6:31)

If we would not want others to discriminate against us, then we ought not to discriminate against others. This is the golden rule applied to the subject of race. It is the biblical principle Abraham Lincoln was drawing on when he said, “As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master.” Each Christian is obligated to walk in the shoes of others, and treat them the way they would want to be treated if the shoes were reversed.

  1. God intends for us to experience unity in the midst of diversity. (1 Corinthians 12:4-26)

God has created the universe with stupefying diversity. In the universe, in our planet, in our human body, and in the Church, God’s diversity is beyond comprehension, yet all parts are to contribute to the welfare of the whole, and the whole is to contribute to the welfare of the parts. It should be as the Three Musketeers said, “All for one and one for all.”

Just as in our eco-system we cannot violate one part without doing damage to the whole, so in humanity, we cannot violate one part without doing damage to the whole. We were created by God to need and to help each other. I have friends of other races who deeply enrich my life, and whose lives I hope I enrich. What poverty we inflict on ourselves through discrimination.

If we have been wounded by someone for any reason, including racial discrimination, our challenge is to forgive. This is easier to say for someone who has not been discriminated against than it is for someone who has. But easy or difficult, the Scripture is clear. Jesus said, “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” (Matthew 6:14-15)

This is the magnificence of what happened in South Africa when apartheid was officially disbanded. Led by the enlightened conviction of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, South African blacks chose to forgive the discrimination inflicted on them by whites rather than to reverse the discrimination, which would have led to a future of endless violence. They rightly saw that that decision was the only one that could bring about a future of promise. This collective decision by blacks in South Africa is radically under-appreciated, and is one of the great bright spots in the history of democracy.

I do not want to suggest that those who are discriminated against should lie down as doormats and passively accept it. Our political system and culture allow for ways to address discrimination, but to get off into politics and strategies takes us deeper into the subject than we can go here.

My desire in this post is simply to make the point that God, Jesus and the Bible have the answer to discrimination. It is wrong, and should not be practiced or condoned. And those who are discriminated against must forgive. The outworking of those truths can be exceedingly complex and challenging, but those are the biblical ideals toward which we all must strive.

God and the Bible cannot be marginalized in American life without its bringing calamity on our own heads. And calamities like Dallas cannot be effectively addressed without the life-changing principles of Scripture. It is no surprise for those who know the Bible to see that as our nation turns further and further away from biblical truth, we experience greater and greater problems.

As Christians, we have the biblical answer to the racial conflict in our nation, and our present opportunity is to call our nation back to God and His truth. While we cannot single-handedly solve the problem for our nation, a beginning point for each of us is that we should live the answer and proclaim the answer in our sphere of influence. We may be called to do more, but we must not do less.

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