Over the past week, numerous posts, op-eds and personal opinions regarding race and religion have flooded our social media. Let’s quickly walk through how a Christian should respond to current events.
First, let’s address unwise responses.
- Emotional laced responses written in the heat of the moment usually lack Biblical wisdom, which is essential for Biblical responses.
- Opportunistic responses used to gender up popular support of one’s position or used to exalt one’s persona are also minimally unwise, for they will inevitably fail to represent others fairly (which is sin).
Both of these types of responses make it difficult to properly view the issues and thus properly communicate the issues. Further, both of these responses usually harm the situation far more than help. Moreover, there is a temptation, in responses like these, to manipulate Scripture to say something it doesn’t or to misuse and abuse a text that has nothing to do with the topic at hand.
All of us have seen such responses from otherwise very intelligent God-fearing people. It is a lesson from which we should learn. Pride, compromise for popularity, and misrepresentation (especially of Scripture) are all wrong and cannot be blessed by God.
This does not mean people will not gain popularity for their one-sided responses. Being politically correct is one of the quickest ways to gain a hearing. But I have always been concerned when the lost world loves what I have to say. I am not so delusional as to think something I have to say would ever be picked up by New York Times or MSNBC. But if it were, I would surely do some introspection as to why.
Now, let’s address wise responses and then apply them to the latest events.
- Allowing Scripture and logic to supersede emotions is wise.
- Doing one’s best to place oneself as an advocate for both sides of a topic is wise. This helps one’s response not to be one-sided, and unnecessarily offend lost people with whom one disagrees.I fear, I have seen this way too often from Christian leaders who in their desire not to offend lost people on one side of an issue, end up misrepresenting and offending lost people on the other side of the issue. When it is difficult to substantively distinguish the voices of Christian leaders from the voice of the liberal media, I feel I am reading Jeremiah’s concern about false prophets. There is a reason the false prophets were popular, and Jeremiah was not.
- Keeping in mind the context of Scripture, when using it to address a current topic, is wise, and prevents the misuse of Scripture, which, however, well-meaning one is, is just as wrong for the conservative as it is for liberals.
Now to the topic of Race. Racism is sin, no matter what form it takes. True Christians do not need a Facebook post to know Racism is sin. If you are saved and don’t know it is sin, then I would question your salvation.
When a “Christian” is racist then the Holy Spirit is either non-existent in his life (i.e. he is not saved) or he is convicted and will repent. Nothing else needs to be said about this. Racism is SIN, NO MATTER what form it takes.
How would I apply this to Charlottesville? Here is what I would say: Racism is sin, no matter what form it takes. To begin pointing fingers at certain individuals or groups avoids the universal application of the sin of racism. If you are racist, you are in sin. Period.
With regard to the removal of Confederate statues. It is wise to recognize there are some individuals who are honestly hurt when they see such statues, and they truly believe the statues are symbols of hate. There are other individuals who see such statues as historical and even reminders of states’ rights. A wise response would be to recognize both perspectives.
There were plenty in the South who fought for the sin of slavery and plenty in the North who fought to “take over” the South (both apparently wrong). Furthermore, there were plenty in the North who fought for freeing slaves and plenty in the South who fought for states rights (both apparently right). One only be reminded that the general of the northern Army owned slaves, while the general of the southern Army released the slaves he inherited from his father-in-law.
I no more desire to “Saint” Lee and disparage “Grant” than to disparage Lee and Saint Grant. I only desire to remind us that this discussion cannot be dealt with through simple ignorant generalizations. Further, even if one were to demonize Lee effectively, does that necessitate the sanitization of history?
And yet, it would be unwise to ignore the pain of individuals who see these statues as symbols of hate. It might be best for Christians to refrain from taking a position on this topic unless they have the wisdom and medium to address both sides adequately.
Personally, if I were in control of what would happen to these statues, I would not remove them (education is more important than sanitizing, or rewriting, history), but I would certainly erect a much larger statue with the words “Emancipation Proclamation” inscribed on it, and perhaps even a quote from Scripture like Galatians 3:28☺
I have found it interesting that some Christians have been quick to write on the death of one person as a result of racism, but have not so quickly or passionately written on the 14 who died as a result of Islam. To attack the sin of white supremacy is in vogue today, but to address the sins of Islam is taboo. And sadly, it appears Christian leaders have taken the bait.
I shall not take such bait. Racism is wrong, and hatred (even bred by religion) is wrong! Again, there are two sides.
Many Muslims really are peaceful individuals who are embarrassed by the “extremists.” But to ignore the violent teachings of the Koran in order to “sanitize” Islam is wrong. The teachings of the Koran, without question, inspire the violence seen in the extremism of Islam. However, it appears, at least in the States, this violence is practiced by the fringe of Islam.
So, how are we to respond to the murders in Spain? Hate is wrong, no matter what form it takes. Period. Just as Racism is wrong, so too is hate!
With regard to Islam, one must admit it is a violent religion inspired by violent texts in the Koran. But one must also admit most Muslims are peaceful family members who are embarrassed by the extremists.
The concern for lost people should be more holistic than most of the articles posted lately by Christians. We can’t just be concerned for lost people hurt by the wretched sin of racism; we must also be concerned for the lost racists (as unpopular as that might be) and try not to unnecessarily offend them by misrepresenting their position.
Calling racism sin is wise; misrepresenting it is unwise.
Further, we can’t just be concerned about the salvation of Muslims; we must also be concerned about the salvation of those hurt/scared by Islam and thus call the hatred taught by this religion sin (no matter how unpopular that might be).
Calling hatred sin is wise; misrepresenting Islam (sanitizing it, or demonizing it) is unwise.
May we be WISE.