2016 has seen a great deal of violence and divisiveness over the issue of race. Just this week, four black people kidnapped and brutally beat a disadvantaged white man, while repeatedly cursing white people. They filmed their attack, terrorist-style, and published it on Facebook.
I wanted to take a moment in light of recent events to pause and reflect on what the Bible has to say about race. In the book of Galatians, Paul writes,
What this is saying is that God's love applies equally to all, regardless of ethnicity or nationality, regardless of social or economic standing, and regardless of gender. God's love is abundant for all people, and He calls on us to show that same love to one another, without prejudice of any kind. Jesus calls us to live in peace and unity.
Human skin color is primarily determined by two pigments: melanin, which gives skin a brown or black hue, and carotene, which gives skin a yellowish hue. (Hemoglobin, found in red blood cells, also contributes to skin color, giving skin its pink or reddish hue.) The varying quantities of these pigments produce all human skin tones. White people have relatively little pigment in their skin, Asians tend to have more carotene, and people of Hispanic or African descent have more melanin. The reality is that we are all members of just one race: the human race.
In truth, we are all made in the image of God. (Genesis 1:26-27) The devil hates God, and he hates us because we bear God's image. So if the devil can get us to hate one another, he in fact persuades us to do the work of Satan.
Jesus, on the other hand, commands us to love one another, even our enemies! (John 15:17, Matthew 5:43-48) Furthermore, he exhorts us to treat others in the way we would want to be treated. (Matthew 7:12) And certainly no one wants to be hated, for their ethnicity or any other reason. We are called upon by God to treat others with kindness, respect, and love.
There is much violence and divisiveness in the world today, but you don't have to be a part of it. In fact, you can choose to be a light in a dark place and help bring positive change to the world around you. Take a moment to think about what you can do to model Jesus' love toward others, and spread the message of racial reconciliation.