One of the worst things you can be called in America today is racist, but I believe we all think racist thoughts. We are all guilty of prejudice. We say we aren’t racist because we have friends who are not the same color as us, or because we smile the same at everyone, or because our skin isn’t white, or some other excuse. We’re all guilty of racism because we are all human.
When I was a young teen, our family moved to the heart of Africa from southwest Georgia, and I thought, “At least we won’t have to deal with racism there.” I was wrong. Many Africans I met were prejudiced against pygmies. I was informed that they were inferior. Sad. Racism is wherever humans are.
Human nature is inherently sinful. Psalm 51:5 states that we all come into the world as sinners: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.” Ephesians 2:2 says that all people who are not in Christ are “sons of disobedience.” Ephesians 2:3 says we are all “by nature children of wrath.”
Perhaps the best evidence of this is seen in children. We don’t have to teach them how to lie, cheat, steal, or fight. They just do it. We all do it, but we usually get more sophisticated at sinning as we age. We learn to hide it better, even from ourselves…. If we believe there’s no racism in us, we’re lying to ourselves and God.
I guess I should go ahead and say that racism is bad, wrong and evil, just in case you were wondering. I have been against it all my life. And while racism is declining in some places, it’s getting worse in others, and then it gets better and then it gets worse. Saddest of all, I suspect it will keep vacillating for eternity because we’re all sinful because we are all human.
Society has come a long way, but I doubt racism will be eliminated. I’m not giving up on fighting racism, and that’s part of the reason I am writing this.
I believe there’s a better way to combat racism. Fighting and protesting and counter protesting can be as violent as the racism we’re fighting. We are at a juncture where we can keep arguing and marching or take a look around and consider additional tactics.
Consider fighting racism by fighting hard to improve ourselves and our world instead of only fighting against others. Look at the man in the mirror. Likewise, challenge others to fight harder to improve themselves and their community rather than exhausting energy just trying to change other folks.
Racists blame other people for their problems or the world’s problems. Likewise, fighting racism by blaming others is also problematic.
Blaming makes other people responsible for your satisfaction or happiness. Blaming others makes you a victim. Blaming other people is futile because, ultimately, you have zero percent control over others. And fighting hard to improve yourself and your neighborhood puts you more in control. When we improve ourselves, we are less vulnerable to believing we are inferior for any reason.
Charles Swindoll said, “...life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it.” Focusing on our own behavior is a great approach to the issue of racism. It’s going high when others go low. So, let’s all fight racism together on all fronts, by confronting evil and confronting our own demons. Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with ourselves.
The Pastor’s Corner is sponsored by the Monroe County Ministerial Association, which meets on the second Thursday of each month at 8:30 a.m. at Christ United Methodist Church, 417 N. Frontage Road, Forsyth.