Psalm 133:1 (ESV) - Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!
I must admit that I have never really seen racism. Never felt it. Never practiced it… to my knowledge. I have my “isms,” for sure, but to my knowledge, racism isn’t my personal demon.
Now in light of this (and this may just be my simplistic, gullible, inexperienced self speaking here), when I think of a solution to racism, two things come to my mind, and not necessarily in this order.
First, I think identity politics will only always foment racism. I don’t think that the best way to deal with feelings of supremacy is to place greater and greater emphasis on various groups and the differences between them. I know I may be in the minority on this, but to me, this is fighting fire with fire. Instead, I will personally strive to treat each and every individual with whom I come in contact as somebody made in God’s image and thus deserving of my respect regardless of their race, religion, sexuality, gender, social status, etc. Everybody should always treat everybody else with dignity regardless of the differences that exist. The way you treat somebody made in the divine image reveals what you think about God Himself, the prototype that the image represents. Always. Regardless.
Second, I will continue to pray and work to serve a church family where this happens on a grander scale. My heart’s desire and prayer to God is that NRBC would be that type of place where people are truly seen and treated as equals before God. We are all held to the same standard of Christ Himself, and are thus in equal dessert of judgment and in equal need of mercy and grace. Always. Regardless. We need to be a place where God’s people can come and feel as refreshed as parched and dusty ground in the heart of summer feels each evening when the night’s dew descends. “Ah! Finally, some relief!”
When I was a youth director at a church in South Carolina, our boys’ basketball team used to play the team from a church called Pleasantville Baptist Church. I always wondered whether or not the culture of that church reflected its name. Judging from the way the teenaged boys on the basketball team treated each other, probably not.
As I’ve prayed through the 131st Psalm this week, I’ve wondered about our church culture and just how much our church family really reflects the spirit of the psalm. Do we struggle with racism in our church? Are we truly unified around the person and work of Christ? I will preach on racism as much as the next passage in the book we are preaching through emphasizes it. But in the meantime, I will hope and pray that NRBC is a place where God’s people live out the Gospel, love each other without hypocrisy, and where we all experience how good and how pleasant it is when God’s people dwell together in unity. Always. Regardless.