Recent events in the United States and Canada have once again raised the ugly specter of racism, antagonism by one race against another based on the belief that that race is inferior, and therefore doesn’t deserve to be treated fairly and equitably.
Such horrific events remind us that we live in a fallen world, one marred by pride, hatred, and violence. They call forth from God’s people prayers for healing, healing of those who have been wounded, healing of hearts that hate, and healing of nations scarred by racial divisions.
In addition to prayer, Christians need to make clear that racism has no place in our midst. The Christ we follow chose to die for the sins of all humanity, and calls us to love our neighbor, regardless of that person’s race.
Jesus summed up the law as treating others the way we want to be treated. Racism finds no room in this ethic. Where we find ourselves guilty of even passive antagonism against a person of another race out of illegitimate pride, we must repent, confess our sin and ask forgiveness.
As someone recently observed, one cannot be “not racist.” We can only be either racist or anti-racist. If I believe that people of every race are of equal worth, I cannot be neutral on the point of racism, but must be anti-racist.
Racism begins and is perpetuated in ignorance. To be anti-racist requires us to pull back the curtains and allow the light of God’s truth to shine in all the dark places, even in our own hearts. This is a time for soul-searching. This is also a time to stand in solidarity with those victimized by racism, speaking out on their behalf.
Ignorance dissipates when we consider the past. We can learn from our mistakes and reclaim the nobler moments from our history. Our Wesleyan heritage contains examples of both. (You can learn more about that heritage here: https://www.wesleyan.org/a-wesleyan-view-of-racial-reconciliation-748).
Ignorance is expelled by listening with open hearts. As I learned recently, just listening to a person of another race is a wonderful way to learn and grow. (For the full interview, listen here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/v=2794338660852590&external_log_id=9ab26397a9b89e8679c11934082f0584&q=moncton%20wesleyan%20church).
Listening is especially important when seeking to eradicate deep-seated, institutionalized racism. It takes courage to speak the truth and courage to hear it.
At Kingswood University, we are committed to maintaining an environment where staff and students are treated fairly and equitably, regardless of race, gender, or ethnicity. We are committed to helping our students think through issues such as racism, preparing them to make a positive difference in a challenging world.
We commit ourselves to being good listeners, hearing both the hurts and hearts of others as well as the Spirit’s voice to our own hearts. Our prayer is to live out the truth of these words from the Apostle Paul: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).