As we continue to look at the issue of racism beginning with our own hearts, we want to focus upon how the wounds from racial injustice has affected the history of the United States and what Scripture has to say about the sin of racism within our own hearts.
In part one we looked at how the Lord has been leading us to step into the work of prayer to begin to deal with racial injustice and the prayer Initiative which we have just launched to help pray for a healing of America’s soul.
We will not be prepared to take part in this healing work of Jesus Christ unless we have first come to the Lord and asked him to shine the light of His Spirit upon us revealing any sin within our own hearts.
We pray as you join us on this journey of searching within yourself, you gain understanding around the current times we live in and ultimately heal from any wounds the sins of racism may have caused in your life.
How the Unhealed Wounds of Racial Injustice from American History Affects Us Today
Racial injustice, past and present opens the door to Satan’s work today. That open door is the unconfessed and unforgiven sins we have ignored, pushed aside or didn’t know we had at all. We must look at where America has stood on the subject of racism in the past in order to expose past sins.
As you read, consider your role in all of this. You were not alive during the Civil War or maybe not even in the 1960s during the American Civil Rights Movement, but you play a part in America’s current and been effected by the consequences of unhealed wounds and sins that have not been forgiven.
The Biblical basis for those of us who are part of God’s covenant people suffering the consequences and results of sins of past generations that we did not commit is found in Exodus 20:5-6. (We shall deal with the sins of our ancestors in the next series of Discerning the Times.)
As followers of Jesus Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit our call is join in the work of Jesus Christ in healing the wounding of racial injustice and the effects of the sins of racism in the past and present.
We also understand that racial prejudice and injustice are not unique to American history. Unconfessed and unforgiven sins of racial injustice throughout all human history have left wounds in all societies that have resulted in open doors for Satan to work.
Racism is endemic to the human race because of the fallen human heart. As Paul says, “… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. (Romans 3:23)
As we continue the process to search our own hearts for the sin of racism and prejudice, pray that the Lord would make clear your own views on racism. History is the telling of the past but it affects all of us today in how we learn from it and turn away from its mistakes.
The unhealed wounds due to racial injustice from before America’s founding have left deep gashes stunting the nation from fulfilling its own highest ideals embodied in our founding documents that, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” 1
Right after the Civil War, Congress enacted The Civil Rights Act of 1866. This was the first law enacted by the United States Congress clearly defining U.S. citizenship. It affirmed that all citizens are equally protected by the law. This was a major but incomplete step toward removing and overturning the legal structures of slavery enforcing racial inequality in America.
In 1868, these rights were further protected by the Fourteenth Amendment 2to the Constitution. This amendment stated that all freed slaves and everyone regardless of race was a citizen of the United States and guaranteed all citizens equal protection under the law.
During the period after the Civil War, known as Reconstruction (of the Southern States), several events took place which set back the healing of the wounds from the Civil War and fulfilling the intentions of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The first was the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln’s approach to the South was reconciliation and restoration, not only of the freed slaves but the defeated, devastated and impoverished white population.
With Lincoln’s assassination Reconstruction shifted from healing and restoration to the punishment of the South, which left deep bitterness in whites, and the freed slaves largely abandoned and powerless, in their road to integration as citizens of the United States.
A second tragic event was The Wilmington NC Massacre of 1898.3 One of the places where a truly integrated society was emerging was in Wilmington North Carolina. The City government was run by both blacks and whites and all were prospering!
But all this was stopped by a group of white supremacists who murdered the blacks and destroyed the integrated community and government. This was the beginning of the Jim Crow laws, which were first imposed in North Carolina and then throughout the South, wherever the Democratic Party was in control.
The Jim Crow laws basically reinstated the legal structures of racial prejudice against African Americans. Under the pretense of “separate but equal” Jim Crow left in place the power structure of white supremacy and privilege.
Unhealed Wounds give Ground to the Enemy
As we review this history, these unhealed wounds, left from the systemic evil of slavery, punishment against the South instead of reconstruction, terrible events like the Wilmington Massacre 1898, and the continued legal structure of racism perpetrated by the Jim Crow laws in the South (while formally outlawed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964), have left deep roots of bitterness in White and Black society.
These, still open and unhealed wounds, of racial injustice has given ground, in many hearts, for Satan to aggravate our sinful tendencies of racism, hatred, racial superiority and more! This has also made some individuals, and groups in America, vulnerable to being deceived into evil ideologies such as White Superiority, or Marxism, Islam, Liberalism and a host of other deceptions that are opposed to Biblical faith and values.
As we review this sordid history of racism and injustice we must confess that often it was Christians, and the church, that took part in justifying and perpetuating these evil systems of evil like slavery and Jim Crow Laws, and have allowed racist attitudes. For this, we must repent.
The Gospel Brings Hope
At the same time, we must also acknowledge that it was Christians who led the way in naming and overcoming, through the power of the Gospel, these great evils. It was Christians in England and America, who led the way in the abolition of slavery.
It was black and white Christians who led the way in the righteous and bible-based civil rights movement of the 1960s, embodied in Rev. Martin Luther King and Rev. Ralph Abernathy.
It is Christians, empowered by the Holy Spirit, who can witness to the transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ which can overcome racism in all its insidious forms. It is empowered believers who are able to fulfill the vision of the new humanity in the Kingdom of God in which: “Here there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all and in all. ” (Colossians 3:11 NET)
As intercessors, we must pray for these wounds to be healed. These wounds are like festering sores and give an opportunity for Satan to carry out all sorts of evil. From the shadows, Satan can work through racist ideologies, when they are allowed, to take root and then the contagion spreads. As we engage in this work of Jesus of healing we must first prepare ourselves by welcoming the light of the Holy Spirit to shine in our own hearts exposing any lingering sin of racism and/or effects of racism upon us.
What does the Bible Say about Racism?
As with all Kingdom work, it is best to start at the very beginning. For those of us of Biblical faith, Jews and Christians, everything begins in the Book of Genesis:
Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness, so they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move on the earth.” God created humankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply! Fill the earth and subdue it! Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every creature that moves on the ground.”Genesis 1:26-28
Biblical Revelation provides the foundations for the Judeo-Christian Values which have shaped Western culture. They are embodied by America’s Founding Fathers in the opening words of the Declaration of Independence:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”Declaration of Independence 4
We as intercessors are called to be the vanguard (frontlines) of praying for and experiencing the healing power of Jesus Christ the Messiah, manifested first in our own hearts, among those of biblical faith (Jews and Christians), and from there into society at large. Such work requires that we search our own hearts to see what sin may be in us. Yeshua (Jesus) teaches us in the book of Matthew:
“Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to see the beam of wood in your own? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye,’ while there is a beam in your own? You hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”Matthew 7:3-5 (NET)
To look closely at ourselves and our own spheres of society allows us to see if there is any sin of racism within us. But to do this we must first name it for what it is — sin!
Christ’s instruction here is significant when we consider the damage that can be caused when we give room for racism, or for thoughts or acts of bigotry. In Matthew, Yeshua (Jesus) is warning the believer of how a critical person acutely observed the insignificant flaws in the character of another, while being completely unaware of his own character flaws or need for change.
This truth is not something taught only in the Old Testament; such warnings are seen throughout Jewish literature as well, such as:
- “Let us pick off the straws from ourselves before we do it to others.” (y. Ta’anit 65a)
- “Do not taunt your neighbor with a blemish you yourself have.” (b. Bava Metzia 63b)
- “Let us first correct ourselves, then let us correct others.” (Lamentations Rabbah 3:40)
Whether Christ was citing rabbinical writings (and oral tradition) in the New Testament, or the sages were quoting him is not the issue here. Instead, what we see here is the Lord reminding us as His people to watch carefully how we view or speak of our neighbor, and in this day and age especially in the areas of culture and race. Jesus is Messiah for the whole world, and not only for one tribe or nationality!
Racism in all its expressions is sinful!
The basis for racism in all its varied expressions being a sin is that it is a violation of the foundational biblical revelation that ALL human beings are created in the image of God. With the coming of Jesus Christ who brings the Kingdom of God to overcome the effects of the fall, the radical implications of our having been created in the image and likeness of God are realized.
A quick internet search will flood your screen with countless scriptures, here are a few we want to highlight:
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”Galatians 3:28 (NIV)
“[You] have been clothed with the new man that is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of the one who created it. Here there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all and in all.Colossians 3:10-11 (NET)
“Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.”Acts 10: 34-35 (NIV)
“For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.”Deuteronomy 10: 17-19 (NIV)
“Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness.”1 John 2:9 (NIV)
There really are so many Scriptural passages that can be chosen to counter racism, especially ones about judging a person’s heart and not their outward appearance (John 7:24 and 1Samuel 16:7).
Is Racial Injustice and the Sin of Racism Unique to America?
Such Bible verses provide the basis for our belief that racial injustice and racial prejudice are fully established as egregious sins against both God and other people. Because the sin of racism comes from the fallen human heart, this sin is endemic to all peoples, races and nations and knows no bounds of color or creed.
It is a pernicious lie of the Marxist-based movements like Black Lives Matter that the sins of racism and racial injustice is a uniquely American and White Caucasian evil. I have traveled all over the world but have lived for extensive periods in China and Korea. I also have spent extended periods of time in Sub-Sahara Africa, and in every place the sins of racism and racial injustice are very evident. I traveled all over the world and found no people immune from the sins of racism and no place without the lingering scars from racial injustice. Everywhere I have seen the movement of the Holy Spirit taking place bringing people to vital faith in Jesus Christ. Regardless of what tribe or nation I have see the Holy Spirit bringing confession of the sins of racism and seen Jesus bringing healing and reconciliation. So, this sin is not uniquely American, but rather it is a universal human sin. It is a problem of the human heart and that is why we must search our own hearts for this sin of racism. It is why there is only one true solution: the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
What Can We Do?
Now, more than ever, it is important that we get involved in the work of intercession to see racial injustice and the strongholds of the enemy dealt with.
In Part Three of Searching Our Own Hearts for the sin of Racism, we continue to look at the issue of racism beginning with our own hearts, we must begin by examining our own hearts in the light of racism and ask the Holy Spirit to bring to light any lingering sin which we need to deal with.