The healing of racial injustice is a key part of the healing God desires to bring to America and the world.
In this third part 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.
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.
In Part two, we looked at the consequences of racial injustice within America history and how it affects us today. We also looked at what the Bible actually says about racism.
As intercessors, we need to be prepared for the long battle ahead. In an upcoming edition of Discerning the Times, we will address the issues of past sins stemming from the racial injustice of our ancestors, but first we need to start with ourselves.
To be prepared for any further Gospel work in this area, we first must examine our own hearts truthfully. As the children’s song says, “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”1 Our ultimate goal is to come to the Lord and ask Him to shine His light within us to reveal any sin within our own hearts.
Current Scholarly Thoughts on Racism
It is important to note how a system of lies like the 1619 Project2 can take root and deceive many into wanting to destroy and replace the only true basis for racial equality, justice and liberty, which is the biblical revelation of Genesis 1:26-28 and the principles embedded in America’s founding documents.
Timothy Keller provides the following summary of this truth in an article entitled “The Sin of Racism” stating:
Biblically, sin is anything that falls short of God’s will and glory, that violates his law and his character (1 John 3:4; Romans 3:23) … racism is a violation of God’s glory and therefore is a sin. It is sin,”3
In another Article Keller writes:
It is a sin to violate – in thought, word, or deed – the divine truth that all humans have equal dignity and worth as persons created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-28). One of the many ways that truth can be violated is given in James 3:9, where we are told that even to curse a human being — to address him or her without respect — violates the image of God. When Jesus explains “You shall not murder” (Matthew 5:21), he says if you treat someone with contempt, calling him or her ‘Raca’ or ‘fool,’ you are violating the principle of the command and are “in danger of the fire of hell” (Matthew 5:22). To modern ears this seems excessive, but behind the sixth commandment is the doctrine of the image of God as expounded in James 3. It is a sin to treat any class or group unequally, as being less worthy of respect, love, and protection.
Treating people unequally on the basis of race is only one version of this sin, though it is a particularly prevalent, grievous, and pernicious one. To presuppose one’s own race or nationality is inherently superior to another, and to treat those of other races and nationalities with (a) unfairness or unequal justice, with (b) dismissiveness (the probable meaning of ‘Raca’ is “you nobody”) or with (c) active contempt is a sin, and one that is “in danger of the fire of hell.”
God’s law is based on his character. The Lord is, literally, “no respecter of persons.” (Deuteronomy 10:17) The context for this statement is a discussion of race and class prejudice. “[H]e shows no partiality… He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing” (Deuteronomy 10:17-18). In Acts 10:34, Peter learns that “God shows no partiality” on the basis of national or ethnic status. It is a sin to be partial, and discriminatory, because it falls short of God’s character and glory.4
Kevin DeYong 5 lists the following 10 reasons why racism is a sin:
- We are all made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27).
- We are all sinners corrupted by the fall (Rom. 3:10-20; 5:12-21).
- We are all, if believers in Jesus, one in Christ (Gal. 3:28).
- Separating peoples was a curse from Babel (Gen. 11:7-9); bringing peoples together was a gift from Pentecost (Acts 2:5-11).
- Partiality is a sin (James 2:1).
- Real love loves as we hope to be loved (Matt. 22:39-40).
- Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer (1 John 3:15).
- Love rejoices in what is true and looks for what is best (1 Cor. 13:4-7).
- Christ came to tear down walls between peoples not build them up (Eph. 2:14).
- Heaven has no room for racism (Rev. 5:9-10; 7:9-12; 22:1-5).
For an excellent and more complete analysis of the different forms of racism from the Roman Catholic perspective, go to the pastoral letter written by the late Francis Cardinal George [entitled, “A Pastoral Letter on Racism”]. Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., former Archbishop of Chicago, presented this letter on April 4, 2001, on the 33rd Anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This is an outstanding work and resource for our calling to racial reconciliation:
In this article, Francis Cardinal George states,
“One form of human division, conflict and fragmentation is racism: personal, social, institutional and structural. Racism mars our identity as a people, as the human race made in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:27). The 1979 U.S. Bishops’ pastoral on racism teaches that “racism is a sin: a sin that divides the human family, blots out the image of God among specific members of that family, and violates the fundamental human dignity of those called to be children of the same Father.”6
Prayer Prompts to Search Your Own Heart for the Sin of Racism
A very helpful way to invite the Holy Spirit to shine His light into us and to search us is to do what the Roman Catholic tradition calls an Examination of Conscience. Here follows some such instrument, offered by a member of the PRMI Dunamis Fellowship, Father Greg Gresko, a Benedictine monk.
Examination of Conscience
First, we are assured of Jesus’ love and forgiveness if we confess our sins to Him.
“Now this is the gospel message we have heard from him and announce to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him and yet keep on walking in the darkness, we are lying and not practicing the truth. But if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we do not bear the guilt of sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar and his word is not in us.1 John 1:5-10 (NET)
So confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great effectiveness.James 5:16 NET.
We can pray according to Psalm 139:23-24 (TLV), “Search me, O God, and know my heart. Examine me, and know my anxious thoughts, and see if there be any offensive way within me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Invite the Holy Spirit to use the following questions to reveal to you any sins you may have committed concerning racism. If anything comes to mind, confess it to Jesus Christ and ask for His forgiveness.
It is often helpful to do this examination with another believer.
- Have I regarded my neighbor who has a race or creed different than my own as having been created by God with the greatest human dignity, made in the image and likeness of our Creator?
- Have I loved others who belong to different races or creeds as my neighbors? Do I treat people of all races and creeds impartially in Christian love, recognizing and honoring their fundamental human dignity?
- In my words or in my actions, have I ever spoken or done something against another person because of his or her race or creed?
- Have I embraced and shared the sufferings of people from other races and creeds as my own suffering, recognizing them as my brothers and sisters in the human race and as people who have been created in God’s image and likeness?
- Do I see and accept myself in this same light, recognizing this God-given dignity in my own person?
- Whenever I have encountered racism, hatred, or injustice in my heart, in my family or social circles, or in my culture or society, have I responded with Christ’s love, or instead have I been complicit in sin?
- Have I looked down with prejudice on any person of a different race or creed because of the person’s race or creed?
- Have I spoken, or uttered in my heart, derogatory words or slurs against another person because of that person’s race or creed?
- Have I harbored resentment in my heart, or expressed such resentment openly, towards another person because the person is of a different race or creed than I am?
- Have I cursed another person openly or in my heart, making reference to the person’s race or creed?
- Have I treated people who belong to a different race or creed unequally or unfairly because of their race or creed, as people being less worthy of respect, love, and protection?
- Have I ever believed in, participated in or promoted any group representing an ideology that teaches one race as being superior over another?
- Have I held beliefs or convictions in my heart that presuppose my own race or nationality as being inherently superior to another? Have I treated people of other races, nationalities, or creeds with unfairness or unequal justice, dismissiveness as “being nobodies”, or with active contempt?
- Have I been partial or discriminatory towards people of other races or creeds, failing to respect them with a Christian attitude that honors God’s character and glory?
- Do I or my family have generational or soul ties to any persons, families, or institutions who have participated in the slave trade or who have owned slaves? Do I or my family have generational or soul ties to any persons, families, or institutions who have oppressed or persecuted others based on their race or creed?
- Have I opened my heart to the purifying and sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, asking Him to bring transformation to my heart in any area where there may be sinful inclinations towards racism, hatred, or injustice?
If you want further prayer following this time of self-examination you can request online prayer ministry here.
Jesus, the only way to true healing
When racism is regarded as a sin, then Jesus Christ can be invited in to forgive our sins and enable us to forgive those who have sinned against us. This is the ONLY way of true healing, restitution to wholeness, and reconciliation between the races. God’s Love and Truth are the only basis for true equality and justice.
To move forward, as Christians we must face a simple fact: Racism is a sin against God, and it is not in line with God’s original design for creation. The true, deep remedy for racism and the basis for true healing and reconciliation for all things is in Jesus Christ alone! There is no sin too great that Jesus can’t heal through forgiveness (Matthew 12:31).
This is why I believe God urgently is mobilizing, equipping and deploying an Army of Intercessors to engage in intercession and spiritual warfare on America’s behalf.
Our role is to pray in, embody, and ask for Jesus’ healing ministry first to heal our own hearts so that we may be prepared fully and spiritually ready for the healing prayers of others. This is the only way for us not to just overcome, but to heal the racial schism in the soul of the American and Western World.
You can get more involved in this work of prayer and intercession through the Prayer Initiative to bring healing to America’s soul.
To go deeper with this subject see page 2.
Share With Your Friends
- For the complete article by Timothy Keller (which is excellent) go to the entire article: https://quarterly.gospelinlife.com/the-sin-of-racism/
- Kevin DeYong provides a short summary from a Reformed Biblical perspective in 10 Reasons Racism Is Sin