Why do we need to talk about racism now?

One of the things that’s a core part of our church is the idea of being FOR people. It’s our desire to be Jesus to the people around us, in our neighbourhoods, in our communities and in our cities. People won’t know Jesus is for them until they know that we’re for them, so we want to love people like Jesus loves them. 

In light of this, it’s so important to have conversations like the one had here as a part of the service about racism and the ways that we can be for all people regardless of our differences.

Did you catch that? According to Genesis 1:27, we have all been created in the image and likeness of God. Our neighbourhood, our community, our city is full of people who God created in His image. Not only that, but Jesus came to this world so that all people could have the opportunity for forgiveness and a relationship with God.

There’s a passage in the New Testament where Jesus highlights for us the importance of pushing against the sinfulness of racism. The Jewish religious leaders of the time were questioning Jesus about who their neighbour is. In reply, Jesus shares the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37 NLT)

“Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was travelling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.

What’s interesting about the priest and the temple assistant both passing by is that these were the religious leaders. These were the people who were supposed to be the most passionate about loving God and serving Him well with their lives. 

Instead, they both kept walking right by. 

If you were in the audience listening to Jesus tell this story, you likely would’ve been expecting the next person to walk by to be an average Jewish person. Instead, Jesus shocks his listeners when he says:

“Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them.

For the Jewish people in this time, the Samaritans were never people who the Jews hung around with. Jewish people and Samaritan people didn't associate with each other (John 4:9). Racially, socially and in beliefs, they opposed each other. At the centre of this story is a racial divide. One of the things at the centre of this story, is how Jesus is speaking to the sin of racism.

“Then he (the Samaritan) put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’
“Now which of these three would you say was a neighbour to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.
The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”
Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”

If we’re going to truly be FOR people as a church, we need to engage in the conversation about racism. We can’t choose apathy like the priest and the temple assistant did towards the man on the side of the road. 

Instead, at the heart of what Jesus is teaching us here, we need to step out in action to care for those around us. Those who are different from us. We need to take action over choosing apathy. In the case of racism, we want to move beyond non-racism and be anti-racist.

We have to have, and continue having, conversations about racism. Even if we haven’t had the conversation before and we should have, it doesn’t mean it’s not okay to have it now. In fact, now is a great time to start learning and listening. 

The hard work starts at home in our own hearts.   

So, we wanted to share some resources with you to help you continue engaging in the conversation about racism in our homes, neighbourhoods, and communities.

Resources to continue the conversation

Conversations to Listen to:

Two Friends Talking about Race with Sam Collier and Carey Nieuwhof
This Human Race with Andy Stanley
Jesus and Justice with Cheryl Nembhard and Bruxy Cavey 
A Discussion on Racism with T.D. Jakes and Carl Lentz

Stories to Read & Watch

Be The Bridge by Latasha Morrison
Just Mercy

Guides For Parents:

Raising Kids Who Will Initiate Racial Equality
Four Questions to Ask Yourself Before Talking to Your Kids About Racism
The Work of Teaching Kids to Value Everyone