In addition, cultural and racial diversity helps us recognize and respect “ways of being” that are not necessarily our own, so that as we interact with others we can build bridges to trust, respect, and understanding. Furthermore, this diversity makes our country a more interesting place to live, as people from diverse cultures contribute language skills, new ways of thinking, new knowledge, and different experiences.
Cultural and racial diversity supports the idea that every person can make a unique and positive contribution to the larger society because of, rather than in spite of, their differences. Imagine a place where diversity is recognized and respected; different ideas are acknowledged and valued; contributions from all groups and all persons are encouraged; people are empowered to achieve their full potential; and differences are celebrated.
Unfortunately, in this country, Instead of real unity many people simply tolerate other races. They simply put up with others without any desire to actually enter into a relationship with them. In the kingdom of God we Christians say that we are citizens of, that will never work because it is against God's will for His kingdom.
Editor's Note: The following is from the YouVersion Reading Plan, "Tony Evans Explorers Racial Reconciliation" by Dr. Tony Evans and the Urban Alternative Reading. Dr. Tony Evans serves as senior pastor to the over-9,500-member Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas. The Urban Alternative is a Christian Bible teaching and resource ministry founded over 30 years ago by Dr. Tony Evans. For more information visithttps://tonyevans.org/
Galatians 2:20 CEB I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the life that I now live in my body, I live by faith, indeed, by the faithfulness of God’s Son, who loved me and gave himself for me.
One of the biggest challenges today, when it comes to crime, is identity theft. People will steal your identity for their own fraudulent uses. They pretend to be you and take the things that were meant for you to have. Satan is the greatest identity thief in history. He wants to rob believers of all the wonderful things that Jesus has given us. One of the ways he accomplishes this is by confusing us about our identity. This confusion is one of the reasons that racism still exists and reconciliation between races has not occurred.
We need to stake our identity in the cross of Christ, but Satan will try to get us to pick up other means of identity like race. This is why you may hear somebody refer to themselves as a black Christian, a white Christian, a hispanic Christian, or an Asian Christian. Technically, this phrasing is incorrect because “Christian” acts as the noun and gets modified by the “racial” adjective. This would mean that race modifies who we are as Christians.
However, our identity is in Christ. That is, our position in Christ makes us a Christian who happens to be black, white, hispanic or Asian. Identity is so important because who you perceive yourself to be will determine your actions. Our identity is to be in Christ first and everything else should fall underneath it. God does not ask people to deny their race or culture, but He asks that those things do not get in the way of our Christian commitment. Embrace your race. Embrace your culture. Be who you are, but never let racial identity interfere with Biblical truth.
Genesis 1:26-27 CEB Then God said, “Let us make humanity in our image to resemble us so that they may take charge of the fish of the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and all the crawling things on earth.” God created humanity in God’s own image, in the divine image God created them, male and female God created them.
All people, no matter what race, share a common origin in Adam. The book of Acts tells us that all people come from the same source.
Acts of the Apostles 17:26 CEB From one person God created every human nation to live on the whole earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their lands.
To take it a step further, when we look at the creation of mankind, we also learn that the triune Godhead created us in His image. In theology, we call this imago Dei—referring to the concept that humans are created in God’s image. An image is a mirror or a reflection. This also means that everybody, regardless of their race or ethnicity, has intrinsic value and worth. Dignity is innate. All humans are born with esteem because they are created in the image of God.
Therefore, any form of racism, elitism, discrimination, or oppression is not only a social issue, but it’s a sin issue at its core. By treating a fellow image-bearer inferior because they are of a different race is sin. And if we are going to achieve unity, the first thing we must do is speak honestly. That is, we must call any form of racism, elitism, discrimination or oppression exactly what it is—sin. God can only begin the healing and unifying process when sin is addressed. Let’s begin to treat each other as image-bearers—people made in the image of God almighty.
Sunday morning is often the most segregated time of the week because we adopted a mindset of tolerance. The goal of reconciliation is not tolerance or “putting up with” another race. Unfortunately, the church remains segregated most of the time because we only gather with other races when we have to. Much of what we call racial reconciliation among Christian circles is nothing more than watered-down sociology, sprinkled with a little bit of Jesus on top so we can call it biblical. But to break down the dividing walls of race within the church, we must start with a better aim than tolerance, and that aim is biblical reconciliation.
1 John 4:20 NIV Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen
Biblical reconciliation may be defined as addressing the sin that caused the divide for the purpose of bonding together across racial lines based on a shared commitment to Jesus Christ with the goal of service to others.
The sin we must address is racism. If we call it something other than sinful in the eyes of God, then we no longer approach this issue from a kingdom perspective.
1 John 1:8-10 NIV If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
Reconciliation is all about relationships. To reconcile basically means to restore to friendship. The goal isn’t just about repenting from the sin of racism, but it’s geared towards developing authentic friendships with different races and cultures than our own. Once we repent from the sin of racism, develop relationships across racial lines, then in unity, we can serve our communities. The church is supposed to be the salt and light of our neighborhoods regardless of the racial demographic.
Matthew 5:13-16 NIV “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19 NIV All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.