The face of racism showed up this past weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia. It showed up on one of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in America. It showed up in the hatred that was chanted as hundreds of Alt-right individuals marched in a planned procession on the campus. It showed up as a sad reminder that many do not see all people created “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27).
We simply cannot ignore the cultural struggles that we find ourselves watching on television or reading about on social media.
Let’s just be clear. There is no room for racism in the Gospel of Jesus. Period.
As young adult ministry leaders, we have an opportunity to speak into the lives of young adults who are attempting to discern what it means to be a follower of Jesus when it comes to crucial issues. There is so much anger and chaos. How can we equip them to be part of the hope and answer to the sin of racism?
Here are some reminders we can share with young adults about racism and how we as followers of Jesus must denounce it:
1. We are ALL made in the Image of God.
Every Asian is made in the image of God. Every black American is made in the image of God. Every mixed race individual is made in the image of God. And the list can go on and on with the cultural demographics that make us who we are as human beings. The common denominator among them all is that ALL (which literally means everyone…no one left out) are created in the image of God. According to Genesis 1:27, God created man in His image. There is no color when it comes to the God-given gift of breath for every human being.
Each human life is valuable. It’s God-given and cannot be separated into levels of importance by the color of one’s skin or geographical location of birth. God values all life and sent His Son Jesus to be the life of redemption for all mankind.
2. There is absolutely no room for hate directed toward another human being in a Christian’s life.
According to I John 3:15, “everyone who hates his brother or sister is a murderer.” A follower of Jesus cannot look at another human being and wish that they did not exist. Instead, a Christian looks at another human being and rejoices in the creation that the Lord has made. A hate that is directed toward another human being with the desire that the other person did not exist because of the color of their skin or the place of their birth simply cannot be present in a Christian’s life.
As leaders, we must consistently examine our own hearts when it comes to the way we talk about other people or relay our thoughts about world events. Let’s celebrate the life that God has given every human being instead of fostering a hate that can simply be viewed scripturally as “murder” in our heart.
3. Heaven will be filled with every color and nationality.
Revelation tells the end of the story. And the end of the story tells us that “every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9) will be represented in eternity with Jesus. What a beautiful scene – all redeemed people from every race and nation will be present worshipping TOGETHER the Author of eternity! It’s clear according to scripture that there will be no racism in eternity because all of our eyes will be on Jesus.
Don’t miss the opportunity this week to speak words that are full of life with the young adults in your group. When we point them toward the Gospel of Christ, it is the equalizer of all men where skin color, country of birth, or economic status simply does not exist. Don’t be silent on an issue that has such important Gospel implications!
Mark Whitt is a collegiate minister with Baptist Collegiate Ministry at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Connect with Mark via Twitter.