Sunday, Feb. 12, we observe Racial Reconciliation Sunday, a time when we come together before the Lord and our brothers and sisters and work toward being more united in Christ.
It is heart breaking to think about the racial injustice in our nation’s history. Even today, I know that racism is an issue that continues to detrimentally affect so many. We should pray that God will pour His healing balm upon the wounds and atrocities that have been caused by racial strife — throughout the world, our nation, and in our own state.
I firmly believe that racism goes directly against every aspect of the gospel — and it is sinful. Our Lord desires that we love each other as Jesus loved us, and that each person should “esteem others better than himself” (Philippians 2:3).
For this reason, each of us should look to our Heavenly Father this Sunday and ask Him to point out anything in our attitudes that could be a barrier or stumbling block to working together with those of other races. All human beings were made in God’s image, and if we do not show love and respect to an individual from any ethnic group, we fail to bring glory to our Lord in this area of our life and gospel testimony. All individuals who have accepted Christ as Savior are one through the blood of Christ and in the bond of Christ. Our Lord desires that we see beyond the differences in skin color, languages, customs and cultures in our acceptance of others. It is time that we confess our sin of any discriminative prejudice that we secretly harbor toward others, even if we are this way because we were raised in a Southern culture that once gave approval.
“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” — Genesis 1:27
Let us celebrate the fact that God chose to create different races and cultures! Chris Green of The Summit Church has in the past encouraged Southern Baptists to strive for oneness, rather than sameness, and I hope we will all put his words into action this Sunday.
Some years ago, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) formally and publically denounced racism, saying that “we affirm the Bible’s teaching that every human life is sacred, and is of equal and immeasurable worth, made in God’s image, regardless of race or ethnicity (Genesis 1:27), and that, with respect to salvation through Christ, there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for (we) are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).”
I am grateful for the progress we have made in destroying racial hatred, but I am painfully aware that we still have quite a distance to go. There is still much work to do. Will you pray for racial reconciliation this Sunday? Ask the Lord to use you personally to help advance our churches toward racial reconciliation. Pray that we will be able to see each other the way that God sees us — as image bearers of God, and as brothers and sisters in Christ regardless of our ethnic differences.
by Milton A. Hollifield Jr. Executive-Director Treasurer / Baptist State Convention of North Carolina
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