How to Heal Racism
God is unconditional, all-inclusive, and impartial Love.
God made all His children in the image and likeness of this Love. That means He loves all His children equally. The simple solution to racism is for us to love everyone equally just as God does, to see that we are all brothers and sisters equally important to and valued by God.
There’s the problem.
Most of us don’t really want to love everyone. We love thinking we’re better than someone else in the eyes of God. We don’t know how to love the way God does. We don’t think we can. We don’t think we want to. And then, in the same breath, we say we want to be more like Jesus.
If you are a Christian, it’s easy to say you want to love everyone, but it’s not that easy to do. In fact, there are many Christians who justify their racism and hatred of others either openly or sometimes without even realizing it. They cloak themselves in patriotism and racial or religious tribalism, but actually they’re wrapped in pride, egotism, and fear. Not exactly the modus operandi of Jesus.
The news has been full of accusations and counter-accusations of racism flung in every direction. The hatred and violence spewing forth from people’s mouths and hands today (or any era) is absolutely unjustifiable. It is a mental, moral, emotional, spiritual, and even physical blight on the hearts of many.
And that’s exactly where Jesus said the problem lies, in the human heart. “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” (Matthew 15:19 ESV) “Evil thoughts” pretty much covers hatred, racism, violence, etc..
Why is there so much racism right now?
It seems like it’s only getting worse, doesn’t it? But I think something more profound is going on. The Holy Spirit is at work deep down in the fiber of our collective existence. The ills and evils, the hates and fears, that Jesus talks about being buried in the hearts of men must be exposed. Evil must be dragged from its hiding place in our affections and thrown into the light of God’s love, where it will dissolve and cease to have any power.
But this purging process is not always pleasant. It’s like the chemical reaction when you ad vinegar to baking soda.
The extreme racism we see today is really a symptom of it’s impending destruction. The Holy Spirit is flushing it out of its hiding place as the first step in this process. It comes out kicking and screaming because it knows its time is short. Racism seems more powerful and influential than ever, but it’s actually being destroyed. It makes a last ditch effort to assert its lies, but ultimately the power of God’s love will extinguish hate.
A spiritual solution to every problem–even racism
We race after political and sociological solutions. We accuse all those “other” people who have the problem. But we rarely start with our own hearts. Jesus said to cast the beam or log our of your own eye before we try to get the speck out of our brother’s eye. The same applies to our hearts. We must first deal with the evils in our own hearts before trying to help others.
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you are probably not the type of person who is a racist, full of anger and resentment. You are earnestly striving to follow Jesus in all you think, say, and do. But let’s face it, we all have a little mental house/heart cleaning to do on occasion.
I think part of the root cause of racism is not just that people don’t love each other, but that way too many folks don’t love themselves. If they loved themselves in the right way, it would be easier for them to love others.
And before I go any further, let me point out there are different types of loving yourself. It can be the love of self that thinks you are better than others. But in my book, that’s not really love. It’s just egotism, insecurity, and a complete misunderstanding of what love really is, hiding behind a mask of self-importance and arrogance.
That is not the type of self-love Jesus was talking about when he said to love your neighbor as yourself. True self-love is a spiritual practice. It’s when you see that we are all brothers and sisters in God’s kingdom. The prophet Malachi implores, “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?” (Malachi 2:10)
Every single person who has ever lived, is now living, or ever will live on this earth has the same Creator that you do. We all have the same divine Father-Mother God, the same source. It doesn’t matter to me what religion you belong to or if you are anti-religion or atheist. I still consider you my brother or sister whom I will sincerely endeavor to love. I may disagree strongly with something you do or say, but I will always try to love you as a person.
And to take my own medicine, I am striving to actually love myself as well. This is not always easy either. But if we all have the same divine Source, we are all equally worthy of loving and being loved. That means we really must love ourselves as well.
Prayer to heal racism
So the first steps in healing racism is to love yourself (in the right way) and to cast out any nasty evil thoughts about others from your own heart. It’s not a weekend project but takes many cycles of prayer translated into action.
The next step is to see others, even the most flagrant racists, as your brothers and sisters with the same Creator you have. This step takes some effort, depending on how quickly you can make the separation between the person as a child of God and the hateful way they speak and act. It helps me to think of all that hate as a big black poisonous spider on their back. It’s not part of them, but it’s influencing the way they operate. My job, in prayer, is to love the person and squish the spider, or rather, to pray that those evil influences can have no power over that person.
It sounds a little counter-intuitive, but we have to get to the point where we have compassion for the racist person. Something the opposite of the way God originally made them in His image and likeness has taken over in their lives. Our prayers can help deliver them.
How can you pray for a racist?
Back to the idea of love. Pray that God opens their eyes and their hearts to love. They are afraid. They need to love themselves. They need to love others. They need to see that God loves everyone equally because He created everyone. You can pray for God to open their eyes to these spiritual facts.
I know this is hard to do, but you can pray to forgive them and for them to forgive others. And they need to forgive themselves at some point, although that may be the last thing they are aware of at this point, since they are convinced there’s nothing wrong with their hateful thoughts. But our wonderful, loving, and mighty God will not let them escape His all-powerful, all-inclusive, and redeeming love.
A next step to take in our prayers to heal racism requires a lot of humility on our part. It’s not about rushing around trying to force people to change or marching down the street in a parade of protest. It is quiet listening for God’s direction. Ask God – and it must be in total sincerity – “What do You want me to do? What can I do? Is there someone You want me to help? Is there someone I can minister too that will help heal racism? Is there an activity or organization I can be part of that will help bring healing?”
God knows what you are capable of, even if you don’t, because he made you that way. He knows who you can help. He knows how to put you in the right place at the right time with the right person. He knows how to fill your heart with His love that will bring healing. Let us respond to His call as Isaiah did, “Here am I; send me.” (Isaiah 6:8)
The solution to racism is love.
Not just human love. It must have its source in divine love. There is nothing on this planet more powerful than God’s love. Each of us, as the image and likeness of God, radiates His love out into our neighbor’s hearts and every nook and cranny of this world. Jesus said we are the light of the world. No darkness can escape our light, which is actually God’s love in our hearts.
You and I have an important part to play in the healing of racism. It is not to point an accusing finger at people who are racists, but to love the racism right out of them. We have the God-given ability to do this.
The world is crying out for love. Please join me in loving those who most need it.
How have you prayed about and healed racism? There’s so much that could be said on this topic. If you have any other thoughts about how to heal racism, please share them below in the comments.
P.S. News Flash: In the next month or so, I’ll be starting a podcast called, of course, “The Bible Speaks to You Podcast.”
Thanks so much for your support.