Understanding and Dealing with Race

Recently there has been a lot of noise in the media about the owner of an NBA team for taped (private) comments he made to his mistress that were mysteriously “leaked”. These comments demonstrated an attitude toward African Americans that horrified the general populace and disgraced the NBA. They were ironic because the vast majority of this owner’s very team members is African American – and he makes millions of dollars off of them. The end result is that the NBA has banned him for life to have anything to do with the NBA (can’t even go to a game) and they are going to force him to sell the team.

But we are not being honest with ourselves in our outrage. It is a sad fact that no matter what we do as individuals and governments, no matter our high and good ideals to win the battle against racism, we are never going to be rid of this great division in society.

We publicly stand aghast at what people say out loud, but the reality is we all are guilty. We say and think we aren’t racist, but all the studies show that we actually are. Every one of us. We treat people who are different from us differently. I know I certainly do – even though I hate it. And mostly we treat others for the worse, not the better.

Then the other day I was reading another blogger and he was reflecting on the matter differently than I had ever thought. I had always just viewed the fact of different races as something neutral. But if we understand the different races that are located in the different corners of the world are connected with the Fall of Man into sin and the division and dispersion of humanity after attempting to build the Tower of Babel, we can conclude that the races we have are a direct result of sin and the punishment of God on humanity. Perhaps we can be brave and even associate the different racial characteristics and differences (even besides skin color) to this curse of God.

Now, of course this does not somehow give any of us excuse for racism! But maybe this understanding will give us the liberty to examine our own heart and repent of our sin without somehow thinking that the next fellow has somehow overcome racism. It will allow us to accept that perhaps our different races are (generally speaking) differently gifted (to put it positively). What it does is allows us to help each other forgive our neighbor who struggles with racism just like we do. And yes, as always, it points us to our Savior Jesus Christ who loves to forgive us.

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