I recently heard an African-American describe the difference between living in the South and living in the North. “In the South,” he said, “I was loved, but only as an inferior. In the North, I was treated as an equal, but I was hated.” Kind of a no win situation!
I’ve been pondering this question for the last few days and I’m not sure which one is worse! Unfortunately, I think this sort of situation exists for many ethnic groups within the United States. Even worse, I think such a situation exists even within the Church.
Scripture is pretty clear when it comes to issues of race & ethnicity there is to be an equality and unity between very diverse groups “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all and in all” (Colossians 3:11) But my question is this: in the churches you attend how are different ethnic groups viewed? Are they being loved as equals? Or despised as equals? Or somehow loved but still seen as inferior? We must strive to love all people as equals regardless of ethnicity. Anything else is bringing shame upon Christ because we are not reflecting the unity that Scripture clearly calls us to.
There are severe implications of loving people from a different ethnic group as an equal. The most pressing implication would be in regard to learning. If you are viewing a different people group as an equal, who should be teaching the other? If both are truly equal wouldn’t there be an aspect of mutual learning. Yes, I believe that if you love another person as an equal you will be willing to learn from them. If you are not willing to learn from someone there is undoubtedly a superior/inferior relationship even if it is slight.
So, I must again ask: how do you view these groups: Caucasians, Asians, people from India, Latinos, people from African decent, Native Americans? Do you love each of these groups as equals? Do you tolerate them as equals? Do you somehow view these people as inferior? If you do not love them as equals I would suggest asking Jesus to change your heart. Confess this as sin, repent, begin to seek out how you can learn from these people & start loving them as equals.