A child asked his father, “How were people born?” So his father said, “Adam and Eve made babies, then their babies became adults and made babies, and so on.”
The child then went to his mother, asked her the same question and she told him, “We were monkeys then we evolved to become like we are now.”
The child ran back to his father and said, “You lied to me!” His father replied, “No, your mum was talking about her side of the family.”
The father in this bit of humour makes the joke that his wife’s side of the family came from monkeys. Sometimes our references to others can border on stereotypes or even hidden racist views.
It’s a word that conjures up thoughts and feelings of disgust and disdain. Underneath though it’s something we all may have been guilty of. We have all lent in the direction of viewing others under the banner of stereotypes. Like other forms of racism, casual racism can marginalise and humiliate those who experience it. Harm can occur even if conduct isn’t motivated by hate or malice. Did you get that? Harm can occur even if it isn’t said with hate or malice.
One form of racism that Philip introduced us to on Sunday was that of being ‘Sin-ist’. Sin-ist: (Philip’s word) is the practice of avoiding contact with ‘sinners’. It’s easy as Christians to have a plethora of Christian friends, because it’s who we share a common bond with, namely, Jesus. We can socialise and have an entire network within a town and have little to none Jesus following friends. Yes, that’s possible.
Jesus ministry on earth consisted of him being extremely comfortable around people who were nothing like him. What’s more, people who were nothing like Jesus liked being around Him. We have to ask ourselves as Christians have we missed a fundamental basic of Jesus life. Jesus’ faith wasn’t challenged or disrupted or even contaminated by hanging around with sinners. In fact Jesus didn’t hang out with the super religious and had his harshest rebukes recorded for them. Jesus copped an enormous amount of criticism for hanging out with the ‘wrong’ crowd, namely the ones your mum warned you about.
Ok, fair play, ‘He was the sinless Son of God’ you might say but He also set an example of sending us out into the world with His life saving/giving message.
Being sin-ist or keeping ourselves from spending time around people that don’t share our faith and worldview is not what Jesus came to do. We are to be around those who don’t share our faith, so we can be the life of Jesus to them.
God made man in His image.
There is a reason racism is so abhorrent. It’s because every single man, woman and child that we come in contact with in this world bears the image of God. Every man, woman and child has the divine fingerprints of God upon them. Everybody deserves the respect and love the Father desires for all His children. As the church we should be leading the charge in this. Leading the charge in treating all people with the same dignity as Christ treated the unlovely of His day. Leading the charge in the way we treat people, in having our voice heard in matters like immigration. Being leaders in showing Christs love to those in our communities that aren’t like us. God has a wonder diverse world of people that see things differently, but we can be the glue of unity in Christ who reaches out and doesn’t hide away from those different to us.
Let’s aim to be world leaders as the church of Jesus in how we overcome differences through the love we show those around us for Jesus sake. Let’s start with the people in our own lives, in our own families who don’t follow Jesus or share our world view. Like Jesus we can maintain our own faith and impact the world around through Christ’s indwelling Spirit.