Greetings in the Name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Over the past few weeks there have been reports of an uptick in violence against Americans of Asian descent in our nation, that has led to fear within the communities impacted. I have been slow to believe the reports of fear because sometimes the media exaggerates the facts. However, last night during Family Time the report was confirmed by one of our members that there is an unusual level of consternation within American Asian communities, especially those living on the coasts, and even some concern within our congregation. Therefore, I believe I should address this issue to provide biblical counsel for those who may be mildly in distress.
The spirit of Racism is one of the most destructive of all unclean spirits. Rooted in pride, the spirit of racism has demolished entire civilizations, plundered countless nations, leaving poverty, famine, and hopelessness in its wake. Fallen humanity is more susceptible to this fatal spirit than most others because it offers a deceptive shortcut to self-actualization. By it one can easily ascend to a psychological place of superiority without having to do the hard work of self-improvement. Thus, it acts as a defense mechanism or a coping strategy to bolster the confidence and shield its host from feelings of inferiority and uncertainty about her place in the world.
For this reason, we can be sure that racism is never going away. It will be with us in one form or another until Christ returns. It will even be present in our churches, and if we are not mindful, racism can also take residence within our hearts as well.
We know that as children of God we are called to love all people. Whether black or white, drug addict or racist, rich or poor. We are even called to love our enemies. We are also motivated to preserve our families, and protect those whom God has placed under our care. If you are an American of Asian descent, how should you respond to this crisis?
Be filled with the Spirit so that you do not fulfill the passions of the flesh. This is easier said than done when we are facing the possibility of personal harm, but we are called to this, and we should strive to be found faithful no matter what obstacles or challenges we face. And the first thing we must be intentional to do is to:
Pray – It is obvious I know, but it is also effective. We should pray that God will heal the hearts of those who have been harmed by this intolerance. We should pray for unity within our communities, that our corner of the world will not give in to the ignorance going on in society. We should pray that God will protect our loved ones, especially those whom He has placed under our care. We should pray that God will guard our hearts and minds so that we do not become overly angry or bitter. We should pray for the racists, that God will deliver them from the spirit of pride and save them. And we should pray for our government, that it will be diligent in the administration of justice, and facilitate peace.
Racism also thrives beneath the spirit of fear. This fear is birthed within the racist’s heart and emitted from there. And the spirit of fear like a contagion latches onto the heart and mind of the racist’s victim, filling him with fear as well, until everyone is afraid. The fear torments the racist and the victim. It paralyses the victim and shuts down open communication. This is the adversary’s ultimate goal, especially as it relates to believers. If by the trauma of racism he can cause us to shrink away from relationship with groups of people, he can slow or stop the spread of the gospel. But God has not given us the spirit of fear, neither will we buckle under its threat. By prayer and intercession, we will remain open to all people if by any means we might save some.
Racism is not a new phenomenon. It is as old as the bible, and even older! When you really consider the basic narrative of the old testament, you realize that one of the underlying motives behind much of Israel’s struggles was good old fashioned racism. They were hated and persecuted for who they were, for what they believed, and for what they had. Their first real bout with racism came while they were settled in Egypt, when some of the officials became paranoid because of their number, their success, and the fact that they did not desire to assimilate completely into Egyptian culture. Oppression borne of racism became their solution.
Israel, armed with the precious promises of God cried out to Him, and in His time, God delivered them from racist hands and gave them their own place in the world.
God has a plan and a design for all people. His desire is that we will live together in peace, without being overly conscious of race. But as we learned Sunday, we live in the “now and not yet” of the kingdom of God. Christ’s kingdom is present and coming, at the same time. Therefore, we must also be:
It will do us little good, and could do us irreparable harm to attempt to hide our heads in the sand as if the current trouble does not exist. It would also be irresponsible. We should seek the good of the city (our nation), and according to the dictates of the Holy Spirit, we should engage our world to help facilitate the implementation of justice. What are some practical ways we can engage in the march toward justice?
First, we can write to our elected officials to express our concerns. We should encourage them to be vocal about the plight of American Asians, and ask them to provide us a detailed plan of how this issue of racial violence is being addressed and eradicated.
We should also give to reputable organizations that work for justice. Unfortunately, because our nation is so hyper-politicized, you may have a difficult time identifying organizations that do not align with one or the other side of the political spectrum. But this does not have to be a political decision. What you want to find is an organization that has a track record of bringing about just ends through just means. Conservative or liberal does not matter A just outcome is the only goal. And what does that justice look like? Well, that is something that you have to determine for yourself, and in consultation with people you love and trust.
My observation at the governmental level is that law enforcement is taking this matter seriously, arrests are being made, and offenders, when they can be identified are being punished. Since the government (police) are not the culprits, and some politicians may be only indirectly responsible for instigating this violence through irresponsible rhetoric, government reform may not be the most effective outcome. Government focus and vigilance may be the more effective way to deal with this challenge. Bottom line: Determine what justice should look like in this particular situation and find organizations to give to that focus in that area.
Another practical thing we can do is to have a plan of how we can protect our families. Whether by training our children to be aware of their surroundings, buying an alarm for our home, or any number of safety protocols we can do to protect the ones we love. This is something we are responsible to do whether there is a threat of violence or not. I hope we all take that responsibility seriously without becoming paranoid. It is possible to be aware and prepared without being overly-suspicious and paranoid.
Lastly, some may feel called to speak out publicly on this matter. While I am not the activist sort, I fully support anyone who wants to speak up for justice, so long as the activity is lawful, becoming a child of God, and measured by the Holy Spirit. If your activism is driven by human passion, it will not lead to just outcomes, only more anger and bitterness.
You have a right to work for justice. You have a responsibility to leave your posterity an inheritance of peace in this world.
Be spiritual. Be Biblical. Be Practical.
Be At Peace.