Sunday, July 4, 2010

Say No To Racism

For those of you who have been watching the World Cup of Soccer, you may be familiar with this slogan that I have used as the title for this blog entry. Being a multi-cultural family, we are learning a lot about the underlying of prejudice and racism that infects our world. At the root of racism is comparison...the innate desire we have to define ourselves as "greater than" or "less than" another person. It is this slight error in perception that amplifies itself into the larger issue we refer to as racism today.

Here is but one example of billions of stories that could be told about how comparison infects us all. On the way home from our vacation we stopped off to pickup dinner at a Safeway location in Calgary. As our family was going through the check out, Cannon was saying "Hi Dad" to which I was responding of course. The cashier looked at me and said..."You're not his Dad" to which I replied, "Yes I am, he is our son. We adopted him." What occurred after this I will not take the time to repeat. To briefly summarize our conversation over groceries, Bonny & I being white people must think that we are better than everyone else and that's why we adopted because only white people adopted kids that don't look like them. Bonny & I were stunned. We left Safeway not knowing how to respond other than saying that was not our purpose for adopting our son. To this point, we have not faced a great amount of adversity as a family regarding the choices we have made to be obedient to what God has asked us to do.

As I pondered this experience, prayed through it and sought some clarification on how to respond when faced with similar situations in the future, I found comfort in God's word. There is a story in the book of Acts that brought me much comfort and clarity. In chapter 10 of this book, the apostle Peter is confronted in his own racism (or his choice to compare). Many Jews believed that salvation was only permitted to those of Jewish heritage. Peter was under this impression. In this story, however, Peter is prompted by the Spirit of God to visit a man named Cornelius...someone who was not Jewish, and someone who understood what it meant to have a relationship with God. Verses 34 & 35 record Peter's conclusion regarding this experience.

I realize now that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.

Sometimes is takes a "brick wall" experience for us to understand how much we have to learn about life, about God and about what it means to love people like He does. When we choose to compare ourselves with others, we are showing favoritism...we are choosing racism over love. God in His infinite wisdom and grace chose to create each of us as a unique person unlike any other. Yes, we may have similarities but we are not exactly the same. And God loves each of us equally, whether we choose to recognize it or not. Each of us needs to continually grow in our understanding of what real love is. In doing so, we may begin to learn how to truly say no to racism by making different choices.

Who are the unlovable people in your life? Have you given yourself permission not to love someone? I challenge you to consider what it would mean to say no to racism, to stop making the verbal or non-verbal statements of comparison about others and instead view people in light of God's grace and mercy. We are all created in the image of God regardless of color, gender, social status or anything else. May God give us the strength and wisdom to love those around us like He loves them, without falling into the trap of comparing ourselves to others.

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A Little Something from Psalm 8

 Had a lot of fun with this one.