Racism isn't a skin problem, but a sin problem, and we as Christians need to learn how to combat such sinful behavior and spread the love of God to everyone, preached Pastor Craig Groeschel.
In his latest sermon for his "How to Neighbor" series, the pastor of Life.Church, one of the largest evangelical churches in America, addressed the topic of racism and how it is our responsibility, "as Jesus followers, [to] lead the way in showing love to everyone."
It is our responsibility as Christians to shun racist behavior because ultimately, racism is a sin issue, rather than a skin issue, as none of us are born racist, the pastor says. Rather, we develop racism through our experiences.
There are multiple references in the Bible that indicate Jesus' desire for us to avoid racism, as seen in Luke 10:29, the story of the Good Samaritan, in which Jesus teaches that it doesn't matter who your neighbor is because God assumes everyone is your neighbor.
Instead of teaching us who our neighbor is, Jesus teaches us how to neighbor to everyone.
This story of the Good Samaritan, in which a Samaritan helps a Jew who has been beaten and left for dead, shows us the "heart of the Gospel," Groeschel highlights, as it teaches us about "[…] loving God and loving others […] even if they are different from us and, some may argue, especially if they are different from us."
When tackling the topic of racism, there are three important reminders for Christians to follow: we need to recognize our prejudices, we need to seek to understand others, and we need to love those who are different than us, Groeschel says.
"It takes courage, it takes honesty, it takes integrity to recognize truthfully any prejudices, any racism, to admit it before God, and to repent," the pastor says. "Racism is unacceptable to God, it's unacceptable to us, [and] it will not be tolerated in church."
The pastor also notes that racism is not only the presence of hatred, but also the absence of love, and therefore, we must combat racism because it goes against God's infinite gift of love, given to us when Jesus died on the cross for our sins.
Because we have been given this gift, we must in turn spread it to others, Groeschel continues, telling the congregation that "because I have been freely loved by [Jesus], I reflect that type of love to others."
Groeschel adds that showing love to all of our neighbors will set us apart as Christians, referencing John 13:35, which reads: "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another" (NIV).
The Oklahoma pastor also points to Romans 10:13, which states that "'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'"
This verse teaches us that we are all one in Christ, and we need to love our neighbor as we love ourself.
"Every single one of us can be a small part of the solution," Groeschel concludes.