Reflecting Christ in Racism

Kathleen Patterson
Kathleen Patterson, Ph.D. is a professor at the School of Business & Leadership, Regent University, and serves on the board of CareNet.

It's not you. It's not me. It's us.

It's not your problem. It's not my problem. It's our problem.

And we do have a problem here in America. A racial problem.

This past weekend white supremacist protestors gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia to protest the removal of a confederate statue.

Freedom of speech, I understand. Squandering that freedom through hate, I do not understand. Hate, I understand. It is on full display in Charlottesville, Virginia with those who proclaim a one race society.

Where are the Christians? Where is the voice of love, of unity, and of Christ?

Many of my friends spent the day advocating their race and their point of view, creating divisive conversations. As long as we stay on our side of the fence, defend and promote that side — we are part of the problem. Let's stop taking sides, instead we can start talking about "us," start seeing "our" issue and how "we" can solve it and how "we" can move forward.

In this hour we have to reflect our Christ. The call of the life in Christ is high.

Ephesians 4 summons us all to live worthy (v. 1) with one another in lowliness, meekness, longsuffering and forbearing one another in love (v. 2). To seek unity and peace (v. 3). Things get serious in verse 4 — we are one body and one spirit. If we are indeed "one" we cannot dissent from one another or promote our self agenda as we are no longer for self, we are for "one" and must seek unity. If I think of myself let it be only in repentance and sorrow, and if I think of others let it be forgiveness and mercy.

The chapter ends with a beautiful call to believers (all of us) "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you" (v. 31-32).

We are to be kind, tenderhearted, forgiving … to be low, meek, longsuffering and loving — seeking unity and peace. If we are to do these things it cannot be me or you, it has to be us.

If we are to live and reflect Christ, racism cannot be my problem or your problem, it has to be our problem. For unless my heart breaks for yours and yours for mine, we are not one. And we desperately need to be one, as in, you know — the Church — one in Christ, the unified body. The only true hope we have for racial healing will begin in the church, with a focus on Christ, and pure love stemming from those of us who claim the name of Christ.

Kathleen Patterson, Ph.D. is a professor at the School of Business & Leadership, Regent University, and serves on the board of CareNet.

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