There has been a tremendous amount of news on racial issues in spite of the election cycle news. It is often believed that there are different races of people but the Bible teaches that there is only one. This means that we all share the same ancestry at some point and are all related. This should make a huge difference in how we treat each other.
There is not a day that goes by when we don’t hear something about illegal immigrants, refugees and even racial tensions. This past summer I had the chance to visit Ellis Island while visiting New York City. It was an eye opening experience for me. I was reminded of the fact that we as have always wrestled with immigration as a nation. It seems that it is really a struggled to embrace those different than ourselves. My goal is not to address the current immigration issues but encourage us to realize that we have more in common with others than we realize.
The Bible teaches that every human being is a descendantt of Noah and his three sons Shem, Ham and Japheth. It is believed, based on early genealogy records of European Royalty that those of European ancestry are descendants of Noah’s son Japheth. The point is we are all descendants of one of Noah’s sons and therefore we are related. Bible students know that the physical and cultural diversity are the result of God’s judgement upon humanity at the Tower of Babel. God’s judgement did more than just change the languages of the families represented in the Genesis 10 list of nations. It would also contribute to their dissemination around the world, eventually the evolution of new cultures would contribute to unique physical characteristics based on the limited DNA pool of each family. This means that the world is not filled with different races of people, but rather the world is filled with one race of people.
There are many application that we can draw from the truths above, but I would like to touch on what I believe is the most important. It is that Jesus’ followers are called to share His love with all peoples. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) I have had the opportunity to encounter several different ethnic groups in our country and around the world. What I have learned is that they may dress differently, eat different types of food and even think a little differently but they are people just like me. They are people that Jesus Christ sacrificed His life for at Calvary. Our commission as Christ’s followers is to bring His message to all people groups. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”” (Acts 1:8)
I believe that there are three things that we can do immediately and others as the Lord opens doors. First, pray. Prayer makes a difference. Pray for those people and situations around that invade our lives every day through media. Second, act. Model the love of Christ through your actions towards others that are different than you. Our actions are the mark that Jesus reveals that demonstrate that we truly are His followers. And third, share. Share the message of Jesus verbally. We must never forget that it is only through the power of the Gospel that the barriers created by our differences are broken down.
-Pastor Joe Parkinson