A Tipping Point in Hatred
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Charlottesville: A Tipping Point in Hatred
"O God of every nation,
of every race and land.
Redeem the whole creation
with your almighty hand."
On Aug. 12th, 2017, the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, brought out some of the worst actions and ideas humanity has to offer. When a political rally involving extremist groups turned violent, the unthinkable happened. A young man, attending the rally in support of the so-called "alt-right," slammed his vehicle into a crowd of counter-protesters. He ended the life of a young woman that day and injured another 19 people. What could motivate someone to commit this ISIS-style terrorist attack?
The attacker was seen and photographed earlier that day at the rally, sporting neo-Nazi symbols and wearing one group's uniform. This same group described fascism as "the next step for America" and warned people to "beware the international Jew" (Jason Wilson, "Charlottesville: Man Charged With Murder Was Pictured at Neo-Nazi Rally," The Guardian, Aug. 13, 2017).
Many photographs have been taken of men with torches at this event. Swastikas, Confederate battle flags, and Ku Klux Klan paraphernalia were sported by numerous rally-goers. Some even performed what has become known as the "Nazi salute" and chanted Nazi-related slogans. And to add to the turmoil and opportunity for violence, so-called "alt-left" demonstrators showed up ready to confront those on the opposite end of the spectrum. It was a clash ready to explode into violence.
Let's become bright spots in this dark world by reflecting God's love and charity to others, illuminating the lives of all we encounter.
Such turmoil, hate, and violence is heartbreaking. How can racist and even Nazi ideas persist and grow in the United States of America still today? The God of the Bible instructs us otherwise, and yet these bigoted and disgusting ideologies endure. Let's examine the biblical evidence against racial superiority and discover God's thoughts on this issue. Will there be any relief from racial violence in the future?
The Bible explicitly tells us God "made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth" (Acts 17:26). God did not make separate or better bloods for some races or peoples; He made one. To discriminate and say one's own lineage or race is superior to another's is an overt heresy. Similarly, a Christian has no business making excuses for or defending racial prejudice. To justify racism or racial violence is an abomination before God (Proverbs 17:15).
Indeed, God does not show partiality (Acts 10:34). He does not "play favorites" with some races by having a "superior" white supremacy race, as Nazis and white supremacists believe. Since God does not judge us by our skin color or ethnicity, how does He judge us? By our hearts and by what we do. Everyone who fears God and "works righteousness is accepted by Him" (Acts 10:35). In God's eyes, "there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female" (Galatians 3:28-29). Everyone has the potential to serve and be united in Christ.
John the Baptist encountered and confronted thoughts of racial superiority in Jesus' day. The Jews often thought themselves superior to the Gentiles due to their "special" ancestry. However, God was deeply disappointed with their unrighteousness. "Do not think to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones" (Matthew 3:9). We cannot get entangled in the same sin of partiality the Pharisees and Sadducees did.
Even in the time of ancient Israel, God's specific command was to not mistreat the foreign-born among the people (Leviticus 19:34). He ordered them to not be prejudiced or unjust to those of a different race because of their lineage, but to instead treat them as though they were of the same race (Leviticus 19:35). This standard is still true today. God calls on us to love those of other races as ourselves, echoing the second of the two great commandments. God's command to love our neighbors knows no exceptions (Luke 10:25-37).
The sin of racism has no place among God's people. It is an unjust and unbiblical lie. Today, we have the opportunity to fellowship and worship with many different brethren in God's Church. We have the privilege of traveling far and wide in observance of God's Holy Days, especially the Feast of Tabernacles. I am always amazed by the many races, ethnic backgrounds and walks of life God has called together into His Church. It is one of His great miracles that a group of people so diverse in everything else can be so united so strongly in something bigger. What a blessing it is to be called into God's family.
Sadly, racial prejudice has certainly found a place in the world around us. Satan has taken racism and used it as a tool with surgical precision, slicing and dicing the human race into angry, violent, torch-and-pitchfork-carrying mobs. And, as distressing and heart-wrenching as it may be, violence is prophesied to increase as the world moves into the end times (2 Timothy 3:1-5). The trends of racism will probably get worse before they get better. But is there a brighter future to look forward to? Can we see into a tomorrow without racism?
Yes! God gives us great hope when times seem the darkest. No matter what nation or race we come from today, we have a richer, better country and family that we can join tomorrow. By confessing that we are strangers to the world, and in search of a better homeland, God has begun to prepare a new place for us (Hebrews 11:13-16). Rather than enjoying the passing pleasures of sin, we do choose to suffer in the short-term (Hebrews 11:24-27). But in the long run, we can enjoy a Kingdom of peace, justice and love with God on earth.
God paints a striking picture of what this world tomorrow will be like. The nations and the races that exist in conflict today will be united and at peace with one another tomorrow! "In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian will come into Egypt and the Egyptian in to Assyria, and the Egyptians will serve with the Assyrians. In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria--a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, 'Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance'" (Isaiah 19:23-25).
Christians are called to live apart from and have nothing to do with every sinful and perverse way of this world (2 Corinthians 6:17). Racial hatred is no exception. So many lives have been lost and dreams have been shattered by this dark, devilish influence. I encourage you to pray, asking God to heal the racial scars that tatter the world. Let's sigh and cry together for the injustices that have taken place and plead for God's guidance moving forward (Ezekiel 9:4). We can look forward to His Kingdom, when the virulent and deplorable ways of today will be extinct and loathsome things of the past. Let's become bright spots in this dark world by reflecting God's love and charity to others, illuminating the lives of all we encounter. Don't give in to hatred.
"Where hate and fear divide us
and bitter threats are hurled,
in love and mercy guide us,
and heal our strife-torn world."