How Do I Overcome Racist Thoughts and Feelings?

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How Do I Overcome Racist Thoughts and Feelings?

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Racism is one of the most hotly debated and discussed topics of the past several years, with the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, consistent news coverage and analysis, college classes focused entirely on the topic and large-scale societal discussions of repatriation, restitution and equity.

While there have been a lot of discussion revolving around this topic, a definition of what constitutes racism has proven difficult to nail down. In its simplest form, when a person looks at individuals of another race or culture as inferior to themselves in some way based purely on the color of their skin and not the content of their character, then by definition that person has exhibited racist thoughts and feelings.

Overcoming racist thoughts and feelings requires a change of mind and seeing all people as God sees them—as made in His image, with the same glorious future potential to be in His eternal family.

The apostle Paul makes the point that when it comes to spiritual inheritance, gender, social class and race make no difference. God sees all of his creation as potential children in His family. If a person is baptized in Christ and receives God’s Holy Spirit through the process we see outlined in scripture, and if that individual yields themselves to God’s Holy Spirit, allowing it to lead them, then they are heirs of the promise, the very children of God (Galatians 3:28 Galatians 3:28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
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, Romans 8:14 Romans 8:14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
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).

It doesn’t matter if they are black or white. It doesn’t matter if they are poor or well-off, it doesn’t matter if they are male or female. The presence of God’s Holy Spirit within them unifies them as one body in Christ Jesus (Romans 12).

As a result of this—when we pass judgment on someone else because of the color of their skin, we exhibit partiality, which is sin (James 2:9 James 2:9But if you have respect to persons, you commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.
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). We must repent of that sin and bring ourselves in line with God’s own viewpoint on the topic of race outlined in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Repentance comes from the Greek word, metanoeó, meaning “to change one’s mind.” As Christians we are all striving to change our minds and put on the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16 1 Corinthians 2:16For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
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). We must pray to God and ask for repentance from a great number of things, but if we are specifically struggling with racist thoughts and feelings, praying to God earnestly to change our mind and help us to see the potential in all of mankind is essential.

Our great God is not a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34-35 Acts 10:34-35 [34] Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: [35] But in every nation he that fears him, and works righteousness, is accepted with him.
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). He shows no partiality, calling people of every race and land (Acts 17:26-27 Acts 17:26-27 [26] And has made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; [27] That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
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). We must repent and believe in the Gospel of the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:15 Mark 1:15And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent you, and believe the gospel.
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) and work to bring every thought into captivity (2 Corinthians 10:5 2 Corinthians 10:5Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
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) as we mature to the full measure of the stature of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:13 Ephesians 4:13Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:
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).