How Did Jesus Respond to "Others"?
Jesus came to save the whole world, he confronted racism, and he commanded his disciples to preach to every nation. Jewish people believed that Samaritans were second class people who they weren’t supposed to talk to, touch, or even be in their presence. Jesus would have grown up knowing the hatred and division between Jews and Samaritans. Yet in two powerful accounts recorded in the Gospels, Jesus challenged the racism and prejudice that existed between Jews and Samaritans.
Jesus did the unimaginable when he approached the Samaritan woman at the well (see John 4). Jesus, a Jewish man, took time to speak with a Samaritan woman. He treated her honestly and showed her mercy, he told her that he was indeed the Messiah, and invited her into eternal life.
Jesus also shared a radical parable in which the hero of the story was a Samaritan (see Luke 10). Once again, Jesus spoke against the racism that existed between Jewish people and Samaritans through a powerful story. Jesus did not judge by appearances, or rank one person higher than another.
Jesus spoke to, interacted with, and ate with everyone because He loved everyone the same despite what they looked like or where they were from.
How Does God Feel about Racism?
“There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies, and a person who stirs up conflict in the community” (Proverbs 6:16-17).
There is no passage that specifically answers the question of how God feels about racism, but Scripture gives us plenty of guidance about God’s love for all people, God’s hand in creation, and what the Lord does hate.
Pride, dishonesty, and conflict are found at the root of racism; all are evil that God hates. Racism leads to a plethora of injustices, discrimination, and outpouring of evil toward fellow human beings. When we judge the fruit of racism, we see that this only produces evil, pain, and strife.
In the New Testament, Paul wrote a powerful insight to the church of Ephesus:
“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility” (Ephesians 2:14).
Jesus tore down the divisions of hate and prejudice between groups that hated one another. Some of Jesus’ ministry on earth was aimed at opposing racism. Racism is a grave consequence of the fall, and part of the redemptive work that Jesus did was to begin deconstructing racist ideologies and challenging the evil of racism in the world.
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