I like how my pastor always says that the bible is full of stories of real people dealing with real life issues. One real life issue the bible deals with is racism and prejudice. Paul wrote more than once about it in his epistles, letters. to churches. In Colossians 3 he wrote:
Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
In the early church there tended to be divisions at times between Jew and Gentile. In the Jewish mind at that time, there were only two groups of people, Jews and Gentiles. Jews even the ones who had become Christians, tended to be prejudiced against the Gentiles.
Another division was between slave and free. Slavery was common among all the cultures back then. Slaves would be face being looked down on by the free people and treated as less than.
Paul addressed this issue and what he wrote was a revolutionary idea at the time that in the church there were no Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free. There is only one way to become a Christian and part of the church, which is to come to faith in Christ asking him for forgiveness of sins. We come to the cross realizing our great need to forgiveness. At the cross, we are all equally sinners. It is a humbling thing to realize.
Paul wrote of how we should treat each other in the church addressing inner attitudes. He sums it up with love saying love binds all of the virtues together. It is a thought Martin Luther King some 2,000 years later emphasized when he said:
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”
Imagine the impact on the world if we who follow Jesus lived this out in the church and throughout our lives. We who follow Jesus should be to first to reject prejudice realizing prejudice and racism are sins against our fellow human beings and against God who created us. In our minds, there should only be two groups of people. those who know Jesus and those who out of love we want to see come to know Jesus.
Thank you for reading. God Bless.