God is opposed to racism, in part, because He is against anything that stands in the way of mission. Though rarely talked about, of all the reasons why people shy away from sharing the good news, racism is one of the ugliest and longest running.
To hate another for their ethnicity is to declare ugly the beautiful diversity God insists He will have in His person for eternity. Revelation 7:9 tells us, “After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. And they were shouting with a great roar, ‘Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!’” When a race thinks so much of itself that it feels superior to the “created of another shade” it effectively disfigures the picture God is painting. Racism dulls the multi-hued mural heaven is piecing together. If God intends a mixed multitude to enhance the beauty of His eternal choirs in paradise, then Sundays should provide a window into glory.
Racism is not only ugly, it is age-old. While it is a trending topic today, it has long been a hindrance to mission. Thousands of years ago, one of the greatest missionaries was constantly abused on this point. Paul’s synagogue mates could tolerate much of his message but Acts 22:21-22 reminds us that their religion veiled their racism and it would not stand mission. “But the Lord said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles!'” The crowd listened until Paul said that word. Then they all began to shout, “Away with such a fellow! He isn't fit to live!”
The simple truth is that those who despise other races are less concerned about God’s heart for “all nations”. Hate always hinders efforts to provide all with the good granted by the gospel. Let it not be so among us. May we rise above the ugliness of the times and let the love of God guide us into a life for people and on mission.
- Micah McElveen