There is a lot of talk on the Internet about racism, and many are being called, 'racist' due to the problems we are facing in our country today.
But what exactly is a racist, and why do people call others 'racists'?
Another word for racist would be 'bigot'. It has the connotation of superiority over another group or bias toward a group or race of people.
Here is the dictionary definition of racist:
a person who believes that a particular race is superior to another.
synonyms: racial bigot, racialist, xenophobe, chauvinist, supremacist More
having or showing the belief that a particular race is superior to another.
"we are investigating complaints about racist abuse at the club"
What we are facing today has to do with the question of boundaries. Is it wrong to have boundaries? If one does have boundaries, is he or she a racist?
The implication is, if we have boundaries (which everyone should have and use properly) then it means we are separating ourselves from another group. By default, according to many, that means we are superior to the group we are placing boundaries around.
What I really think this means though, is that, if we don't have boundaries and if we don't use our God-given boundaries, then we can be 'tolerant' of others and they can take advantage of us, if they choose to do so. In other words, we have to give up our boundaries in order for us to be 'tolerant' of others. Does God want us to be a doormat and let others walk all over us? Did Jesus have boundaries while He was on earth?
This whole idea of separating ourselves from others and being superior is quite interesting. I am not sure that separating ourselves from others means that we think we are superior to others. But that is exactly what our culture teaches. If we are inclusive, then we are bigoted. At least, according to the culture.
Why is this though? Well, could it be partly due to what the culture believes about truth? Our culture today will tell you that truth is what you want it to be. If you believe you are a dog, then, that is your truth and your truth tells you that you are a dog. If you are a male, who wants to be a female, then your truth is that you are a female. That is what culture believes. So, if Jesus says that He is the only way to heaven, people will say that that is His truth, and whoever want's to believe in Him, it is their truth. At the same time, the culture will say that Jesus is being bigoted because of His claim.
Listen, this goes on and on. Young adults who profess to believe in Jesus being the only way will say that that is true for themselves, but it might not be true for a Muslim, for example. They believe that when a Muslim dies, and if that Muslim never turned to Christ, that he or she will be ok before God because that is their truth. Do you see the dilemma here?
It goes back to having no absolutes. If there is nothing concrete, then we can believe whatever we want to. But what if something is concrete? What if God is concrete and His word is final? Whether that is truth to us or not, we will all stand before Him one day and give account of our lives. Now that is truth!
Back to the culture. Years ago, I helped out with a business phone book that was being put together. It was for Christian businessmen (or women). You would not believe the reaction of the world concerning this upcoming phone directory. We were looked at as bigoted and bias, and of course, inclusive. People assumed that because it was a phone book for Christians, that it was excluding everyone else, and they didn't think that was fair.
If a Muslim group were putting a business directory together for Muslim business men, I would have no desire to be listed in it. Why should I feel like they are bigoted against me because their phone directory was only for Muslims? I would have no right to complain about that. They have every right to put together a phone directory for their community.
So, why is it that a person who has standards and one who sees danger and warns others is called a bigot (or racist)? It's making a stretch out of something that doesn't necessarily exist. It's creating a 'straw man' or a false theory that is taken to be fact.
We can't judge what is in a person's heart. We don't have the right to say, so and so did that action because they were ............ (fill in the blank). That is why we have court systems. The judges try to figure out the motives of the person who did the crime. But we think we know people's hearts. Our hearts are so deceitful that even the person who does wrong doesn't necessarily understand why he did what he did.
We have a presidential candidate who is being called a 'bigot'. I wondered why, for a long time. But then I remembered, it was because he wants to put up a wall in our country, separating us from Mexico. I also remember that it is because he doesn't want to have tons of refugees pouring into our country with no accountability on them. But I have to ask, is that really bigotry?
Maybe the whole thing goes back way deeper into another belief system. Perhaps some really believe that people are good. Maybe some have overlooked the incident at the Pulse night club in Orlando, Florida. Maybe some have forgotten about 911. Could this be why people believe that the Holocaust never took place?
This may truly be the reason why people think those who have set boundaries around them are bigoted. Because, it is like saying, people really aren't that bad. You don't need to lock your doors at night. You are judging people. It's ok that pedophiles are in our neighborhoods. They probably don't mean to hurt our children. What are you so down on them? Most people are trying to be good and nice.
I like the Bible verse that talks about how Jesus did not entrust Himself to man, for He knew what was in man. There were times when Jesus hid Himself from people who were trying to kill Him. Was Jesus wrong in doing that? Wouldn't that be assuming that people are bad and dangerous? Hmmm.
Yes, we need boundaries around us. We need protection from other people. That doesn't mean that we can't get to know people and learn to trust them. Trust has to be earned. You wouldn't trust your newborn baby with someone walking down the street that you don't know, would you? You wouldn't trust your 10 year old with the car keys, and you wouldn't leave your children at the beach or an amusement park all day by themselves. We all know what could happen when we do such things.
Everything must be done with humility. When we point out a wrong or potential danger, if we have a superiority about it, then those who don't appreciate boundaries will accurately accuse us of being superior. We are to be like one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.
The truth is, all of us are on the same plane. We are in the same boat (excuse the puns!). There is a God who is way bigger than we are, to whom we will all give account of our lives. We are small and flawed. We all need Someone to rescue us from our sins. There is no race or group that is an exception to this. To believe in the One who can rescue us is not an act of bigotry. God is inviting all to come to Him. When someone rejects the invitation, he is excluding himself from the kingdom of God. He or she will have no one to blame but himself/herself on that Day.