Show Some Respect

For us to accurately look at the topic of racism we have to rewind time. Not a century, not three centuries, but to the very beginning of time. On the very first page of the Bible we read that God created mankind in his own image.

(Read Genesis 1:26-27)

The Hebrew words we read hear are important in our understanding of this subject. We read the word yabirah, which means to create, shape, or form. It was God who did the creating. Many of us have created something in our lives. It might be a piece of art, a musical composition, an improvement in your home, a computer program, or a loving marriage. When we create something we take pleasure in that.

The Bible teaches us that God shaped each person. God created us. Think about every person you have had contact with in life, the guy speeding on the freeway, the lady in the airport, the kid in the store. Each of those people are created by God. Let me take it one step further, not just created, but created on purpose. God didn’t accidentally make people. God had a purposeful plan in creating each and every one of us.

God tells us another important fact here. We are created in his image. We have one Hebrew word: besalemhu that informs us we are created in the image of God. Literally it means the visible appearance of his image. God created us in his image. If we put this together we learn that we are created in the image of God. We are image bearers of God. Not just me. Not just you. Every person is an image bearer of God. Every person in the entire world is created in the image of God.

When we treat people in a racist way we are disrespecting God. It hurts to say that and it hurts to hear that. We need to make this personal if we are going to grow in our understanding of Scripture. When we speak, act, or think a racist thought we are insulting God for what he created on purpose. If I act in a racist manner, I am ignoring the image of God imprinted on that person. Some of us need to change the way we view people today. We need to view every person we’ve ever interacted with as created in the image of God.

I think if we are going to see a change in our world it has to come from the church. We are the ones that God has commissioned to see people in his image. There are people in our world who still think they are better than others and that must stop. It means we need to get out of our comfort zones. It means we need to expand our little circle and include more people in the family of God.

After I gave my life to Christ I went back to college. I was working on my Associates Degree and registered for classes late. The only history class I could get was a Black History class. I knew God wanted to change my thinking but I didn’t think it would happen this quickly.

My first night of class I had been out of jail for maybe a couple weeks. I had a shaved head and was one of two white people in the class. Every Monday night I went to that class and sat and listened. I learned about racism that still took place in our country. I saw how my brothers in Christ had been hurt. I saw how my sisters in Jesus had been mistreated. I made a silent commitment that I would fight against that type of hatred. I knew that racism was not symbiotic with the gospel message. Check out the order here: Christ changed me first and then Christ used the class to accelerate that change.

The next time we look at a person we need to look at their eyes. We need to see them as created in the image of God. We know there is a problem with race in America right now. We also know what the Bible teaches. Jesus tells us, in John 13:34-35, that the heart of a Jesus follower must be filled with love, that is how the world will be able to tell us apart. Jesus has called us to a higher calling.

Neal Benson

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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