The Roots of Racism

Racism has a brutal and devastating history no matter the continent it is found on, but the roots of racism are deeper than humanity itself.[1]

The roots of racism go back to man’s rebellion against their Creator. When man rebelled he began a process of self-preservation and self-promotion. This process over time has led to a variety of destructive behaviors, one of which is racism – the idea that one group of people is superior to another.

A surface reading of Scripture reveals that (1) racism is rampant, and (2) racism is sinful opposition to God’s Kingdom Plan. In John 4 we see Jesus makes an appointment with a Samaritan woman from Sychar. Here we see the Savior of the World take on the Sin of the World.

The Samaritans, seen as half-breeds by the Jews, were outcasts. Many a Jew would walk many extra miles to get to Galilee rather than go through Samaria to get there. Going back to the Assyrian oppression the Samaritans were the offspring of Jews and Assyrians. This ‘impurity’ led to them having their own place of worship (Mt. Gerizim). Thus in John 4 Jesus converses with the Samaritan woman about worship. She wants to discuss where to worship. Jesus; however, cuts straight to the Kingdom of God and in the Kingdom of God it is not so much where you worship but who you worship and how you worship. Thus Jesus insists that worship must be in Spirit (thus necessitating the Spirit and requiring a belief/trust in God the Father and now Jesus the Son) and in Truth (according to the revealed truth of God and His character).

The Sin of the World System leads to division and disdain, both of which Jesus flips on their head. In John 4 Jesus is conversing with a woman of a different ethnicity. Jesus is violating cultural barrios regarding ethnicity and gender. But these barriers are tradition derived, not Kingdom derived. As the Apostle Paul clearly expounds in Ephesians 2:14, the dividing wall has been removed. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, male or female – there is just one new people – Children of God! In Christ, racism disappears. This alone should be cause for people to see the benefits of Christianity but alas we too are plagued with the worldly notions of superiority and self-aggrandizement. We are little different from the Caesars of Rome in desiring to be king and having things our way.

The radical nature of God; however, is such that His love flows through us and abolishes (1) our desire to be first, and (2) our thinking that we are better than another group of people. As Satan via the serpent pitted man against God, so God came to destroy that enmity and bring reconciliation.

Self-centered pre-occupation and pride elevate our ancestry and heritage above others and Jesus comes in and destroys that, teaching us that it is the Kingdom of God that must rule our hearts and homes.

You don’t have to be a Hitler to elevate ethnicities. Our cultural upbringing does it for us. What people(s) are you most likely to look down on? Distrust? Not associate with? These are red flag areas that God is wanting to break down. These are areas that have lowered others to elevate self. Let us humble ourselves so that God does not have to humble us.

[1] Evolutionary ideas that man evolved from lesser animals provided further impetus to single out particular ethnicities as lower or lesser than others. Without the evolutionary mindset this may still be possible but it loses its ‘scientific’ credibility.


About Kevin M. Adams

M.Div.: Biblical Studies M.A.: Biblical Studies B.S.: Criminal Justice Diploma: Business Management 20 Years Youth Ministry 12 Years Food Service 9 Years School Teacher 7 Years Bus Driving 7 Years Church Planter/Pastor Enjoy Camping, Canoeing, Photography, Tennis (not good!), Reading
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