Charlottesville is a lovely town located in the heart of Virginia. It’s a town I know very well because I have family and friends who attended the University of Virginia.
I would visit them by making the drive down from Northern Virginia through I-66 west and then heading south onto US-29. The drive was often beautiful and peaceful as I caught sight of the countryside and farmhouses that lined up the roadway.
It was nothing like what I saw on the television and in the news this past weekend in the Charlottesville area — Tiki-torch welding white nationalists protesting the removal of a statue, and then the violence that resulted in the death of Heather Heyer and two state troopers, whose helicopter crashed in the woods, and scores more injured.
I won’t mince words here. Racism is wrong and unjust. Bigotry and hatred of all forms is sinful and anti-Gospel. Neo-Nazis and white supremacists spew out an ideology full of evil.
It is easy to be silent and to not say or do anything at all. Maybe it is better to just pray, and pray we should. But when we see blatant evil, obvious hatred of others, bigotry and sin, we must step up and with absolute clarity call out evil, hatred and sin for what it is. Silence is complicity and we have to actively work against the bigotry and hatred that lies in the heart of this movement.
The Supremacy of Christ
The Scriptures are clear that while God created all the races of the world, He makes no distinction between Jews or Gentiles or any other race when it comes to the matter of salvation. Christ died to redeem people from every nation, tribe and tongue to be a part of His glorious Kingdom. Everyone has the same blood.
Acts 17:26 (KJV) states, “And he made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth.” We are not to think of ourselves more highly than others, but recognize that the blood above all other blood is the blood of Jesus.
The supremacy that matters the most is not white supremacy but the supremacy of Jesus above all things and above all peoples. Acts 10:34-35 states that we will be judged on how we treat others, for how we treat others is how we would treat Jesus. And by our love for one another, the world will see the reality and the truthfulness of the gospel at work in and through the lives of His people.
Confessing Our Sins
Racism does not align with God nor His Word, and as believers we should therefore abandon our own racial and prejudicial feeling and actions and embrace all as equal. After all, we are all created in the image of God.
We take on the reflection of the Trinity — unity in diversity. Jesus, the Son of God, gave up His rights and laid His life down for others. As a people of God who are redeemed not by our merits, our works, nor the color of our skin, we confess that racism is a sin, not only for individual Christians, but also for churches. Furthermore, to affirm that racism is a sin comes with the radial commitment to overcome it. Indeed, at times like this, we need to look to the Gospel all the more to give us the right perspective and hope.
We need to look inside our own hearts and see that within it, lies the same potential to hate and to do evil. We even become aware that racism is in us as well. If anything, these events should be a clarion call upon the church to repent and to live for what is right. This means not fighting with more fighting or violence with more violence, as lawlessness is never the way of God. Rather, we overcome evil with good, humbly knowing that we are no better. Compassion and love overcome anything evil at the end of the day.
Hate and hostility has been around for a long time. I am not surprised by what happened in Charlottesville. This is in the heart of man because we live in a broken world and we see the fallout of the depravity of man.
What happened in Charlottesville is not an isolated issue. No, this is a systemic issue. What we need is a bigger view of God and see Him as the ultimate God of justice. In God’s final judgment, we find great comfort and strength in knowing that God is faithful. His justice comforts us and gives us great hope.
Surely, racism, hate, and such evil will be overcome by the beauty and majestic and the justice of our great God. Through it all, the Lord is sovereign. Even this, God will flip it and use it for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose.
Justin Kim serves as the senior pastor of Bethel English Church in Irvine, CA and is on the SOLA Council.