In Ephesians chapter two, Paul states that Christ has "torn down the dividing wall that stood between us." When Paul writes this, he is speaking of the deep divisions that existed between Jews and Gentiles. These divisions were continuing to wreak havoc within many of the churches that Paul had a hand in founding. As Paul makes clear, such divisions are illusory, and have no place within the kingdom of newness established in Christ Jesus. This is not the only place where Paul places a strong emphasis on the importance of Christian unity. It's not a stretch to say that it was one of his major themes; that all are made one in Christ Jesus. So, it's not just about the wall of hostility that stood between Jews and Gentiles. Any wall that stands between any two people groups is toppled by the transcendent presence of God as Jesus reveals Him. Most of these dividing walls are comprised of surface issues; differences that are rendered of no consequence by the boundless love of the Father.
No issue could be less significant than skin color, and no attitude could be less Christian than racism. And yet, this shallow difference is what accounts for most of what keeps us alienated from our brothers and sisters in Christ. To treat someone harshly because of racial and cultural difference is in direct defiance of the Gospel mandate. Further, to exclude someone because of racial or cultural difference causes us to miss out on much of what God is trying to teach us.
Racial isolation is a spiritually dangerous state that is fraught with political and economic implications. When groups of people avoid each other, the group with the fewest members and the least amount of power is bound to suffer. Monopolizing power, and demonizing those who threaten it, has sadly become second nature for us humans. Therefore, taking direct action against racial isolation is a Christian imperative. This ensures that justice is shared, and that we don't inadvertently shove folks to the margins. Besides, Christ reveals himself through a myriad of cultures. To avoid a people group is to avoid the voice of God. It is not for us only that He has come, and it is not through us only that He reveals Himself.
- Have a conversation with someone from a different culture/people group. Make listening your primary objective.
- Drive or walk through an ethnically diverse community within your city. Do this on a regular basis. Look for Jesus.
- Attend church in this ethnically diverse community once a month. It doesn’t have to be on Sunday morning. Make it happen.