For many young black Americans today, particularly millennials, the pursuit of “social justice” has become somewhat of a raison d’être (the sole reason for which a person or organization exists).
Being convinced that both their personhood and purpose are first and foremost founded in their racial and ethnic identity, they live by the credo: “Before I am anything else, I am black.”
This “black-first” mindset has given rise to a belief among these young people that, “Whatever happens to any black person happens also to me.” As such, their “righteous indignation,” such as it is, over perceived acts of injustice is purely subjective.
Their anger, for lack of a better word, is rooted solely in identifying racially with the “victim” of said injustice.
If the victim of what they perceive to be oppression is “black like me”, then, the right and requisite response must be to cry out for “Justice!” Conversely, if the victim happens to not be black, then, not only was there no injustice but I also absolve myself of any responsibility to care about what maltreatment may actually have occurred and why.
To that end, if my so-called “blackness” has become such a god to me that the degree to which my conscience is moved by acts of injustice is predicated upon the extent to which my own subjective standard of race-based morality has been violated – as opposed to being convicted that God’s objective standard of righteousness, which applies to all people equitably, has been contravened – then I must confess and repent of my idolatry.
And racism is idolatry because it exalts that which was created, namely race, above that of its Creator (Romans 1:21-25).
If there is a poor man with you, on of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you should shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks. You shall generously give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings. For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.’ – Deuteronomy 15:7-8, 10-11 (NASB)
We must be honest enough to acknowledge that this race-centered view of injustice has in fact been embraced by many black Christians.
Their rationale is that because Jesus had (and has) a particular concern for the poor and oppressed of the world (Luke 14:13-14; Mark 10:21; Matthew 5:3) – and who is more oppressed today than black people? – it is not sinful for them to possess the biased sentiments they harbor within their own hearts.
In seeing the world as if through race-colored glasses, they define terms like oppression and injustice within a construct that is shaped more by humanist sociology than biblical theology. Consequently, in their pursuit of social justice the ends – including their racial attitudes – justify the means. Hence, they see themselves as ‘warriors’ not racists because, in their minds anyway, their cause is inherently “righteous” in itself.
The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. – 1 John 2:9-11, 4:20 (NASB)
The sin of injustice is no excuse for the sin of racism (Romans 12:17).
As Christians, the indignation we may feel over the egregious mistreatment of one person by another, irrespective of the race of either the perpetrator or the victim, does not give us the right to respond with our own nefarious actions and attitudes (Luke 6:27-38).
That followers of Christ would be in any way prejudiced toward anyone because of the race or ethnicity with which God Himself endowed them (Acts 17:26) is sin – period.
The God who Himself shows no partiality (Romans 2:11) cannot – and will not – condone any expressions of racism on the part of those who profess to believe in Him. Because, believe it or not, the same God who created you in His image created every other human being in His image as well (Genesis 1:27).
In whatever manner we might be treated unjustly by someone, the model for how you and I are to respond is Jesus Christ (Mark 14:64-65, 15:16-20). For nothing we encounter in this world, regardless the situation or circumstance, will ever rise to the level of indignation and humiliation Christ endured on the cross for sinners like you and me (Ephesians 5:1-2).
I realize the tone of this post may seem rather harsh, but if there was one thing Jesus despised during His earthly ministry it was hypocrisy (Luke 6:42).
The truth is often difficult to accept.
This is especially true when you and I are confronted with the deprecatory truth about ourselves.
Darrell B. Harrison is a Reformed Baptist, theologian, U.S. Army veteran, and blogger. He blogs at JustThinking.me.
The views expressed in opinion articles are solely those of the author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by Black Community News.