Can you believe it? We’ve already made it to the midway point of our new sermon series, Precious in His Sight. This week Brandon Clements walked us through trying to better understand that racism is a “bigger than an individual” kind of problem.
To get to the heart of racism we should remember what we talked about in the first week, that we are all created as a part of the imago dei, the image of God. It’s the picture that in every human face, you can see some likeness to God. When we reject a person and the way that they were made, we reject the bit of God that He has placed in them. Racism is one of the obvious ways in which we do this.
These rejections of the imago dei can affect us on personal, systematic, institutional, or cultural levels when something bigger than the individual communicates this rejection of the imago dei in a person or people group.
Now, to get started for this week’s sermon, Brandon defined 3 key Scriptural ideas for us.
- Justice- fair, right treatment of people that recognizes and affirms the imago dei
- Injustice- unfair, incorrect treatment of people that denies the imago dei
- Oppression- injustice at the hands of someone in power
Brandon also gave us a litany of Bible passages to affirm that God’s heart is for justice, and that He hates injustice and oppression. We learned that to ignore injustice and oppression insults God, and that He has actually charged His people with caring for those that are typically oppressed by the societies in which they live in.
It seems that America is not unique, and that every culture throughout human history has been built off of a people group that are pushed out to the fringes; marginalized. However, it also seems that Scripture is offering us a new design for caring for the oppressed in light of what is happening in God’s Kingdom.
However, to know how to respond to the oppressed, we have to know who is being oppressed and how. To do this, Brandon gave us four distinct ways that oppression shows itself in society.
- Obvious and Systematic Oppression- State Sponsored Racism. These are things like Jim Crow, segregation, genocide, and slavery.
- Obvious and Personal Oppression- Individual Hatred. These are the evident biases you hold against other people groups or cultures and manifest in hate speech, in racially charged shootings like in Charleston, etc.
- Inconspicuous and Systematic Oppression- Institutional Inequality. These are the instances where we are pretty sure the system is working against a people group, but would have to do a lot of asking and research to get to the bottom of it. Think of things like the wealth gap, inner-city versus rural education systems, cultural standards etc.
- Inconspicuous and Personal Oppression- Individual Prejudice. These are the subtle comments or blanket generalizations that make you cringe at Thanksgiving. It’s the fascination with interracial couples, or the “you’re really well spoken for an insert ethnic group that isn’t yours.
This is our cultural analysis. We have seen these instances of racism as they have appeared in our society. And to be clear, these are still problems that still affect our society. With that in mind, Brandon tried to help us figure out what we can do as Christians to respond to these types of racism and oppression.
- We can Ask the Holy Spirit
- We can watch out for injustice.
- We can do good deeds according to our ability.
- We can correct ignorance.
There was a lot more to be said about racism and injustice and oppression in this week’s sermon. More than ever, we’d encourage you to list to the audio of the sermon with the link below. We’ve got a long way to go in terms of reconciliation, but we know that God and God’s people are the uniquely equipped to effectively tackle this as family!
Songs from this Week:
All I Have is Christ- Sovereign Grace Music
He Will Hold Me Fast- Norton Hall Band
Rock of Ages- Page CXVI
How Deep the Father’s Love for Us- King’s Kaleidoscope