The amount of written pieces on this blog concerning the issues of racism and police brutality in this year alone reveals how much it affects us. Accounts of discrimination and injustice by people from every socioeconomic background have made us uncomfortably aware of how far we are when it comes to progress.
In saying that, as a Christian, I understand that the progress we seek can only go so far until sin is completely gone. Sin is the reason why human society is the way that it is, therefore, some have tried to sum up the way we solve the issue of racism in one simple quote. They say, “This is not a skin issue, but a sin issue.” Basically, this means that once we recognize that we’re sinners in need of a Savior, the hatred against someone based on skin color will end.
This is a sentiment that is often sincere, but is misguided and apathetic. It is also a false dichotomy because the issues of discrimination, systemic injustice, and hatred that we fight against are the result of sin. To say it’s a sin issue and not a skin issue is merely redundant, especially since we don’t do this with any other issue.
We don’t approach the sin of abortion with the phrase, “It’s not a reproductive issue, but a rebellion issue,” because we understand there are many factors that contribute to abortions that include rebellion. There have been theologians throughout history that explained the reality and effect of sin, while still owning black slaves. Did their in-depth descriptions of sin in the world lead them to deal with the sin of slavery in their own generation?
This phrase is destructive because it leads you to ignore one powerful aspect of sin in any generation.. It’s deceitfulness. The writer of Hebrews encouraged those he wrote to, that they continue to encourage one another of their future rest in Christ, so that they’re not hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.The idea that sin is deceptive applies to any sin. Sin hardens your heart against the righteousness of God and impacts everyone around you. There were offensive things in the past that were considered normal until they were continually confronted because of how hardened we can be when it comes to sin. We are called to expose the unfruitful works of darkness, from false teaching, racism, sexism, abortion, sex trafficking, and so much more. That takes time, and when you do confront it, you will receive opposition. Jesus Himself said in John 3:19 that one of the reasons we are judged is because the light came into the world, but men loved the darkness. Jesus was that light, and He is perfect, yet men didn’t welcome the opportunity to change.
As we can see, the opposition can also come through pithy sayings that don’t require a personal commitment to seek change. Don’t let this be you. Be balanced with the Gospel as the main purpose of your life, but don’t stop confronting unrighteousness. Skin problems are confronted because they are a manifestation of the sin problem that affects us all. As Matthew 6:5 declares, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”