20 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations—21 “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” 22 which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.Colossians 2:20 – 23
I’m guilty of not recognizing how seriously others are affected by race issues! I mean, people focus on race a LOT! Everything happening in the world has woken me to how I must be more aware and sensitive to the issue of race and how it affects people I love. I’ll never under value this issue again. I’ll also never deny the experiences of others again. I’m truly sorry to everyone who has been dehumanized, judged, or made to feel “less-than” simply because of your skin. Racism is a real problem and, my belief, is God provided us the answer.
A Different Problem
Besides the seriousness of racism, I’ve also woken to a different problem most people are unaware of.
There’s a debate as old as the church itself. Should Christians:
a) share the Word of God
– or –
b) show the love of Christ
Of course, this debate is silly because the answer is to do both. You have to share God’s Word because the Word changes people, but you have to demonstrate Christianity to others so they can both see and hear what it means to follow Christ.
But why does it matter how we act? Isn’t the Word of God enough? No. If you don’t demonstrate Christ-likeness, you are demonstrating God’s Word hasn’t changed you. Further, you are showing people a misrepresentation of what Christianity is. If people see you sharing God’s Word, but acting mean, unloving, or not-empathetic, you are making them believe the gospel makes you mean. So why would they accept it?
What Does This Have To Do With WF?
White fragility is the idea that white people, all white people, will be offended, and become defensive, if you call them racist. The only way to combat this fragility, we are told, is for white people to continuously learn about and apologize for unconscious racism, eradicate language and behaviors someone might perceive as racist, even though those behaviors are not racist, and finally, apologize for sins of past generations. Failure to do any of those things is the sad fragility only white people possess.
Are any of these ideas scriptural?
God’s Word defines sin for us, so where in God’s Word is “unconscious racism” exactly? Where in God’s Word are we asked to repent of sins committed by our ancestors? Racism is the sin of partiality so yes, we should acknowledge and repent for instances of partiality. Yes we should apologize to anyone who was hurt by our partiality, or by us looking down on them. But does God’s Word tell us we have to repent, or apologize, for unconscious behavior no one was affected by?
Not only does God not require us to repent of unconscious behavior, we can’t repent of it! Repentance is to turn away from sin, but how can we turn from something the Bible doesn’t call sin? How can we repent of something our ancestors, not us, did? If we hurt someone we should apologize for that behavior, but where in the Bible do we see the idea of living under a constant burden of continuously identifying and apologizing for behaviors just because someone could find them offensive?
Trick question. We do find that idea in the Bible. It’s called “condemnation” and Romans 8:1 tells us, if we’re in Christ, we’re free from it.
WF Has Consequences
If you apologize for things you haven’t done, even though no one told you they were affected by it, you’re demonstrating unbiblical burdens to those who are on the outside! Why would anyone want to give their life to Christ if they see you living under impossible condemnation you will never escape from? If we do that, we’re being just like the mean person sharing the gospel, except instead of thinking the gospel makes you mean, the person will think the Gospel puts impossible burdens on us and pits us against each other.
This is self-imposed religion. This is false humility. How can you be humble about something unconscious? It’s easy to be humble about behavior your ancestors did. It’s intentional behavior that’s difficult to own up to. If someone does tell you they were offended by something you did, make it right with them!
Further, if people haven’t even expressed to you they were offended by your behavior, and you go to them and confess about your unconscious racism, you’re planting that idea. They weren’t even upset with you, now they are. Not only that, you just instructed them they’re supposed to be angry with all white people.
Is This the Gospel?
This is not the gospel. Confessing to unconscious behavior, micro-aggressions that weren’t motivated by partiality, or the sins of your ancestors, is turning the freedom Christ offers us into a joke. Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Continuously confessing unconscious behavior and ever-learning new ways people might be offended doesn’t meet the biblical definition of “easy” or “light.” Don’t do it just to make yourself feel good or to make yourself look more humble than others. Don’t do it just because culture, or Robin DiAngelo, told you to.
So What Do We Do?
How ’bout we listen to what people have experienced? How ‘bout we demonstrate the joy and forgiveness Christ offers? How ‘bout we show those on the outside that when we “put on Christ,” we’re one! In Christ, we see others not as “us vs. them” but as fellow carriers of the presence of God, made in His image! Fellow carriers of God’s presence don’t make each other apologize for unconscious behavior.
Let’s not just be united, let’s be one! All of us believers have the same enemy, after all.
Let’s fight him together.