I have heard these stories because they are about the experiences of my husband, Andy. He is what sociologists call a “third-culture kid,” a term coined by Ruth Hill Useem in the 1950s for children who spend their formative years in places that are not their parents’ homeland. This distinction meant that no matter where Andy went, he never felt like he belonged. Even today, I can hear in his words the tension in his mind, as he lives life both fully American and fully Korean.
His parents became missionaries in his teen years, a decision that took his family to Central America. Once again, there was a fight to belong. As an adult, he came back to the States, where he continued to experience prejudice. The coronavirus has brought the most recent mistreatments. A woman, a total stranger, sprayed him with Lysol in public because she assumed the shape of his eyes meant he carried the “Asian flu,” as it was being called. His stories, and things I have personally witnessed, have me fully convinced of the reality and sinful nature of racism.
So, what does Scripture say about racism? If you look into the series of encounters Jesus had with Pharisees, you might miss one crucial element. We talk often about the conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees. We assess their conflict as being about power. Yes, Jesus shook their position of power over people, but think about this: a big reason their power needed to be shaken up was because they considered themselves part of a superior race. They were racists. They believed their position as God’s “chosen people” made them more righteous, intrinsically better, and superior to other people. Jesus challenged their man-made system by proclaiming, “My Father sent me because He loves ALL.”
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