The Bible on Racism and Free Speech
A wise man many years ago stated “Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.” (Proverbs 13:3) A few days ago an unwise man by the last name Sterling apparently said “white Jews, there's white Jews and black Jews, do you understand?” His lady friend apparently asked, “And are the black Jews less than the white Jews?” to which Mr. Sterling answered “A hundred percent, fifty, a hundred percent.” This is only a portion of Mr. Sterling’s inflammatory comments that have led to his apparent ruin.
It should be pointed out that the audio recording revealing Mr. Sterling’s comments was recorded and leaked without his permission. Given that this was a private conversation, this would amount to a crime. His comments are more than unwise they are plain wrong, racist, very sad, but most importantly UNGODLY. Does Mr. Sterling have the freedom of speech granted us by the First Amendment? Yes and he is entitled to a private conversation, yet it does not change the fact that his views are completely wrong.
The first amendment states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
God tells us in His word that “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.” (1 Corinthians 10:23) What God is saying here is that we might have the free will and even the legal protection to say or do what we please, yet not everything if profitable/beneficial and not everything edifies. Mr. Sterling had the 1st Amendment right to say what he said but it was not beneficial and was the polar opposite of edifying. He did not, as Solomon stated, “guard his mouth” instead “he opened wide his lips/mouth” and has come to ruin.
The root of Mr. Sterling’s comments, as has been the case for many people of all races, is pride! The idea that one is better than another and that one can lord it over others is wrong. The first thing we must recognize regarding racism is that it still exist! Secondly, racism will continue until Christ returns because we live in a fallen world. This does not excuse racism and bigotry yet we must continue to fight this evil way of thinking!
We know that in the beginning “God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them;” (Genesis 1:27). In God’s eyes there are different ethnicities and cultures but there is only one race, the human race! No one race is greater than another in God’s eyes! Racism is a product of sin and it is evil. Since the beginning of time we have seen racism in every nation.
While racism exists we must know that just like God has worked out his plan of salvation through Jesus Christ, He has also continued to work to restore all of creation to the way it was originally intended to be (Romans 8:19-23). Until the shalom of God is once again restored, we have the hope in Christ that despite the evil world we live in, Christ provides redemption. “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28)” In Christ racism, classism, sexism and discrimination cannot exist!
We live in the greatest nation on earth. We are great because we are not a nation of one ethnicity but of many; not many races but we recognize that we are all One. God has allowed the United States to be populated by men and women of every color, every language, and every background because this is the face of the Kingdom of God. Let us remember how God has blessed us! Let us use the freedom to speak in order to proclaim the good news that Jesus, “is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit (Ephesians 2:14-18).”