Category: What does the Bible say about racism, prejudice, and discrimination?


Started in 2013 in response to separate police shootings of two young black men, the Black Lives Matter movement came into prominence with its use of the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag. Ever since, the phrase “black lives matter” has been a rallying cry of those who believe there is institutional racism against African-Americans in virtually every aspect of society, but especially in police departments and the legal system.

There is no point in discussing the statistics on black crime vs. the percentage of the black population and/or the numbers of black-on-black murders vs. the number of blacks killed by police officers. For every statistic, there is a dueling statistic and/or a way to reinterpret the statistic. There is no point in discussing the specific cases that spawned the Black Lives Matter movement. The various sides all seem to be rigorously locked into their understanding of the events and the aftermaths. Like most issues connected to race, it appears to be virtually impossible to have a constructive dialogue about the Black Lives Matter movement.

Biblically speaking, of course black lives matter. Blacks/African-Americans are equally created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). In God’s eyes, blacks are equal in value to whites, browns, reds, yellows, and everyone in between. Racism is evil. Some propose the saying “all lives matter” as an alternative. While “all lives matter” is absolutely and biblically true, it fails to address the issue at hand. The Black Lives Matter movement exists because many feel the world needs to be reminded that black lives do, in fact, matter.

How should Christians view the goals of the black lives matter movement? First, they should examine their hearts and ask God to help them get rid of any racist thoughts or tendencies. Second, they should fight against all true forms of racism that still exist in society. Third, they should be compassionate toward true victims of racism and point them toward Christ as the only answer for racism. Protests, policies, awareness, changes to the legal system, etc., etc., will never solve the problem of racism. Racism is the result of sin. Until the sin problem is dealt with—until people become new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17)—the problem of racism will never be eradicated.

How should Christians view the methods of the black lives matter movement? Peaceful protests against racial injustice are necessary and appropriate when racism has truly occurred. But Christians should never be involved in rioting, looting, violence against police officers, hateful speech, and/or “reverse” discrimination/racism against non-blacks. Injustice and hatred will not be ended by more injustice and hatred.

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The first thing to understand in this discussion is that there is only one race—the human race. Caucasians, Africans, Asians, Indians, Arabs, and Jews are not different races. Rather, they are different ethnicities of the human race. All human beings have the same physical characteristics (with minor variations, of course). More importantly, all human beings are equally created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-27). God loved the world so much that He sent Jesus to lay down His life for us (John 3:16). The “world” obviously includes all ethnic groups.

God does not show partiality or favoritism (Deuteronomy 10:17; Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11; Ephesians 6:9), and neither should we. James 2:4 describes those who discriminate as “judges with evil thoughts.” Instead, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves (James 2:8). In the Old Testament, God divided humanity into two “racial” groups: Jews and Gentiles. God’s intent was for the Jews to be a kingdom of priests, ministering to the Gentile nations. Instead, for the most part, the Jews became proud of their status and despised the Gentiles. Jesus Christ put an end to this, destroying the dividing wall of hostility (Ephesians 2:14). All forms of racism, prejudice, and discrimination are affronts to the work of Christ on the cross.

Jesus commands us to love one another as He loves us (John 13:34). If God is impartial and loves us with impartiality, then we need to love others with that same high standard. Jesus teaches in Matthew 25 that whatever we do to the least of His brothers, we do to Him. If we treat a person with contempt, we are mistreating a person created in God’s image; we are hurting somebody whom God loves and for whom Jesus died.

Racism, in varying forms and to various degrees, has been a plague on humanity for thousands of years. Brothers and sisters of all ethnicities, this should not be. Victims of racism, prejudice, and discrimination need to forgive. Ephesians 4:32 declares, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Racists may not deserve your forgiveness, but we deserved God’s forgiveness far less. Those who practice racism, prejudice, and discrimination need to repent. “Present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God” (Romans 6:13). May Galatians 3:28 be completely realized, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”