Dear Friends,

2016 is well and truly here, and I am afraid, so is racism and prejudice. We may well deny the reality hereof, but I can assure you that it abounds among and around us. Just mention ‘student mass action’ or ‘quota’s in sport’ or ‘President Zuma’ or ‘white privilege’ or ‘apartheid’ and you will see in people’s differing responses, expressions of deep seated racism and prejudice within us. A Church leader during the 80’s once said that there is some degree of racism in all of us: farm murders and ‘necklacing’ during the 80’s would move people very differently, according to our color of skin. The reality is that the evil one is feeding off what I call a ‘spirit of racism’ and inherited prejudices and bias. Sadly, even the Church and believers fall prey to this work of the evil one.

Racism and prejudice and favoritism and discrimination are of the evil one and are condemned in the Word of God (Deut 10:17/ Eph 6:9/ James 2:4). Our Lord Jesus, clearly demonstrated, when he walked this earth – both in how he treated people and in what He taught that He did not distinguish between people – neither on race, color, creed or one’s past way of life (eg Luke 5:27-31/Luke 7:36-50/ Luke 18:9-14). In fact, Jesus considered all forms of prejudice, racism, discrimination and favoritism as expressions of ‘judging’ or ‘condemning’ people: Jesus considered these acts of judging and condemning people as sins which the Lord detested. He declared that those who commit these sins will be judged as harshly as they have judged or condemned others based on creed, color, race, language or way of life (Luke 6:37-40/ James 2:12-13).

We, Christians, are called by God to be ambassadors of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ (2 Cor 5:20). This means that we are to be ambassadors of the values and marks of His ministry – especially the values of impartiality, non- discrimination, no prejudice and no racism. It also means, that as His ambassadors, we are to take up His fight and battle and to wage war against all forms and expressions of racism, discrimination, prejudice and favoritism. We embrace this battle, by first confronting any forms or expressions of racism, discrimination and prejudice within ourselves: we then acknowledge these expressions as sin, we repent of them and renounce them as being of the evil one and in Jesus name we banish these spirits of racism and discrimination and prejudice from our hearts, minds and lives. Secondly we embrace this battle by opposing and challenging systems and processes and decisions that stem from racism, discrimination and prejudice.

Finally, never forget that all forms of racism, prejudice, and discrimination are affronts to the work of Christ on the cross. Jesus died to destroy every dividing wall of hostility (Eph 2:14). In embracing Christ’s finished work on the cross let us, as believers in Him, choose to love all, irrespective of creed, colour, race, language and way of life – just as Jesus has loved us. (John 13:34). Let’s make every effort to ensure that no distinctions are made between people so as to see everyone as one before the Lord (Gal 3:28).

May the blessing of the Lord Jesus be upon you this week.