8 Reflections on Racism and Riots

I’m neither black nor white. I’m brown, or Asian American. And I’m a Christian; therefore, I will address racism and rioting from a biblical point of view. Here are my thoughts on these issues:

1) There’s only one race on earth and that is Adam’s race. Regardless of your skin color, your origin can be traced back to Adam (Genesis 1 & 2). We should therefore view ourselves as belonging to the same Adamic race. And having the same blood, we should love, and not hate, each other.

2) Since we have the same race, you can’t say that your race is better than other races. In fact, it doesn’t make sense to think that your race is superior to other races, since there’s only one race. Thus, to be a racist is inconsistent with the Bible. I think we see racism at its worst in the genocide of approximately six million Jews during Hitler’s time. Hitler thought that the Jews were an inferior group of people, “fit for enslavement, or even extermination.”

3) Whether you’re black, brown, red, white, or yellow, your life matters to God because He created you in His image (Genesis 1:26–27). So my life matters not because I’m brown but because I bear God’s image. Black lives matter not because of their color but because they are made in God’s image.

4) Since every life is created in God’s image, all lives (black, brown, red, white, and yellow) are equal. We should therefore treat every life with equal importance. George Floyd’s life was as important as the lives of those Nigerian Christians brutally murdered by Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and Boko Haram.

According to genocidewatch.com, “350 Nigerian Christians were massacred in the first two months of 2020…Nigeria has become a killing field of defenseless Christians. Reliable sources show that between 11,500 and 12,000 Christians have been massacred since June 2015 when the Buhari Government of Nigeria came to power. Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen accounted for 7,400 murders of Christians. Boko Haram committed 4000 killings of Christians.”

Imagine since 2015 about 12,000 black lives were murdered in Nigeria! Right now there are demonstrations around the world, including England, Germany, and Canada, against the murder of George Floyd. Yet I can’t help but wonder why we also don’t hear an outcry regarding the mass killing of black lives in Nigeria? Is it because Nigerian lives are not as important as the lives of those living in the US? I’m not minimizing the horrible murder of Floyd, nor am I saying that police brutality should not be peacefully protested. However, if we really believe that all lives matter, we should treat every single life with equal worth. We should not pick and choose what life we want to value.

5) Since God’s image is sacred and since every life is made in God’s image, every life is not only important and equal, but also sacred. The murder of George Floyd was evil because it violated the sacredness of his life (Genesis 9:6). And the sacredness of one’s life doesn’t depend on who violates it. Floyd’s life was sacred not because it was violated by a white police officer. Even if he was murdered by a black police officer, his life was still sacred.

Sadly, if a black life was killed by another black person, or if a white life was killed by a black person, we don’t see the same degree of protest, as if black lives only matter when they are killed by a white person. When was the last time you heard a strong demonstration because a black man was killed by a black police officer? Every life matters because every life is sacred; and thus, I plead with the Black Lives Matter movement that they also protest against the murder of unborn innocent babies in the wombs of every black woman. The lives of these aborted unborn babies were as sacred as George Floyd’s life.

According to Grand Rapids Right to Life, “Abortion is not just a woman’s issue.  It’s a human rights issue.…Abortion is the number one killer of black lives in the United States.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, abortion kills more black people than HIV, homicide, diabetes, accident, cancer, and heart disease … combined.”

6) God has gifted us in the US with the First Amendment, which guarantees “the freedom of speech” and “the right of the people peaceably to assemble.” Constitutionally, you have all the right to protest against the injustice done to George Floyd. But according to the First Amendment, you must to do so “peaceably.” Therefore, you have no right to loot, hurt police officers and set their vehicles on fire, vandalize and ruin buildings. This is not your right! After all, what does looting have to do with the murder of Floyd? Do you think it will help solve the issue? The injustice done to Floyd does not license you to do lawlessness. My heart was grieved with what happened to Floyd but my heart was equally grieved with the riots caused by lawless protesters.

God says, “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all….Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:17–21).

7) Racism is still very much alive in our country. We can either ignore this problem and pretend it doesn’t exist, or face and address it. Fellow Christians, we should deal with the issue of racism with the same equal force that we give to the issues of abortion and same-sex marriage. To my fellow pastors, we should also be preaching against the sin of racism.

8) The only remedy for racism is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Racism says, “I’m ethnically superior to you.” The gospel says, “We equally matter before God because both of us are created in His image.” Racism violates the sanctity of life. The gospel treats every life as sacred. Racism begets hatred and violence. The gospel begets love and peace. Racism divides. The gospel brings reconciliation not only between you and God but also between you and your enemies. Racism harms and kills. The gospel heals and gives everlasting life through faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:16). Racism resents. The gospel forgives.

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31–32).

What we therefore desperately need today in our country is the gospel.

8 Reflections on Racism & Riots by Brian G. Najapfour

 

Abortion Anger Favoritism Gospel Homosexuality Racism

The Most Beautiful Place I Have Ever Lived

I’ve lived in different places in the world. I’ve visited many beautiful places. Yet, I can say that the most beautiful place that I’ve ever lived was my mother’s womb. Let me repeat what I’ve just said: the most beautiful place that I’ve ever lived was my mother’s womb. I remember when my wife and I heard the heartbeat of our first child for the first time. After hearing our baby’s heartbeat, my wife made this comment, “That was the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard.” That sweet sound came from a mother’s womb.Tarsier and Chocolate Hills In Bohol of the Philippines

Why do I think a mother’s womb is the most beautiful place on earth? I will give you two reasons.

Here’s the first reason: We are conceived in our mother’s womb. David writes in Psalm 139:13[God] formed my inward parts; [He] knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” God created David, putting all his cells, organs, and parts together. Then in verse 16 David adds, “[God] saw my unformed substance.” In Hebrew the term “unformed substance” can also be translated “embryo,” which refers to the unborn baby from the time of conception through the eighth week of development. Notice God regards David in the womb as a person not as a thing. David became a person the moment he was conceived.

One of the arguments for abortion is that the embryo or the fetus (the unborn baby after the second month) is not yet a human life; and thus, pre-born babies may be terminated. Some pro-choice individuals would even dare to say that the fetus is just a bunch of tissues woven together. In sharp contrast to the pro-choice movement, God sees a fetus as a human being even if the fetus is not yet fully developed. Abortion therefore is sinful for it deliberately destroys a living human being in the womb. Sadly, what I call the most delightful place has become the most dangerous place in the world for this is where the murder of unborn babies happens.

The second reason why I think a mother’s womb is the most beautiful place on earth is because this is where we had our first reason to praise God. In verse 14 of the same chapter David proclaims, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” When you cannot find a reason to thank God, remember the time when you were in your mother’s womb. Someone has noted, “We cannot begin too soon to bless our Maker, who began so soon to bless us [in our mother’s womb]: even in the act of creation he created reasons for our praising his name.”

Do you know how God created you and me? Fearfully and wonderfully! We were fearfully made. The making of us is astonishing and should create in us a sense of reverence toward God. It should inspire us to bow down before our Creator in worship. Pregnancy is indeed amazing! If you are pregnant, think about this: there is another person in your womb. Unfortunately, some pro-choice mothers think that the fetus is only an internal organ connected to a woman’s body. But God tells us otherwise. The pre-born baby is not an organ but a person.

We were also created wonderfully. We were separated from the other creative works of God, for he created us in his own image. We are special creatures, and the proper response that we can give to our Creator is praise: “From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you” (Ps. 71:6). Yet, I thank God not only for creating me in the womb, but also for recreating me in Christ. I praise him not only for my physical birth but also for my spiritual birth (John 1:13). God caused me to be born in order for me to be born again (John 3:3).

 

Abortion Mother

Miscarriage, Disability, & God’s Glory

Did you have a miscarriage? Do you have a mentally or physically disabled child? Did you get pregnant when you were not planning to? What a comfort to know that no child is conceived or born without a purpose!disabled child

 

First of all, no child is conceived without a purpose.

If you are pregnant, it was not an accident that the baby in your womb was conceived, even if you were not planning to get pregnant. God planned your child’s conception! Now those of you who had a miscarriage might ask, “What was God’s purpose then in the life of our child who died in the womb?” I don’t know the exact answer, but what I do know is that according to Psalm 135:6, “The LORD does whatever pleases him.” And since God does whatever is glorifying to him, we can say that ultimately God took your child for God’s own glory. I recognize that what I have just told you is not always easy to understand and accept. But as one song says, “God is too wise to be mistaken; God is too good to be unkind; So when you don’t understand; When you don’t see His plan; When you can’t trace His hand; Trust His heart.”

My wife and I also had a miscarriage in October of 2011, and a few months later Anna (our first child) was conceived. If we had not had a miscarriage, Anna would not have been born. In November of 2013 we had another miscarriage, and after few weeks James (our second child) was conceived. Think of this: Two unborn babies died, so that Anna and James might live. This truth reminds me of what happened at Calvary where the eternal Son of God died so that those who believe in him might live forever. There at Calvary it pleased God the Father to bruise his own Son, so that those who believe in his Son might not be bruised in hell but be blessed in heaven (Isa. 53:10). The Apostle Paul puts it this way, “He [God the Father] did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all” (Rom. 8:32). God did not spare his Son so that He could spare those who put their faith in his Son Jesus Christ.

 

Second, no child is born without a purpose.

Parents who have a mentally or physically disabled child may say, “What is God’s purpose then in the life of our disabled child?” The answer is the same: so that through your child’s disability, God’s glory might be displayed. Remember the man born blind in John 9:1-3. In that passage the disciples asked Jesus, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus replied, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” No one sinned. God is simply exercising his absolute prerogative to do whatever glorifies him. And in this context, God glorifies himself by showing his sovereignty over his creatures. To further illustrate my point, let me share this story that I heard from my mother-in-law.

There was a God-fearing woman in the Netherlands who had a child born to her that was totally disabled. The child could not walk, could not talk, and could not respond. The child lay this way for 18 years. One day, as the mother stood, looking at her child, she felt rebellion and despair in her heart, and said out loud, “Why were you ever created? Why were you ever born?” All of a sudden, this child who never spoke, said, “To glorify God forever.” And then, the child died.

Oh, what a lesson for that mother and for us!

 

Note: This post is taken from my sermon entitled “Abortion: Pro-choice or Pro-life.” Here’s a video excerpt from that message:

 

Abortion Disability Miscarriage