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

10 Tips on Handling Our Children’s Anger

In his book How to Really Love Your Teenager, Ross Campbell says that “one of the most important areas in which a teenager needs training is in how to handle anger….Anger is normal and occurs in every human being. The problem is not the anger itself but in managing it. This is where most people have a problem” (60). In this post we will learn from God’s Word to see how we can effectively handle our children’s anger and how we can better help them manage their anger.

Before we continue, let us define first the word anger and clarify some misunderstanding about it. According to one dictionary, anger is “a strong feeling of displeasure…aroused by a wrong.” Hence, to be angry or to have a strong feeling of displeasure about something which is morally wrong is not necessarily sinful. In fact, Jesus himself got angry and yet he did not sin (Mark 3:5; John 2:14-16). We can be angry and commit no sin. Also, we have to remember that the Bible never tells us not to be angry. In fact, Scripture commands us to be angry. “Be angry,” says Paul in Ephesians 4:26. However, we must be angry without sinning: “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.” In short, we can be angry but we should not allow our anger to turn into sin. Therefore, when we deal with our children’s anger, it is important to remember the following four points:

 

  1. Anger is not always a sin. And so, we should not be quick to judge our children whenever we see them angry. It could be that their anger is a result of their holy hatred toward sin. For example, your child may be angry because his classmate has taken the name of the Lord in vain. Aristotle once said, “It’s not a sin to get angry when you get angry at sin.”
  1. Righteous anger is permissible. Thus, we should not forbid our children to be angry for righteousness’ sake. The authors of Parenting Today’s Adolescent explain that “God created anger to be an asset, but it gets misused and twisted in a fallen world. In basic terms, anger is an emotional alarm that sounds a warning when something is wrong…. The problem is that most of us don’t know what to do with appropriate anger when we feel it” (163-64). However, let us guide our children so that their anger will not turn into danger. Remember that anger, as someone has said, “is just one letter short of danger.”
  1. Righteous anger is not only permitted but even commanded, as previously noted. And so, we should encourage our children to have a righteous anger—to have a strong feeling of displeasure toward all forms of evil.
  1. Anger is normal. Let us tell our children that everyone experiences anger including parents. They should know that they are not alone in their feelings. But this does not mean that we are going to tolerate their unrighteous anger. By letting them know that we also get angry, we are showing them that we understand them. It is important that children feel understood.

 

Now, here are ten pieces of advice as we handle our children’s anger:

 

  1. Watch yourself when dealing with your children’s anger. Oftentimes when our children are angry we also get angry unnecessarily.
  1. When dealing with your children’s anger, apply the principle of James 1:19: “let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” Three principles can be drawn from this verse: (1) Before judging your child, listen first to his full explanation. (2) Talk to your child softly or gently. As Proverb 15:1 says: “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (3) As you correct your child, control your temper, lest you mention or do something that will fuel your child’s anger. Henry Ward Beecher remarks, “Speak when you are angry and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.” The apostle Paul, addressing the fathers, writes: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Eph. 6:4). It is better to be silent when we cannot control our temper.
  1. Since your children look up to you as a role model, teach them to manage anger in a God-honoring way by your good example. Ultimately, let’s point our children to Christ—our perfect example—who got angry but did not commit sin.
  1. Help your children understand the main cause of their anger. Then, help them deal with that which has caused their anger. Note that sometimes our children do not know what they are angry about. Sometimes they are not really angry but only frustrated with themselves.
  1. Help your children differentiate righteous anger from unrighteous anger. Ask your child, “At what or with whom are you angry and why are you angry?”
  1. Since anger is normal, help your children express their anger in a right or Christlike way. Children often don’t know how to express their anger in a positive way. Campbell explains it this way: “Children will tend to express anger immaturely, until trained to do otherwise. A teenager cannot be expected to automatically express his anger in the best, most mature way. But this is what parents are expecting, when they simply tell their teen not to get mad. Parents must train teenagers to take one step at a time in learning to deal with anger (How to Really Love Your Teenager, 65).”
  1. Pray for your children regularly, not just when they are struggling with issues of anger. It is a good practice to begin and close with prayer whenever you counsel them. Pray also that the Lord will grant you grace and wisdom as you address your children’s problem.
  1. Help your children develop temperance in their lives. Our children need self-control in dealing with anger. Self-control, a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22), is a good remedy for anger.
  1. Since self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, show your children their need of the Spirit of God. Doing so will also give you an opportunity to talk about the gospel with them.
  1. Deal with your children’s anger with love. Show love to your children even if you might not like their behavior. Be patient and understanding to them. Once our children feel loved, they will not hesitate to share with us the real cause of their anger. It is sad that some children would rather share their burden with their friends than with their own parents. May it not happen to us!
Anger Parenting