It’s ironic that the recent outcry against racial injustice was preceded by a global pandemic.
Racism is also a global pandemic. It is a widespread disease that gradually destroys from the inside out. It is passed on silently from generation to generation, subtly from institution to institution. The recent Covid-19 outbreak saw health practitioners desperately treating symptoms in an attempt to suppress the virus, because they didn’t fully understand the disease or the root cause. It is one thing to be outraged by the consequences of racism, but if we are not mindful of the root, the origin of this pandemic, then how will we ever tackle it effectively?
The origin of racism, it’s core is evil. Evil – sin is an ever-prevalent pandemic. After the fall of man in Eden, sin entered creation and we see it manifested in many evils of this age . Until Jesus returns and this world passes away, sin will continue to be in the world, and evil likewise. So what should we do if hearts are unwilling to change and repent from the sin and evil of racism?
The children of Israel were enslaved by Egyptians for 400 years, their system was the ultimate example of institutional racism. Being born an Israelite in those days made you a slave by default and subject to the oppression of Egypt irrespective of your ambitions or desires in life (Exodus 1:13-14).
13 And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour: 14 And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour.
Egypt wasn’t willing to have a change of heart, even after the land experienced outbreaks of plagues. The tug-o-war that ensued between Pharaoh and Israel for their freedom, was due to the condition of Pharaoh’s heart. Throughout the struggle, Pharaoh’s heart hardened repeatedly (Exodus 9:34-35). In the end God intervened and humbled Egypt with His mighty hand.
34 And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants. 35 And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the Lord had spoken by Moses.
The children of Israel were greater in number than the Egyptians (see Exodus 1:8-10 ), but it wasn’t a coup or revolt that led to their freedom. Instead God heard their cry, arose for them, and He fiercely judged Pharaoh and Egypt for Israel’s freedom.
And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; Exodus 3:7
Even when Pharoah wanted to make their freedom conditional – God made it clear to all of Egypt that this was not an option and Israel gained total freedom.
So how should we as Christians address this pandemic, how should we fight racial injustice? Start with intercessory prayer. To use a modern term – don’t sleep on the power of prayer. Only God has the power to break the cycle of centuries of injustice – to heal those who for generations have been oppressed because of the colour of their skin – to deliver those who may have begun to believe the lies projected upon them. Only God has the power to convict perpetrators who for generations have reinforced these terrible prejudices.
We’ve been sold a lie that prayer is the cowardly response to challenges, even racism. We’ve been fooled into believing prayer equates to inactivity and apathy. We’ve been misled into believing that events in the natural precede those in the supernatural. Actually the opposite is true. Just as Jesus explained in Matthew 12:29 how can you take the possessions of a strong man without first binding him? We cannot overcome the devil in the physical, without first disarming him in the spiritual. Like with all matters of warfare, the battle must be won in the spiritual before it can be won in the physical. So that our physical efforts will not be in vain, let’s begin the fight in our prayers.
God loves us, all of us. His desire for us is always deliverance, always liberty, always freedom, always healing. Today I challenge you to pray. I know it’s not the popular, trendy approach, but it takes the case before the one who really has the power to bring lasting change, the judge of all mankind – God.
Let’s pray for humanity – millions of people experiencing racial injustices daily all over the world. There are millions more reeling from what they had to endure in past generations. Let’s pray for God to deliver the oppressed and to heal the broken hearted – as He promised in Luke 4:18.
Pray for lawmakers, influencers, governments and local leaders – they may be a modern day Pharoah or a Moses – they may be part of the problem or the solution. Pray for God to burden their hearts with an overwhelming desire to eradicate racism. That the existence of racial injustice would trouble their hearts and result in an historic shift in socio-political attitudes – like the parting of the red sea, to bring an end to institutional racism in this generation and beyond.
Let’s pray for wisdom, for God to reveal what needs to be done practically in our local communities, governments, institutions, even our homes. Where is change needed, and what does true justice look like? Our world is broken in so many ways and full of darkness, our hearts break as we are confronted by the reality of this. But I dare to believe, against the grain which says power lies with man – that God, even our God is able to save us.
If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. Daniel 3:17
**This is a four-part series so please read in chronological order, and share your thoughts**