Racial Violence: More Than Just A Sin Problem

Racial Violence
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You may have noticed this phrase popping up in your social media feeds in response to instances of racial violence:

It’s a sin problem, not a skin problem.

While I fully support and encourage a Christian Response to tragedy, making this statement is not the way I would propose we do it. To illustrate, here are some other takes on the phrase that some Christian leaders would have us gather around:

It’s a sin problem, not a female infanticide problem

It’s a sin problem, not a rape problem

It’s a sin problem, not a domestic abuse problem

True? Sure.

Harmful? Definitely.

Specifics Matter

Reducing the specific, tangible situation of racially motivated violence to the broad stroke term of a “sin problem” is nothing short of erasure of why that issue matters in the first place. Sin is a cancer on our souls, and how do we fight cancer? We research, we fundraise, we pray for healing . . . while acknowledging the specifics. Imagine this conversation:

Patient: “I have cancer.”
Doctor: “Okay. Let’s run some tests to see what kind it is and how we can best treat it.”
Patient: “All cancer is bad.”
Doctor: “Yes, but some we treat differently than others”
Patient: “All cancer is bad!”
Doctor: “I studied lung cancer. Let’s test for lung cancer.”
Patient: “All cancer is bad!”

With this type of thinking, how are we ever supposed to acknowledge and deal with the specific issues and implications of our sin problem and the healing process?

Christ-like Love Matters

Jesus came to take away the sin of the world. Amen. And when he encountered people on earth he told them “your sins are forgiven” but do you know what else he did? He fixed their problems. Their specific wounds; their defined ailments. He touched, he healed, he called out the individual terrors that plagued those who came to him in need.

With simple words, Jesus had the power to redeem the sins of all those who sought him out. But imagine if his ministry had been all words and no works. As true and life-giving as his message of salvation was, Jesus chose to heal blindness, blood diseases, leprosy, demonic possession, and even death on top of proclaiming the truth of salvation.

He showed us the way, not only to oneness with God, but to a proper path towards healing.

Exposure Matters

So yes, we do have a sin problem. And it’s chronic. But the way we treat it is not through denying its unique manifestations and pretending they don’t exist. The way we treat it is the same way Jesus did, by putting our fingers in the mud and touching where it hurts.

All lives matter. We have a sin problem. = Stagnation, Inaction, Erasure
Black Lives Matter. We have a race problem. = Pragmatic, Acknowledgment, Effective

Let’s work together towards peace and healing by acknowledging the specifics, listening to the afflicted, and working towards effective resolutions as Christ has set an example for us to do. Racial violence is a reality. One the Christ calls us to heal.

What do you think about this?