As a Christian and a black female, racism and discrimination have not escaped me in my life. I would say I dodged some racism growing up, only because I went to private schools, even graduated from Bishop Kenny High School. There are so many words in today’s society that have a negative connotation. All races are using terminology and phrases as a form of a salutation so to speak; ways to meet and greet one another. These phrases are considered derogatory and not pleasing to the ear.
What’s interesting is these words and phrases have started to somewhat morph from unacceptable to acceptable by different generations. But what’s the real question? Does love and respect flow from the lips of those who use these terms? Are these phrases things you would hear Jesus say? While I understand times have changed, the root of some of the words used today still have deep-rooted and ugly meaning. But yes, Jesus still loves us, even if we have a potty mouth. What’s important is that we learn to change our words to eliminate the need to question the intention of them.
Racism Comes in Many Different Forms
Racism runs rampant in our society in different ways, not just by the color of people’s skin, but gendercide, which is racism against different genders. Institutional racism happens when organizations bond together against classes of people to feel inferior. Stereotyping, which we all are probably most familiar with, occurs when groups of people are assumed to have the same negative characteristics, similar to racial profiling. The list of types of discrimination is long, but I’m sure you all get the point.
I recently posed a question on Facebook, and to my surprise, I received hundreds of comments to a few simple questions:
- What are your opinions about the “N” word, and do you think it’s offensive?
- Should the word be used at all, and should people be offended when it’s used?
- Has society moved away from the historical meaning, moving towards a more acceptable definition?
- Should our youth be taught that it’s acceptable to use as the definition has matured over time?
The responses I received ranged from one end of the spectrum to the other. Here are a few:
- I don’t use it and I don’t want to discuss it.
- It’s not acceptable even if in jest.
- Depends on if there is an “er” or an “a” at the end of it.
- Overall I do find this word to be negative due to its history.
- Personally, I do not use it, and it’s not a nice word to call anyone.
- I’ve had no exposure to the word but do think it’s offensive.
- Black and only black people can say it.
- Society has tricked us into believing the word is acceptable through music to make it seem normal, but it’s the worst degrading word invented
- I don’t use it or allow it used in my house.
- I’m not offended by words, and I don’t think anyone else should be either.
Related Post: One of the things that God dislikes
What Would Jesus Do?
But have you ever examined the words that come out of your mouth and know what they mean? When is the last time you took a pulse check on your language? To be honest, I have to check myself quite frequently, not for the use of racial terms, but just having a potty mouth occasionally. Yes, I can admit, I have a potty mouth at times. I found a really good statement about racism that I haven’t been able to get out of my mind. Racism is about making quick judgments on the characteristics of a race in order to rate them as inferior, or superior. A form of demonstrating partiality or bias.
“For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him…” Romans 10:12 NIV
I know.. it’s a question we are all accustomed to hearing. What would Jesus do? Does Jesus use these words? Would Jesus condone the use of words that are used to hurt harm and cause pain to another human being? There are a few scriptures in the bible that speak to racism or making others feel “less than.” During this time in the bible, there was division taking place between the Jews and the Gentiles. A fight between who were better Christians and which characteristics and rituals were more “Christian.”
Not much different than what we see today. Various classes of people considering themselves greater than another. Even people in different financial brackets looking down on others who make less than they do. We see other stories in the bible where Jesus and his followers teach scripture to anyone willing to listen and are ridiculed for it. A form of racism Acts 8:26-40 NIV
The Enemy is Busy, but Don’t Take the Bait
Of course, back in time where discriminatory words were used, the definition of those words was full of hate and resentment. Although some of these words have morphed and taken on a different meaning, this does not mean that we should look to soften the interpretation of them in today’s society. Especially when all of society has not moved past the derogatory connotation of hurtful words. If we were to soften the meaning, does this mean we dismiss what our ancestors have gone through? Does this mean that all forms of racism and discrimination are no longer “as hurtful” as they once were? Take a look at Webster’s, and you will be surprised at their new definitions.
In John Bevere’s book The Bait of Satan, a lot of important key points are made about how the enemy uses the simplest things to throw Christians off their game:
- When we are in the place God wants us to be, the envy will try everything possible to offend us and uproot both men and women from where God has planted us
- Offended people produce a lot of unhealthy fruit including, anger, jealousy, outrage, bitterness, envy, resentment, and strive.
- Some consequences of picking up offense are insults, attacks, division, separation, and backsliding
- Chose to build up others and not destroy.
I’m sure most of you were tired of the old adage “there is power in the tongue,” but it’s so true. We have the ability to speak hate into people’s lives, which can change their outlook on situations.
“The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18 NIV
Let’s Begin to Speak Life and Love
Where a person may have once had hope, one negative statement can change the whole perspective and caused him to lose the little hope that they once had. Once those negative thoughts into their mind, if they are not strong enough to rebuke the lies of the enemy, they will begin to believe what you have spoken over them and talk themselves out of the truth of God’s word.
When we are reckless with our words, we become reckless with the lives that we are trusted with.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8
I heard a great quote in a recent message at church: “It’s not a white thing…It’s not a black thing… It’s a sin thing!”