Racial Discrimination; September 2, 2020

Acts 10:34-35 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.”

This was indeed a momentous revelation that changed the course of history. Most people today can’t really imagine the degree of racial discrimination that was endemic in the Jewish people. However, even today we have “white supremacists,” along with antisemitism of all stripes. We also have the BLM movement, that also uses race as a political wedge to divide people. Sadly enough, one people-group discriminating against another is one of the most common features of human history. From God’s perspective, however, that is all total nonsense. He created us all, and we are all of equal value by definition. At the same time we are all different, and some racial stereotypes can have a high degree of validity. What does not change, regardless of skin color or ethnicity, is that God loves us, but “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6) There is no people-group, not even the Jews, that has an automatic “ticket to heaven,” and there is no people-group that is automatically excluded from heaven. God chose Abraham and His descendants as instruments of His revelation of Himself to mankind, and as such they do have some special promises given to them, but as Paul assures us, those who believe in Jesus are accepted in Him, and all those promises come to them as well. (Romans 4:16)

Growing up as a Caucasian in Japan, I have always been aware of ethnic and racial differences, but I was also raised to know that differences don’t preclude equality. (On my first arrival in the US, not yet 4 years old, I was quarantined with mumps, and one nurse was the first Black person I had ever seen. I insisted on speaking Japanese to her, because in my experience, anyone with skin darker than my parents’ had to be Japanese!) As long as I can remember I have been proud of having been born in 1948, the same year as the modern state of Israel. I don’t think I knew any Jews growing up, but I loved the Jewish songs in The Fireside Book of Folk Songs that was a household staple. In Seminary in Texas, for reasons known only to God, we were adopted into the informal group of Messianic students and their families, and they were floored that I knew Jewish folk songs better than they did. Today I rejoice in the reports I get from OneForIsrael.com, of how more and more Jews are discovering that Yeshua is indeed their promised Messiah. All of that said, my own particular calling is to the Japanese. In my opinion, their sense of racial identity is comparable only to that of the Jews, and it is often a major barrier to their accepting the Gospel. They admire what they see in me, but can’t believe that it is equally available to them, because we are “different.” The common Japanese term for foreigner, gaijin, literally means, “person outside, outsider.” I have dealt with rejection all my life, but that becomes tragic only when they reject the Gospel as “non-Japanese.” This revelation to Peter needs to permeate Japanese society, to bring about the massive harvest that I know God desires.

Father, thank You for Your plans, that are greater and higher than anything man could come up with. Thank You for what You did here yesterday, bringing together people who needed assurance of Your love in a way that I couldn’t have planned if I had tried. I do pray for Your kingdom to come and Your will to be done in each life, shattering the lies of the devil and setting people free, for a ripple effect that will draw many into Your kingdom for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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