“Be ye reconciled to God.”
~II Corinthians 5.20, KJV
Reconcile /ˈrɛkənˌsaɪl/ [rek-uhn-sahyl] -ciled, -cil·ing. verb (used with object)
1. to cause (a person) to accept or be resigned to something not desired: He was reconciled to his fate.
2. to win over to friendliness; cause to become amicable: to reconcile hostile persons.
3. to compose or settle (a quarrel, dispute, etc.).
4. to bring into agreement or harmony; make compatible or consistent: to reconcile differing statements; to reconcile accounts.
5. to reconsecrate (a desecrated church, cemetery, etc.).
Sadly, the only part of this definition that race satisfies is the first: “to cause (a person) to accept or be resigned to something not desired.” We don’t really want to accept the social terms and living conditions of race. We don’t want to see ourselves, our God or our neighbors through the lens of race, prejudice or stereotypes. We don’t desire to judge or to hate entire people groups because of one or two persons that we may have encountered who offended, harrassed or accosted us. But, it is something that we have resigned ourselves to because we believe it to be our fate. We believe that race is unavoidable, that it is our misfortune, our lot. Our fate or destiny, “that which is inevitably predetermined; the decreed cause of events” is not race neither does it support a racial end. Our destiny is to be reconciled to God and the two do not work in concert as God will not resign Himself to the perspective or social positions of race.
“God is love and the one who does not love does not know God” (I John 4.8). Well, race will not permit us to love. It is founded upon hatred– hatred of self and of others. It is rooted in a lack of self- understanding and unharnessed pride so we take pride in an identity we do not understand because it gives us power both as victim and victimizer; it provides us with a place, center and marginal and a clear purpose: us versus them.
Our fate, “the universal principle or ultimate agency by which the order of things is presumably prescribed,” does not begin or end with race as believers in Jesus Christ. No, we, as people of faith, have come to God because we “believe that God exists and is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11.6). We sing with the psalmist, “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily loads us with benefits (who is our support day by day)” (68.19). Race does not and will not reconcile us to God as the acceptance of race into our being makes our social appearance and our worth with God irreconcilable. Race can make it difficult to come to God as we confuse social righteousness with one’s ability to become righteous in Christ.
And while our appearance was predetermined by God, the meanings that we assign to our differences are not. We called ourselves races. God did not. Be ye reconciled to God not to race.