“How to share the gospel with a racist.” That’s what someone typed into a search engine, which then directed them to this website yesterday. The request surprised me but I also think that it makes for a great title. It’s edgy and it fits within the purpose of my work, that is to remind persons that the gospel of Jesus the Christ is race-less. So, here goes.
How we share the gospel with a racist, with a person who espouses beliefs of human supremacy or inferiority based on the social construct of race, is shared no differently than it is shared with any other person: Open mouth. Confess Christ as Savior. Receive new life. The message and focus of the gospel does not change depending on who the person is or what she may have done (cf. John 3.16; Romans 3.23; 6.23; 10.9-10). There is but one gospel and it is good for everyone.
Those of us who believe in the power of race in society and allow it to work in and through our faith need the same words as any other unbeliever: Love. It is all about Love. We share the gospel in and from Love. God is both the Place and Person from which humanity is rooted and by which we are experienced. Either friend or foe, the command is the same.
And this Love is special. This Love is not biased, has no favorites, loves us unconditionally and all the same. And yet, God does not stereotype us though all sinners but has an individual plan for every life.
But, what if the person is a believer and a racist? What if there are persons who believe in the supremacy of their race and the supremacy of Christ as Lord and Savior of the world, two faiths practiced as one, beige/ black/brown/ red/ yellow/white power and God’s power? How do we share that there is only one Messiah, that race is a social savior? How do we share the gospel with racists who not only wear white sheets but white robes, who sing in choirs, sit in pews and bear witness from pulpits all across the world? How do I tell this searcher, this seeker that we are all racists, all believers in the faith of race and that it is not a matter of how we share the gospel but when?
When will we share the gospel with our whole selves and not just the parts that we think aren’t so bad because we are really “a good person”? When will the Love get to our prejudices and stereotypes, our personal hatreds and prideful devotions to self and culture? I suppose that it will occur when we see ourselves in the eyes of all of our neighbors, when we are able to recognize ourselves as racists and talk them like we are talking to ourselves. Because we are.