Israel has been beset by protests and riots from the Ethiopian Jewish community the last few days, the likes of which have not been seen here. The spark was a seemingly senseless attack of an Ethiopian Israeli soldier in uniform by a policeman and volunteer. Today, Prime Minister Netanyahu met with the Ethiopian soldier, Damas Pakada, who called for calm while also addressing the legitimate grievances of discrimination and prejudice against his community. http://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-pledges-to-eliminate-deep-problem-of-racism/
Racism is not new, and Jewish people have felt the brunt of it for millennia. It is grievous to know that it exists among ourselves, which only confirms that we are no different from other human beings beset by sin in our nature, manifesting in all the sins of mankind. Not all forms of discrimination can be attributed to racism, just as not all criticism of Jews or of Israel can be labeled as anti-semitism. Even within people and ethnic groups, there are those who are considered the “white ones”, and the others who are perceived as the “black ones”. And at some point, the lines become blurred, and there are those who will exploit the emotive charge of racism or of antisemitism in order to overthrow righteousness and justice.
I remember taking part in an anti-war protest during the Vietnam War. The protest march was supposedly to demonstrate against what seemed to have become a war without real purpose and against the unnecessary military violence, with its deaths and destruction. However, radical elements within the leadership of the march began to steer the means — the march — in a manner which did not justify the ends — bringing the war to a close. They began breaking store windows and other violent things — not to mention all the vile language — in what was advertised as a peaceful demonstration. At this point of violence and hooliganism, I dropped out of the march: it was not what I was about.
I bring this past story up because I know that even today in many of the legitimate battles being waged for human dignity, there are the rabble-rousers who only want to manipulate events for their own gain, often times themselves being only unwittting pawns in a larger struggle.
Satan is out to rob, murder, and destroy all that God intends to reflect His glory and image. Jesus Christ came into the world which He made, willingly being crucified on the cross for our sins, in order to defeat the works of the devil. According to the true Word of God, people need a new heart and a new spirit — a whole new worldview of looking at things and gaining some wisdom along the way. Only as we see the worth of all human beings from God’s perspective — that all are made in His image (still, despite sin), that all of one blood, and that all have sinned and come short of His glory — can we, with supernatural help from the Holy Spirit, overcome our natural prejudices and racist tendencies.
There are many cultural reasons that may not allow for complete integration or equality in all matters, but at the personal human level, there is no essential difference. Racism is sinful. Jesus died and rose again to remove that blight from all who become His disciples. Pride and ungodliness are the root and fruit of racism. God’s commandment is to love our neighbor as ourselves. This leaves no excuse for sinful attitudes or acts which cause harm or humiliation to our fellow man. And only by knowing the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior from sin who Himself suffered indignities, can those who suffer from racism overcome evil with good in Jesus’ name, to the glory of God the Father.