Are you familiar with the word “racism”? If you are not sure what that is, let’s start with a definition.
The simplest way to explain racism is that it is the idea that people with different skin colors, or who are from different countries and speak different languages, are not as good as other people and deserve to be treated unfairly and unkindly.
That doesn’t sound very nice, does it?
It’s not only not nice—it’s also wrong. Laws, practices, and personal attitudes that support racism are wrong. A person with white- or beige-colored skin and blond or brown hair is no better than someone with dark-brown skin and curlier hair, and the other way around. Someone who speaks Spanish is no better than someone who speaks German. Someone who speaks English with a British accent is no better than someone who speaks English with an Indian accent. No one type of person is better than others.
The problem of racism occurs in every country around the world. That’s what happens on a sin-filled planet. So what can we do about it?
Jesus gave us wise advice in what is often referred to as the eleventh commandment: John 13:34.
Did you notice? Jesus didn’t say anything about loving people who look like us or sound like us, or even worship like us. He just said to love one another. It’s not a suggestion, either. He commands us to do that. That means loving one another is as important as the commandments that tell us not to kill, or lie, or steal, etc.
When we say we love Jesus and want to follow Him, that’s serious. It means that just as Jesus loves every single one of us—all people created differently on purpose—our job is to love others and treat them kindly.
In some of our families—even Christian ones—we may hear remarks about different kinds of people that Jesus is not happy to hear. Remember, saying those things is being hurtful to people He loves very much, and it hurts His feelings, too. You may be young, but you can resolve to not join in those conversations and promise that those words and ideas won’t find a place to live in your heart and mind. We can choose to be better.
If you ever wonder if something you have heard is racist, think back to John 13:34. Do those things support the commandment of loving each other? Would those words line up with Jesus loving us?
Make your interactions with all kinds of people filled with love. Even if it’s hard sometimes, we can ask Jesus for help, and He will work in our hearts. Showing love to all is something that fills His heart with pure joy!
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34).*