No ‘colored’ section in heaven

Published 9:52 pm Friday, December 7, 2012

The fundamental religious assumption at the center of racism is that God made some people better than others. Of course, there is nothing revealed in nature or from heaven to suggest such a ridiculous notion, and it’s astonishing to me that racism remains as much a problem in our community as it does.

Recently I entered a convenience store where three young adult black women were heatedly discussing instances in which customers had called them the “n-word” right there at the counter of the establishment. Apparently the customers didn’t like the way they were rung up or something.

Racism is a real problem. For people of the Christian faith, it is absolutely inconsistent with the fundamental tenets of our beliefs.

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And since just about everybody in the South claims to be a Christian, whether they have attended a worship service in the past two decades or not — racism is at war with the professed beliefs all of nearly everyone in our community.

In Romans 10:12, the Bible states, “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.” (ESV)

The cultural difference between Jews and Greeks in the ancient world far exceeded the difference between blacks and whites in modern America. If there is no Jew nor Greek, there can be no difference in the kingdom racial economy of God and His people.

I like how the popular Comedy Central television comedian and political pundit Stephen Colbert says it: “I don’t see black and white. People tell me I’m white, and I believe them, but I don’t see race.” While he says this tongue in cheek, his words have a hint of intentional profundity in them. From the vantage point of God, there is no black and white. There are just people.

People of faith should be the least likely to struggle with racist thoughts. Yet it remains true in most places in America that the most segregated hour is the worship hour.

We may call a church a “black church” or a “white church,” but there is no such thing apart from in our imagination. There is only the Church for whom Christ died, the Bride of Christ, and she is multiracial.

If we accept the premise that all followers of Jesus will spend eternity in heaven does it not follow that heaven, unlike my neighborhood and likely yours, is a multiracial neighborhood?

There is no colored section in Heaven, there are no gated communities and there are no walls of separation between the races.

There is no such thing as a Christian racist, whether you are black or white or any other race. To be a follower of Jesus necessitates consequential love for the brethren, and the brethren come in all colors, races, and nationalities.

My friend, heaven is not segregated. Neither should our hearts or our lives be segregated. Don’t sit in a pew on Sunday and sit in judgment of another race of people the rest of the week. Nothing denies the authority, grace, and love of God more than racism.