Racism – An Inside Story :: by Joe Southerland

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:14).

What did Adam look like? How about Noah? If you grew up in Western civilization you would have seen all the biblical Patriarchs depicted as chiseled featured Caucasians. But what does the Bible say about their outward appearance? Nothing…and those are the two men from which God tells us we all descend.

In fact if you look into it, the Bible rarely says anything about how anyone looked. Hmm…

So what was Jesus Christ’s appearance? I have been in churches where Christ is depicted as Hispanic, Nordic, and Black, and I am sure He looks Asiatic in many churches as well. Because of his DNA, 50% from Mary and 50% divinely provided by the Lord God, Jesus’ outward appearance could have been about any skin color. So what does the Bible say about His appearance?

“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2).

That is about it. Hmm…

So what should we gather from this lack of information about the appearance of all the greatest figures in the Bible? Well, the Lord God provides clear cut guidance which leaves no doubt:

“The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7b).

Along this same line of thinking, look at the makeup of who will be heaven:

“And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Revelation 5:9).

Also, when the Lord God makes His final appeal for the souls of mankind he includes all the people groups on earth. [1]

“Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people” (Revelation 14:6).

God’s Word is clear. It is an inside story, concerning God’s love and pursuit of the eternal souls residing in each and every one of us. He has no regard for outward appearances, and wants to unify all of mankind who earnestly seek Him with their hearts, and wants to seal them as His own with the Holy Spirit (John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 1:22).

Man’s recorded history stretching back thousands of years attests to the ongoing strife and hatred between people; groups based solely on the differences of outward appearances. Our modern term for this is racism; it is not a recent development and it does not come from God.

Satan – Racism Source and His Deadly Snare

All evil on earth you see today had its origins in the fall of Man in the Garden of Eden. Due to Adam’s rebellion against God, Man’s unity with God was broken and all men are now born into rebellion apart from God (Romans 5:12). In Eden, our adversary, Satan, first offered up his lustful appeals to the flesh and to the eyes, and to pride (1 John 2:16).

Accordingly, the divisions based on “outward appearances” among mankind are nothing more than Satan appealing to pride within Man. It is that simple. It is all about pride.

Since recorded time, Satan has effectively used racism to attack all races, people, nations and tribes. Despite the modern press clippings, no one person or race of people is immune from Satan’s snare of racism. Everyone is and will continue to be attacked by Satan because this appeal to Man’s pride has worked so well for him in the past.

People who fall into Satan’s trap of magnifying the importance of outward appearance sow to please their own sinful natures; their minds and spirits become polluted. If a person interfaces with people of a different outward appearance, and the first thing that enters into his or her mind is the outward differences in appearance, Satan has that person trapped into his warm embrace of pride.

If unchecked, Satan continues to stoke a person’s prideful emotions, which become inflamed and eventually all-consumed by hatred of people who are different in outward appearance. The apostle John provides a picture of the end spiritual result of this process:

“But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him” (1 John 2:11).

Today, Satan and his dark minions are clearly reaping a growing harvest of hatred amongst those blinded by outward appearance, and those who make a living pointing out the instances of others who fall into Satan’s trap of dwelling on outward appearances.

But what can been done? Can a person so consumed with hatred and preoccupied by external appearances be reached? Yes, but that solution will not be found at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, DC, nor in any other legislative or judicial branch of any institution of Man. Why? Because this outward appearance conflict can only be fixed by addressing what resides on the inside of Man.

Before anything else, we must first acknowledge that racism is a spiritual problem. And there is only one way God has given us to solve a spiritual problem.

A New Creation Through Jesus Christ

The only solution to racism or any other spiritual issue is found in the blood at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. For it is only through Christ’s anointing and atoning blood that we can be made anew. For born-again Believers, the sin nature we are all born with is now covered by the righteousness of Jesus Christ, making us something unique: children born of Christ in this Age of Grace.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Along with our joyous salvation, comes the council and guidance of the Holy Spirit from whom we can learn to sow behaviors to please God through a life led by the Spirit. We learn to move away from the selfish desires of our sinful nature which Satan uses to divide us. Instead the Holy Spirit strengthens us and unites us with his grace-filled fruits—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians: 5:16-17; 22-23; 6:8).

Only through the Word of God and the fruit of the Spirit can we confront Satan’s spiritual dark snares, which if left to root within our souls can drive us to hate our brothers and sisters. A spiritual attack requires a spiritual defense, and the Sprit living inside us is greater than Satan (1 John 4:4).

We must become fully aware any racist thoughts which enter into our minds are Satan’s seeds, and then attack them head-on with God’s truth and the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

A Tragedy and a Triumph

In an act of pure evil, Satan’s full wickedness surfaced in one of Christ’s churches in Charleston, South Carolina. Satan fueled the sinful nature of a spiritually lost man with all consuming racial hatred, and pointed that dark-hearted man against those Satan hates—Christians. [2]

Amidst all the Satan inspired ugliness, the race baiting, the political grandstanding, the media chum-churning — my heart soared at the Spirit-filled response of the members of Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

In a situation which could have boiled over into further anger and hatred, their families and congregation’s response was one full of forgiveness and grace. What a glorious and blessed witness. What an inspiration! They responded with the love of Jesus Christ; a light they shined into the darkness which at least for a little while placed a damper on the follow-up racial hatred which Satan hoped to inspire.

This is how racism is defeated…by the unifying love of Jesus Christ.

The Big Picture

When Satan next causes racial tensions to rise we must keep in mind the larger spiritual picture.

Satan is using any wedge he can to get between Man and God, and one of the most divisive tools Satan feeds to Man’s sinful nature is racism. Satan was a murderer from the beginning, and his desire is for Man to hate his brother, so he can make them murderers as well.

“Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him” (1 John 3:15).

In God’s eyes, Christianity and racism are mutually exclusive; one is born of God, one is born of Satan. With our Lord God it is all an inside story. God is not at all concerned with outward appearance; instead He dwells upon the internal spiritual nature of our hearts. We need our focus to be the same, looking past our fellow Man’s purely outward appearance and seeing either our brothers or sisters in Christ, or souls to be won for Christ’s kingdom.

I so long for heaven where there will be no racism, but instead unity in the spirit of love with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Praise be to the Lord God Almighty.

Come Lord Jesus, come!


[1] “God’s Final Message Applied to Today’s Churches”


[2] That tragic day Christ welcomed home nine of our brothers and sisters in Christ, and said, “Well done good and faithful servants.” May the Lord God continue to bless and bring His peace to this church and all the faithful Believers in Charleston, South Carolina.