I was having a conversation with a new friend the other day who with curiosity asked me, “what are you trying to do?” She admitted her own lack of understanding as her why for asking the question. She was asking what we as Hillsong Church are trying do when it comes to Ethnic and Racial Healing and Unity. I explained how we believe that understanding can bring us to ethnic and racial healing, justice, and unity. I explained how understanding is a key role of discipleship, of us ultimately becoming more like Jesus in this area.
This is in part why we are trying to increase your understanding through every word written and every Collected Blog post, published on the topic. I would like to explore the following two questions in this next blog post:
Do you understand the depth of ethnic and racial division and injustice that exists where you live, and within the world today?
Do you understand the depth of God’s heart for ethnic and racial justice, healing and unity?
I would challenge you that regardless of your answer to these questions, that you would make it your heart posture to increase your understanding. Spend time becoming a disciple of God, by studying the book that He gave us to live our lives. I’m of course talking about the Bible, our main resource for all things, including the topics of ethnic and racial justice, healing and unity.
Let’s explore the word justice a little bit in the Bible. Let’s let the Bible be our standard for justice. For our purposes, let’s agree that justice means to make wrong things right. Did you know that the word justice, in different forms, appears in the Bible about 140 times? This right away makes me want to pay attention. Very early on in the Bible, in the book of Deuteronomy 32:4 (NIV) we find one of these 140 times. It says:
“He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.”
Let’s look at one more verse of the 140, as part of our exploration. In Psalm 89:14 (NIV) it says:
“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.”
Did you notice what we just read? The Bible says that God is just. The scriptures I just shared, and there are others, tell us that justice is part of God’s character. This means that God is always just and that He cannot be unjust. This is huge. God is not unjust towards certain people groups, races, ethnicities, or nations.
With Deuteronomy 32 and Psalm 89 in our spirits, I want to propose a question, something for us to consider. I could be wrong, but it seems to me that we hear more about how God is love and holy, more often than we hear that God is just. Why is that? I think we all would agree that we let God set the standard for holiness, as an example. But do we let God set the standard for justice?
Consider how the world is doing in ensuring that things are just and right for all people groups, ethnicities and races. If I asked you to give this an academic grade, what grade would you give? I would give it an F, which means a fail. Throughout our societies, across the globe, we see communities that are built around ethnic and racial injustice. We see certain people groups being elevated over other people groups, we see things not being fair, and we see accepted normative societal behaviors that are unjust. It is a consistent theme. Typically, the people groups chosen to have the most comforts and privileges, are chosen based on their race or ethnicity.
Perhaps you are thinking that my grade is a bit harsh. But remember, our Biblical lens. God is always just. That is my standard. That is my comparison. That is my measure. In my personal life, ministry life, and role I have the honor of hearing both individual and collective stories of racial and ethnic injustice from people all over the world, from people I consider family. They are my spiritual sisters and brothers, of many different ethnicities and races.
The truth is things are not just in our world. To increase your own understanding, I encourage you to do an internet search of the community and country you live in. Or try talking with a trusted person of a different race to you. Crucial to increasing your understanding is your heart posture, having a heart posture of curiosity, humility, and listening to understand.
Since God is always just, and as God’s representatives here on earth, we should be on a lifelong journey of increasing our understanding. It is part of His heart that we know about and understand the racial and ethnic injustices that do exist. Discipleship is to look to the Bible to let it define what is wrong in the world, to reveal to us the just and unjust things, and to show us how we go about making wrong things right. This mandate is not new. It is not a popular fad that arose out of 2020, or something that is simply a trend today. Throughout the Old and New Testament, God’s heart on justice is clear.
So what do we do? How do we make things just and right for all people groups, for every ethnicity and race? The reality is there are so many changes that need to be made, it is easy to become overwhelmed. I suggest two things to help you get started:
- Commit to your own journey of increasing your understanding of the depth of God’s heart for ethnic and racial justice, healing and unity.
- Commit to your journey of increasing your understanding of the ethnic and racial injustices that exist where you live and within the world today.
To help increase your understanding, here is one of my favorite podcasts to listen to on the topic. It is called Be The Bridge Podcast
Hillsong Global Ethnic and Racial Healing and Unity, RDEI Manager
Maria Hansen-Quine, LASW, MSW
We acknowledge all First Peoples of the beautiful lands on which we live and celebrate their enduring knowledge and connections to Country. We honor the wisdom of and pay respect to Elders past and present.