The Lie that Binds Us and How to Break Free as Image-Bearers
Hello everyone! I know it's been a few weeks. This pandemic keeps me busy from a public
health standpoint. Yet, even in all of this upheaval and seeming chaos, Jesus continues to inspire me with words of life and encouragement for you, and maybe a bit of course correction for us all.
Today, I want to talk about what is at the root of racism not only in this nation, but all over the
world – what is at it's very foundation. In other words, what lie did we, as different people
groups, believe to get to where we are today?
Racism, here and around the world, and the systems that support it, are built on one single lie. This lie goes back centuries and has pervaded all civilizations, both present and past. Search back through history and your will find it influencing all people groups from the time of ancient world to today. It is an old lie, but a very effective one.
What is this lie that I speak of?
This foundational lie (with it's many layers) goes something like this: “Your people group is
better than that people group because of.....(blah, blah, blah) so they can never be your equals. They are different, therefore, they are evil – they must learn to fear you. They are not quite human like your group. Your people group deserves to be in control of others you deem less worthy or less human. What is for your people group, is not for others. You group is more worthy than others. Your group must make all the rules and maintain control because the other groups are incapable of doing so. And remember they are evil and not quite human like you, so they must be kept underfoot.”
This lie may look very complicated but it is easy to break down (remember you have to keep
lying to make all the lies stick together to form some sort of cohesive idea). I'll break down each idea presented here and show you the purpose of the argument. Evil is not that smart so it has to keep circling back around, subtly taking the divine image-bearer out of the human, and using the same theme in different ways to seem believable. No worries, I'm getting to the main title point of this blog. Let's begin.
Lie #1: “Your people group is better than that people group because of.....(blah, blah, blah) so
they can never be your equals. They are different so they are wrong or evil – they must learn to fear you because they are wrong or evil.”
Lie #1 begins by building up the listener's image of self and comparing it to another self if you
will absent of God. This flatters the listener and puffs them up as they now believe they are
superior to another person or group of people. This feeling of superiority is absolutely critical to the foundation of this lie or the other parts won't stick. Now the listeners are ready to hear more about themselves and willing to accept more heinous lies about others.
Lie #2: “They are different, therefore, they are evil – they must learn to fear you. They are not
quite human like your group. Your people group deserves to be in control of others you deem
less worthy or less human.”
Lie #2 is definitely crossing into new territory. This lie starts out with telling the listener that
others are evil, which 10 out of 10 times, will frighten said listener. Now that the listener is afraid, that fear can be used to dehumanize or strip the divine image-bearer status of another human being or people group. A power imbalance is created within this layer. The listener will now feel justified it wanting to hurt or control others through more fear because after all, “they are evil so they must also be afraid of us because we are afraid of them.” Fear is absolutely essential to this layer of the lie. Without fear, you have no basis to dehumanize anyone.
Lie #3: “What is for your people group, is not for others. You group is more worthy than others.”
Lie #3 tells the listener they are now special (I have always found this odd and out of place but
in the whole in makes sense for the Liar to say this). It also reinforces their human status ahead of others with its use of the words “worthy.” The listener feels they are now more worthy of humanness and divine image bearing than anyone else. The power imbalance is further enhanced within Lie #3 with the use the words “more worthy” and the idea of “you are special and they are not.”
And now for the final clincher. The final layer that seems to tie it all together but is really just
wrapping back around to a previous lie because Evil is, after all, not very clever.
Lie #4: “Your group must make all the rules and maintain control because the other groups are
incapable of doing so. And remember they are evil and not quite human like you, so they must
be kept underfoot.”
By this time, the listener is now operating in full blown arrogance and pride because they are
“special.” They have justified stripping the other of their divine image-bearing because they are
afraid and want others to be afraid. They have justified their power imbalance because of their
fear, arrogance and pride. And lie #4 reinforces (after all we humans need reinforcement and
don't think the Liar doesn't know that) all of these things and reminds them again that “those people are not quite as human as you and you need to be afraid.” Fear is absolutely essential here to close this argument, as are pride and arrogance. Together, all three “glue” this lie together and make it believable because they appeal to the self and self-preservation.
This foundational lie has been effective in this country for 400 years and in many ways is still
effective. It has been effective in other counties for varying amounts of time. The problem is the
foundational lie of racism binds us all up in fear, pride, arrogance, and empty self-preservation.
This 'foundation” is devoid of life, health, joy, and love (as is the Liar telling the lie).
So Elizabeth, you ask, do we have any hope of tearing down this lie and disrupting its
foundation? The answer is a resounding yes!!
The Gospel has already paved the way for a grand disruption. The Gospel of Jesus reinforces the divine image-bearing status of all human beings and is already actively disrupting racism across the world and in this nation. Jesus came for all people – of every tribe, tongue, and nation. Does Paul not say in Galatians 3:28 that there is neither Jew, nor Greek, nor slave nor free, nor male nor female; but that you are all one in Jesus Christ? The Gospel is for everyone! The Gospel of Jesus is a gospel that teaches the worthiness and value of all human beings. The Gospel reminds us all that we are all divine image-bearers worthy of dignity. The Gospel is freedom from the lie of racism! The Gospel rejects fear, pride, arrogance, and empty self- preservation. The Gospel compels us to justice, love, joy, life, and health! Yes that means we have to speak up and out when we see something that is wrong! We don't hide behind our church walls or our politics (some of which are heavily influenced by the very lie I have been dissecting). Did Jesus not speak up and act when He saw what the money changers in the temple were doing to the poor? Did he hide? No, He did not hide! He was neither silent nor appeasing when he drove the money changers out who were cheating the poor and using His Father's house to fulfill their lust for gold (and power). The Gospel disarms and drives out the lie of racism because the love of Jesus drives out all fear and lust for power. When you are not afraid of your fellow human beings, you will see them as God intended you to see them – as divine image-bearers like you and you will indeed be free! When you have no lust for power, you will not seek to control others and you will not be afraid of losing your power because love is more important to you than power; and again you will be free! The Gospel has already made the
way people! We already have a formidable weapon to disarm and tear down the lie of racism! The power of love has already won! The Liar and the lies of racism can't stand against the Gospel nor the power of love. The time has come not to be quiet, but to speak out loudly against the lies of racism in this country and around the world! We must continue to disrupt this wicked foundation! The time has come to drive out the the lies and the lust for power with the Truth!
The time has come to be free!
Who's ready to do some righteous disrupting?