The Washington Post recently highlighted the differences between two “Christian” players who have been known to kneel on the football field, although for different reasons. One is Tim Tebow, and the other is Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick is the NFL player who started kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 saying, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”
The controversy gained renewed attention last week when President Trump used profane language to call on NFL owners to fire players who disrespect the American flag by not standing during the national anthem. Swift reaction came from both NFL players and owners. Multiple owners issued public statements, and when the national anthem played last Sunday, at least 200 players elected to either kneel or sit.
According to two new polls, most Americans disagree with Kaepernick’s protest. However, one needs to look no further than social media to see how divided our nation is on this topic.
Christians should be grieved over issues of racial injustice and should help lead the way in tackling these tough issues. We should also be the first to show gratitude for all the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our freedoms and those who continue to stand in harm’s way. Christ followers should begin any response by knowing what the Bible says about racism and respect.
What does the Bible say about Racism and Respect?
Racism – The Bible condemns racism. The apostle James said, “Show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ … If you show partiality, you are committing sin” (James 2:1,9). Further, Scripture teaches that all people are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27; James 3:9). Jesus Christ is Lord of all who call on Him (Romans 10:12).
Respect – The Bible urges followers of Christ to show respect to governing authorities, do whatever is good, slander no one, and be peaceable and considerate toward everyone (Titus 3:1; Romans 13:1; 1 Peter 2:13-14). God wants us to do whatever is “right and just” (Proverbs 21:3) and remember that although something is lawful for us, it may not be beneficial (1 Corinthians 10:23).
We face complicated issues, and our nation is divided. May all followers of Christ use the influence we’ve been given to help heal the divisions in our land.
Here are two practical suggestions:
- First, let’s apply what Jesus taught about conflict resolution to our own lives. Jesus said:
“How can you think of saying, ‘Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye”
- Second, let’s pray for our nation. One day, everyone will bow their knee to Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:10). In the meantime, let’s get on our knees to seek God’s help for our nation, our government leaders, and NFL players who influence our culture.
Our nation cannot win unless Christians are faithful to these actions.
About the Author:
Laura is a blogger and Bible study leader who leverages her experience as a former television news reporter, radio show host, and magazine editor to connect the relevance of Scripture to modern issues. She writes regularly about news and faith on her website.