A black pastor of a Florida-based multiethnic church stressed that one's identity is ultimately found in Jesus Christ, not race.
"A lot of people, they look at themselves as a black person or a white person or a Hispanic person. I look at myself as a born-again person, washed by the blood, who is a child of God that happens to be black," Pastor Ken Claytor of Alive Church in Gainesville, Florida, told Joni Lamb on an episode of Daystar Television's Table Talk last month.
I don't have a problem with my heritage or my race. I love what I am," he added.
Claytor, who's also the author of the book, As it is In Heaven: How a Church That Resembles Heaven Can 'Help' Heal Our Racial Divide, shared that racism comes as a result of living in a fallen world, adding that "some of the racist rhetoric was coming from the Church, especially in the South."
"There were Jim Crow laws that were passed in the South, and some people believed that segregation was a godly thing. Not sure what scripture they were using for that one because I got other scriptures that say the opposite," he said.
He then went on to argue that racism is "not just a skin issue" but a "sin issue" and that Christ is the answer to sin, The Christian Post reports.
"So, the Church should actually be leading the way and be the example," he added.
He also stressed that the Church should always be able to address the topic of racism since it comes from living in a sinful world.
"It's almost this pressure, 'let's keep putting our head in the sand and act like this isn't a problem,'" Claytor noted. "But as long as we live in a fallen, broken world, there's going to be all kinds of -isms; sexism, racism, whatever the -isms are. And we have to address it."
Claytor further encouraged Christians to forgive others who have hurt them in light of Christ's forgiveness of their sins.
"As Christians, we have to forgive because we've been forgiven of so much. And I think we live in a time where it's almost suggested, 'Well, no, this has been so bad that you can't forgive someone.' And that's just not true," he said.
"I don't look at social injustices or racism as, 'Oh, that's a white problem, a black problem, yellow problem.' I look at it as a demonic problem," Claytor argued. "This is not just about a certain group of people. This is about how Satan loves to divide. 'For a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand.' He'll use whatever he can to divide us; denominational differences, doctrinal differences and pigment differences," he said.
Claytor also shared how God led him to forgive those who were racist toward him in his youth.
"I feel like when we go through life's experiences, we can get bitter or get better. And I didn't have a strong walk with Jesus back then," he explained. "And so, I was a little bitter. … I still had different kinds of friends and things. But in a couple of years outside of college, I rededicated my life to Jesus, I got filled with the Holy Spirit, and it was almost like I just got supernatural love."
"And I got a supernatural lens. And I began to see things from a heavenly perspective more than even from my parent's perspective or other people's perspective. I just began to see things differently."
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.