We’re all God’s children. It seems an obvious statement, doesn’t it? But do we always act and think that way? Do we treat all of our sisters and brothers in Christ like family in the very best sense of the word?

You might be a new arrival who has been abused in the street or followed around by security guards in a shop for no reason. You might be a descendant of a German person who was treated with suspicion and disdain during World War II, or of an Indigenous person removed from their parents as a child because of a government policy. Whatever your story, racism is painful. It is often accompanied by generational trauma and long-term hurt.

Confronting racism head-on is not a matter of political correctness or showing a so-called bleeding-heart bias. It’s about God’s call to us throughout Scripture. It’s actually that we’re failing to enjoy the full richness of his creation and, more importantly, that there’ll be people of ‘all tribes and tongues’ missing from our heavenly soiree if we don’t love and welcome the whole world.

We’d all like to think that we don’t discriminate against people. But racism poisons the thoughts, attitudes and outlook, words and deeds of people of faith and people of no faith alike. When we stop and really ponder how we react to people, we may find that we’re not without blame. I know I’m not. I’ve let unreasonable fear (and ignorance) dictate my feelings when walking past groups of different people at night. I’ve laughed at so-called sporting comedy that mocked people’s names and accents.

Even when unconscious or inadvertent, such behaviour is always harmful to the person who bears the brunt and, ultimately, wears the scars.

Our aim in delving into this topic, though, is not to suggest that we should spend the rest of our lives beating ourselves up over our ingrained prejudice. We’re already forgiven for our insensitive acts and attitudes.

What we hope to do is to learn how we can be better at being inclusive and open-hearted when it comes to people of diverse races and cultures. And, in the following pages, we hope you’ll find information, ideas and personal stories that are both challenging and encouraging.

The LCANZ is endeavouring to bring love to life in this space, both with new arrivals and with those whose connections to these lands date back thousands of years. While imperfect, our efforts in reconciliation with First Nations peoples and cross-cultural and multiethnic ministries continue. And you can learn more about them through our Reconciliation Action Plan website at www.rap.lca.org.au and on the Cross-Cultural Ministry page on the LCA website (www.lca.org.au/departments/cross-cultural-ministry)

May God bless your reading,

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