Court cases, marches, protests, books, movies, and much more reveal how racist the world and society in which we live can really be. But sadly there is another kind of racism that exists, one we do not hear much about: missionary racism. This article is not intended to slam anyone and definitely not to make anyone think less of missions, rather its purpose is to help the missionary and missionary sender avoid racism.
Here are a few attitudes that show “racism” in the area of missions:
Not eating what the people eat
Not allowing the people on the mission field into your home
Not sharing a drink with the people
Not trusting the people with your children
Thinking there is nothing good in the country in which the missionary serves
Thinking a national could never be trusted to be a leader in the church
Talking about missionary’s home country as superior to the country in which he serves
Venting about the cultural differences on social media such as Facebook, blogs, etc.
Yes, another country may have a “weird” culture compared to what one knows. They may eat “weird” things or do business in a “weird” way, but remember that just because something is different, it is not necessarily wrong. When missionary racism is present or even slightly detected by the people the missionary works with, doors of opportunities will begin to close. Remember that if the people do not trust or confide in the missionary, they will most likely not listen to him and they for sure will not help him. Many missionaries limit their work because of their attitude towards the people. Here are a few ways to help avoid missionary racism and grow trust in the people with whom the missionary works.
- Love them.
Love is an ACTION. You can say you love them, but until you step in and get your hands dirty with them, they will not believe it.
- Pray for them.
Talking to God about them and on their behalf will change your attitude towards them.
- Enrich them spiritually.
Teach them the Bible. Teach them to love their spouse and children. Teach them to think, to work, to be a good Christian, and to have a walk with God.
- Realize that you may never be the “great missionary,” but you can help them be a great people for God.
Your whole life is about giving, helping and loving. Spend and be spent. Yes, you will be used, and others may hurt you. But if it helps them, then it is good. Don’t do anything to get or receive “thank you’s” because they may not give them. Do it because you love the Lord and you love the people. This is who you are and what you do!