Phileo – A Personal Cure for Racism


I must have heard the term “racism” at least a hundred times last week; but what does it truly mean? The primary definition in Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary says, “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capabilities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority in a particular race.” That is one definition for the word but it is not the only kind of racism in the world. A lot of racism is ethnic or religious and has nothing to do with the color of a person’s  skin. Visit any country and you will find people who believe they are superior to another group of people who share their same nationality. Many believe they are superior to those living in the countries along their borders.

How do we get those beliefs inside of us and where do they come from? If we examine our own belief systems, we will see that most prejudice inside of us has been taught to us since the time we were small children. Remarks may have been made around our home or in the neighborhoods we lived in about people who were different than us. Did we always agree with those remarks? Probably not, but somehow those attitudes may have wormed their way inside of us in a way we were not aware of at the time. We could also have had a bad experience with someone from a different nationality or ethnicity, and so we formed a generalization about those that shared the same characteristics as the person that hurt us. 

I believe that racism is a form of hatred. We may have even heard the words, “I hate that person because they are…you fill in the blank. Racism hates because of the racial, ethnic or religious differences of those around us. It is very easy to generalize about people groups, especially when we don’t know the individuals personally. We don’t believe we are bad people when we hold those kinds of beliefs, we think it is only natural to feel that way.

Natural or not, we need to confront those beliefs and seek to change our attitudes towards those who are not like us. Jesus told us to “Love our neighbor as we love ourselves.”  There are many kinds of love in the world but the kind of love we need is “phileo.”  The word phileo is from the Greek and it means “friendship or brotherly love.” You’ve heard of Philadelphia…same root word.

Will it be easy to change? No, it will take time and determination. Every time we begin to generalize or think ill of those who are different than us, we must catch those thoughts and reject them. We must learn to view others as fellow human beings, our brothers if you will, whom we need to learn to love and care for. If we can personalize that love and reach out to others with that same kind of caring we would give our own brothers, it will go a long way in solving the problem of racism. 

Remember, we cannot fix the world around us until we can fix ourselves. 

Image by Cheryl Holt. Courtesy of Pixabay.

When God Weeps…


candlelight candles

Photo by Irina Anastasiu on

This weekend another eleven innocent lives were taken at a Jewish Synagogue in Pittsburgh. We feel shocked and saddened by another act of senseless violence committed by a person filled with hatred. We seek for answers and we find none. We want to blame someone and so we lash out at whoever we feel is responsible for this terrible crime.

star-of-david-278820_640photo by kahln/courtesy of Pixabay.

Regardless of who we think is responsible, or what laws we think have allowed this tragedy to happen, we all must look deep inside of our own hearts. If we want the hatred and division to stop in our society, we must take an inventory of ourselves and start there.

Haters hate because they want to. They don’t need any help hating, they just need someone to hate. They will find an outlet for their hate and it will make them feel justified in their hearts. We all have to ask ourselves if we are becoming part of the problem of hatred and division in this country.

No matter where we are on the political spectrum, are we being sucked into a culture of anger and hatred? Do we feel justified in allowing ourselves to demonize those of another political or religious persuasion? Have we been manipulated by the pundits to view others as enemies instead of people with differing opinions or beliefs?

Each of must examine our own hearts. None of us are justified in hating others because of the color of their skin or because of their religious or political affiliation. We must take a few steps back and reject rhetoric when we hear others trying to divide us and keep us apart from each other.

Let’s all stop becoming part of the problem and become part of the solution.

“If you take away the yoke from your midst,

the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,

If you extend your soul to the hungry,

And satisfy the afflicted soul,

Then your light shall dawn in the darkness,

And your darkness shall be as the noonday.”

Isaiah 58: 9 – 10 (NKJV)