The more things change, the more they stay the same. This is a profound statement (intentionally or not) paraphrasing the first chapter of Ecclesiastes. For thousands of years, the human heart has been bouncing from one thing to another, looking for ways to justify itself. Countless combinations of money, power and sex have been, and will continue to be tried -- all in vain.
Astoundingly, to everyone except the writer of Ecclesiastes, this includes the privileges and luxuries of being a billionaire in Southern California. Clippers owner Donald Sterling apparently also needed white superiority tied to his identity in order to satisfy his soul.
His recorded insinuation that black people are essentially sub-human and should not be publicly interacted with is awful, hateful, ignorant and stupid. But it’s hardly shocking and certainly not new. There is no limit the heart is not willing to go to get what it wants.
The NBA’s reaction to these comments was swift and severe. The public outcry was loud and ruthless. There is no place for racism in this world, especially a league in which 70% of the workforce is black.
Yes and Amen.
We can all agree that racism is wrong; it’s a damnable offense, no matter what belief system you subscribe to.
But what virtually no one agrees on is the fact that being vocally anti-racism is not enough to justify your heart either. Our hearts - all of our hearts - are wicked, perverted, deceptive and evil. We are prone to self-righteousness just as much as, if not more than racism. Condemning other people’s sin (accurately or not) is arrogance.
Racism is clearly breaking God’s law that all peoples have inherent worth and dignity. But self-righteousness is clearly assuming God’s role as judge, condemning those whose offenses we consider to be the most egregious.
Donald Sterling’s only hope for forgiveness and renewal is the Gospel. But the same can be said for Mother Teresa. Saints and sinners, rule followers and rebels -- all of us only have one hope: that Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient to pardon both racists and legalists like you and me.
That is our only hope for salvation; we’ve tried everything else and come up short. There is nothing new under the sun.
Its comforting to know the more things change; we have something that stays the same.
"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." - Romans 8:1