Fronting Up To Racism

A Statement on Racial Injustice on behalf of Tearfund in
Aotearoa New Zealand


Amidst all the global injustices that grieve God’s heart, it is right and just for us to be thinking about racism. As long as racial division persists, Tearfund mission to address poverty and injustice will be incomplete. As a member of the global Tearfund family based in Aotearoa New Zealand, we identify four things that we must reflect on.

 
 

We are Disturbed by Racism

The murder, anger and chaos we see on our screens disturbs us. It awakens us to the painful reality of racism, which too many of us conveniently forget, ignore or minimise. It moves us to express solidarity for victims of racism overseas and also to face the reality of racial injustice affecting tangata whenua, and migrant communities here in Aotearoa such as Pasifika and Asian peoples. We are confronted by its persistence, and frustrated by our failure to eradicate it.
 

We are Reminded of our Sin

As a Christian aid and development organisation, we use the strongest biblical language, calling racism evil and sinful. Jesus’ teaching requires us not to judge others, but first to identify and put to death any racist views, words or actions of our own. Our Lord’s teaching directs us away from shifting the blame, and guides us towards costly and transformative repentance.

We are Prompted to Confession

In this spirit, we commit to searching our hearts. A confession from He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa (A New Zealand Prayer Book, p. 407) admits, “We have sinned in ignorance: we have sinned in weakness: we have sinned through our own deliberate fault.” We seek the guidance of te Wairua Taputhe Holy Spiritto reveal any conscious or unconscious forms of racism within us.
 

We are Called to Action

We are inspired by Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan. Jesus challenges us not to differentiate between who is our neighbour and who is not, but rather to “be” a neighbour to those in need. We seek to “go and do likewise” in the manner of the Samaritan. We seek this in the spirit of partnership with the oppressed, rather than seeking to be a rescuer, or hero. We desire real progress toward the elimination of racism and lasting reconciliation.