How Our Family Embraces Racial Redemption

Both believers and churches have gotten race wrong for millennia. But Jesus invites us onto a righteous path of peace and protection in the power of his name. Christ the Redeemer covers us in his identity and anoints us for reconciliation at a table of redemption. The Lord’s Table is also our fellowship of communion—a common unity in the shared sacrifice of body and blood. When saints of all races “do this in remembrance” of his sacrifice, we are unified in submission and gratitude before our Savior.

In contrast, the powers and principalities of the world tell us to “look out for ourselves” and “cast down the oppressors” as a response to past sin. The prescription they offer is self-exaltation and universal accusation. We can hear it after every high-profile racial incident—accusation from one side, denial from the other, and a chorus of defensiveness all around.

But God is building something better. In God’s kingdom, racial sin is a source of sorrow but not irredeemable shame. Racial repentance leads to healing, not another cycle of harm. In the house of the Father, we will gather the full spectrum of race and ethnic traditions, where none of us reflects our Creator nearly as well as all of us.

In our seminars, we journey through a “grace space” where churchgoers can gather over a weekend in honest dialogue about the wounds of racial division. We use a mix of large-group presentations, small-group discussions, and individual, overnight reflection to cultivate new convictions and motivation to identify and take the next right step toward redeeming race.

We are guided by the presence of a shepherding Savior who sanctifies us daily. Our responsibility is to partner in the work he is doing as Redeemer. As believers on that path, we cry out with the psalmist, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me, and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (139:23-24). We value corporate confession and restoration, and we believe that begins with a personal admission of sin and shortcoming.

We believe sharing our personal stories of trauma, sin, healing, and hope is the only way out of our present darkness. Political leadership and social activism can be powerful forces for justice, but only the church that lifts up Jesus Christ can draw all of us into merciful fellowship. In Christ we pray for forgiveness, and we pray for the grace to forgive those who sin against us. Since racial division has been a mechanism of so much evil, reclaiming and redeeming our racial identity through Christ is a powerful witness to God’s redemptive plan.

Like the personal conversations of Sankofa and the congregational invitation to racial righteousness, we invite individuals, families, and communities to be vulnerable about racial division, misunderstanding, and even sin. Our enemy, the deepest racist of all time, wants us to stay separated, stay proud, and stay in judgment. But by the Spirit, we can come together in humility and mercy to redeem the Creator’s original design.

In our own home, and across our dinner table, we see why God called us—from Alaska and Texas, from education and church ministry—into a fellowship of grace. The problems of racial sin are profound, but God’s grace is more than sufficient.

Our journeys started at opposite ends of the continent, but our paths came together, and we’ve been writing a story of “grace expectations” ever since.

This article on racial redemption originally appeared on covchurch.org and is reposted here by permission.


Peter and Tracy Hilts
Peter and Tracy Hilts live in Colorado, where they raised six children. They now have an empty nest and grandchildren close by. Tracy has served as a pastor, counselor, seminary professor, hospital and hospice chaplain—and is currently leading Living Hope Covenant Church. Peter has invested 30 years in public education and currently serves as the chief education officer for School District 49 in Colorado Springs.

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