Everyday Christian: how I defeated the temptation to be racist

At first glance it might seem strange that I was ever tempted to be racist.

After all, being multi-racial – a victim of the White Australia policy – and being abused in the schoolyard for being different, have given me good reasons not to be racist.

I should explain that White Australia policy reference. Simply put, my family was kept out of Australia by the white Australia policy because my parents had adopted a pair of twins, my brother Peter and I, and we looked too Asian.

Suddenly six men of another distinctive ethnicity surrounded me. they showed me a pistol.

The South Australian government who had hired my father, lobbied the feds and we were let in after a delay. But as a result, I turned six on the high seas.

Skip forward to the eighties, and I was mugged – twice. The first time was using the short-cut through the Catholic High School where, in the darkest corner of the playground, footsteps ran up and I felt something sharp against my throat. They took my wallet and let me go, and the Police told me that it had been a gang of a certain ethnicity that roamed the streets and was getting steadily more violent.

The second time was on the train. Suddenly six men of another distinctive ethnicity surrounded me. They showed me a pistol. An alert passenger quietly raised the alarm and the train halted at (name of station which might identify the racial identity) with the doors locked. But the police did not get there fast enough – there was a train behind us on the line – so the guard opened the doors to let people out and we left the station. The gang got away.

(Dear reader please understand that was along time ago and the trains are much safer now. And that short-cut through the catholic school is no more – it’s locked at night.)

Well, I found myself flinching every time I saw a man (both gangs were males) from the second group. I realised quickly that if I continued to be afraid of that group of people I would be racist.

I did not want to be racist.

I turned down the offer of “compensation” a friendly police sergeant offered to help me get. In my  mind, I thought that would make the problem bigger.

It took six months of self-talk to finally get rid of the fear.

“Perfect love casts out fear,” the Bible says in 1 John 4.18.

I am not perfect, and do not love perfectly.

Maybe my paraphrase of that verse is “imperfect love casts out fear.”