Friday, August 8, 2014

Red or yellow, black or white...God made us all of one blood


"God that made the world and all things therein...and hath made of one blood all nations of men..."
--Acts 17

She plays peekaboo with the dimply, happy baby in the next table at the restaurant. 

"Enjoy every moment; it goes by so fast!" she admonishes the young mother.  

Then the young woman's husband approaches the table and smiles at the lady.  The older woman looks him over and her congenial smile stiffens, then disappears.  She averts her gaze from him to study the child once more, and now an eyebrow raises.  The young couple pretends not to care as every glimmer of kindness evaporates in her understanding that this baby is...you know. 

She sips her coffee and studies her manicured nails, uncomfortably trying to ignore the quiet family. "Of course, some people think love is blind," she concedes to herself, "But the CHILDREN!  Biracial couples are bringing children into a world where people can be so cruel. It's just not right."  At the next table, the baby happily plays, while the parents try to force their food down, knowing all too well how cruel people can be.

Race in America is over-discussed yet still it remains an elephant in the room.  Each culture silently observes the other over the fence, yet despite often identical values (both good and bad) on both sides of the fence, each side considers the other inherently evil.  

It was the year before Hitler came to power.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer was visiting the United States from Berlin.  He was struck by how mainstream American society excluded black people as though their skin tone made them less than clean. In a chilling moment of foresight, he declared that in the distant future, if black America became godless, the blame could be placed squarely on the steps of the white churches who prevented them from entering.

Ouch.

Here's the excruciatingly painful truth.  I deserve that blame.  I was one of the most racist little freckled faced hypocrites in Junior High.  I told the jokes. Oh yes, I would qualify myself, all the black people I knew personally were fine people, but, you know, in general...

I was disgusted by Martin Luther King Jr., not because I had ever heard his speech, but because at some point in time after his speech, the lines of war were drawn by both sides and I knew exactly which side I was on.  Why, of course!  Why would I side with people that were born with two strikes against them? People like that had to do something pretty terrific if they expected to be on the same level as any average one of us.

When did my mind change? It was at some point after I had realized that God made me exactly the right way, that He has a plan for me, and that I actually will be happy in that plan.  When I began to relax and enjoy Jesus and the life He has given me, I slowly began to love the people He loves.

And Jesus loves everybody.  Red and yellow, black and white.

We can look at racism scientifically or historically, trying to figure out how society got where it is, but what good will that really do? Yes, we know about the slave days. They ended in 1865. I know about Jim Crow. It ended with Affirmative Action. There really isn't any point rehashing dusty arguments, because there's always blame on both sides. You can always point to ridiculous Affirmative Action mandates, Malcolm X and Black Power, and on and on. Looking back can raise so many questions we forget what we were asking.

I can't control what the rest of the world does. All I can do is know Jesus loves me SO MUCH He took my sin, my blame, and my punishment. He took it just as willingly for Malcolm X, Adolf Hitler, and Barack Obama. The same blood was provided for every person.  When I realize that, I can suddenly see my hypocrisy as it is. SIN.

So I am tired of being part of the problem. I have contributed to the lie that there is somehow difference that extends beyond the color of a person's skin tone or background. We are all pretty much the same stripped naked on the North Pole. If I have been given advantages, God expects me to be thankful and use them to bless those He loves. Not sigh with relief that I was born a certain way.

It is not easy to confess your faults one to another. Please forgive me for contributing to the problem. And join with me in asking God to bring us to the place where we love everyone as He first loved us.

Matthew 25:40
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.