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God Is Not Colorblind

Back in February of 1976 President Ford officially recognized Black History month, and it has been celebrated in the United States every February since. I will confess that until just a few years ago, I never really paid a lot of attention to the annual celebration. That has increasingly changed for me as my two boys have grown older.

It used to be that I would say I was “colorblind” and that I didn’t see racism and discrimination within our community. But as my boys have gotten older, I have seen them experience this firsthand and navigate some unfortunate, and downright sad, comments and situations. Seeing this reality has caused me to reflect, to take a posture of learning, and ultimately, to see things from a different light than I ever had.

A few years ago, I was in a meeting to discuss race relations with a number of area pastors. During the discussion one pastor made the comment that “God was colorblind” and that “love sees no color.” It was at that moment that Dr. Don Davis, Executive Director of TUMI (The Urban Ministry Institute) and longtime friend of Hope, kindly and gently interjected that he disagreed. I started taking notes as Dr. Davis said something like this:

When someone communicates to a person of another ethnicity, “I don’t see color,” they might as well be saying, “I don’t see that part of you that is integral to you and your culture, your family history, your life experience, and your personal identity.” Whether intended or not, this is the equivalent of saying, “I don’t see you.”

If you don’t notice the differences in musical notes, you can’t hear the beauty of harmony. In the same way, if you don’t notice the differences in our ethnicities, you can’t behold the full beauty of the Gospel.

I think one of the reasons this idea of colorblindness is appealing is because we believe that unity means similarity and agreement. But it doesn’t. The heart for our unity is Jesus. Our differences don’t hinder that truth: they magnify it. We are not the same. We are different! And that’s what makes our unity in Jesus all the more glorious.

I desire to learn more from my Black friends. I desire to learn more about their history and their personal stories. And as I do, I find myself growing in appreciation for the beauty and complexity of God’s creation. We truly are better all together…a beautiful mosaic of differences that give us a clearer picture of the fullness of God and His love.

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” (Rev. 7:9-10)