We hear it a lot. Some of us say it a lot. "I'm color blind; I treat everyone the same." While this sentiment is well-intended, a person of color may not be hearing what you think they are hearing. Sometimes our attempt to solve the problem of racism reveals a deeper issue. It shows that we think race itself is the problem and that canceling it out is the solution. The truth is we do see color, we can't help but see it. It's all around us; it is part of who we are. So when you say something like, "I don't see color," what some people hear is "I don't see you."
Confusion of Language
In Genesis 11, the Bible says that there was one people who shared one language. They were supposed to be filling the earth and stewarding Creation in order to reflect the glory of their Creator. But in their unwillingness to scatter and in their desire to make a name for themselves, they built a tower at Babel. Ultimately, they were united together by one goal: to show their own greatness rather than worship the greatness of God. This is why the LORD came down and confused their language. This is where ethnicity began. And because humanity was already steeped in selfishness and pride, this confusion has been a source of division for millennia. But God's plan all along has been to show his greatness through the beauty of diversity.
Blessing to the Nations
God called out Abraham and told him that he would be the father of many nations and that through his offspring, all nations of the earth would be blessed (Gen. 12:3). The New Testament confirms that this promise is fulfilled in Christ. Jesus is the offspring of Abraham, and all who receive Jesus as their king by faith are children of Abraham (Gal. 3:7-8). Christ is the blessing to all nations and faith is the means through which the blessing is received (Gal. 3:14). So Christ is the one in whom all peoples of the earth are united.
Reversal of Babel
In chapter 2 of the Acts of the Apostles, the disciples experienced the reversal of Babel. The Holy Spirit was poured out on them just as Jesus had promised (Acts 1:8). They began to speak in languages that they did not know. Jews from every nation were represented in Jerusalem that day, and they heard Jesus' disciples speaking in their own respective languages. As a result, they were primed to listen to the story of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. Many of them believed. Over time, their faith spread across the known world, bringing the blessing of Christ to every nation.
Race and Grace
What happened on the day of Pentecost shows that God's confusion of languages at Babel, which ultimately resulted in the multitude of people groups existing today, was not a curse but a blessing that would ultimately serve to amplify the LORD’s greatness as people from every nation are united through faith in Jesus Christ. Revelation 5:9-11 tells of God's throne room in which worshippers from every nation, tribe, and language are present. This confirms that no race is superior to another. It further shows that God never intends to cancel out or diminish race and ethnicity. Neither should we.
This has massive implications for how we view and treat those who look, think, and talk differently from us. When we root our identity in Christ (who he is, what he has done for us, and what he has done for others who are different from us), then we will see others in the light of his grace. We will love even those who mistreat us because we know that God showed his love to us through the death of Christ while we were unlovable (Rom. 5:8). We will treat one another with dignity and respect, including those with whom we disagree. We will use our power and strength to love and serve rather than to dominate and tear down. We will use our voice to seek justice for one another. We will see the one who is different from us as a gift of God’s grace that we would not experience if they were not in our lives.
We should not seek to be color blind. If this is our goal we will miss the manifold (multicolored) wisdom of God displayed in the beauty of his diverse people, who are united through faith in Christ. Race (or skin tone) is not the center of our identity, but it is an integral part of our identity. It is not the source or substance of our unity, but it displays more fully the beauty of the One who is our source and substance. Yes! We should see color and celebrate it to the glory of Christ!
Written by: Jeremy Brown
Posted: August 1, 2020