I originally wrote this blog post in May of 2012, right after Bradley and I had been called to adopt two African babies. At the time, I had no idea what I was getting into. I didn’t know what it meant to be the white mother of black children. I didn’t know what it meant to parent 5 individual children of difference races. I now have 9 years of experience under my belt. While I’m nowhere near an expert on this subject, I am an eager student and, God willing, a faithful advocate.
A lot has changed since 2012. Our world, our country, and our churches are more divided than ever. Instead of engaging in honest, respectful dialogue about our differences, we’ve been programmed to avoid painful conversations and cocoon ourselves with our tribes of those who look, believe, and behave like us. We’ve swept biblical truths under the rug of Christian cliches. So, with tenacious humility, I’ve pulled this post from the archives, dusted it off, and updated it a bit. Because it’s still relevant and it’s still true.
There are a few popular Christian clichés that make me wince. Among them:
God is colorblind.
Christians should be colorblind. Sermons have been preached on this issue. Books have been written. Songs have been sung. All by well-meaning people with good intentions, waving their flags of Unity.
I want to suggest you that willfully closing our eyes to the unique attributes of people lovingly created by Almighty God is rarely the road to unity and cohesion. Rather, it often leads us down the path to isolation and misunderstanding. And I have to ask the question - "Is God really colorblind?" I understand the sentiment behind the word. It's meant to convey a message of racial equality...that God loves us all the same. And he does love us all the same, make no mistake. Scripture tells us in 1 Samuel 16:7 that "Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart." And in many ways, we are all exactly the same: we all sin, we all need a Savior, we all long to love and be loved, we all need a family, we all need acceptance, we all bleed when cut. In many respects, we are all identical. However, this word also implies that God doesn't see our skin color when he looks at us. And here's where I staunchly disagree. How can the God of the universe, who spoke this creation into existence, who invented color, who created each and every human being in an array of skin tones, yet somehow in His own image...how can this God be colorblind? Revelation 4 describes the throne room in heaven, where the Almighty is seated. Verse 3 says, "And He who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald." According to this verse, God is literally surrounded by a rainbow. He abides in color. He dwells in diversity. He is continually beholding beauty. He takes delight in variety. In Genesis 16, he is called Jehovah El-roi, "the God who sees." He sees everything about us. He sees our bad hair days, our unflossed teeth, our chipped fingernails. He sees our hidden pain, our less-than-perfect pasts, our secret regrets, our untold bitterness. He sees us. And He created us in his image. We are his most magnificent works of art. Genesis 1:27 says, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." This is the part that blows my mind. Think about all of the different races, tribes, nationalities, ethnicities, and skin colors on this planet. Every single human being on Earth, regardless of appearance, is created in the image of Almighty God. What a Colorful Creator we must serve. With this in mind, what should our response be, as Christians, to the things that make us different from one another? Is it possible to fully love our fellow man without devaluing the attributes that make him unique? Is it possible to acknowledge, embrace, and celebrate the extraordinary traits in each of us that give us a glimpse of our Creator’s breathless beauty?
I believe it’s time to rewrite the narrative. Instead of striving to be colorblind, how about we thrive as the color-blessed people of God that we are?
How about we celebrate the qualities that make us special? In our family, it’s impossible to pretend like we’re all the same. Because we’re not. So we’ve decided to revel in our differences. My black daughter’s hair is different from my white daughters’ hair. We have to treat Jolie’s hair differently. And we are proud of it. James’ hair has to be cut differently than Bradley’s. And we’re proud of it. We have to treat our skin differently. And we’re proud of it. We all have different nose shapes, different eye colors, different skin colors, different body types. And we’re proud of it. Because God is proud of how he made us. We each look like him.
How about we open ourselves up to learning about different cultures and nationalities and traditions? How about we sit across the table from someone who looks nothing like us? Who is from another country? And how about we ask questions and keep our mouths shut and just listen with open ears, hearts, and minds? How would that change things in our communities, churches, and country? What if we were all eager to listen and slow to preach?
And if you’re not acquainted with anybody who doesn’t look like you, do you think you could or should change this? If so, how?
My prayer is that I’m causing you to pause and think. I would love to sit down with you and hear your answers to all of these questions.
So, is God colorblind? No. I don't believe He is.
To my precious husband, the whitest white boy I've ever seen - You are beautiful. You were created in God's image. He sees you and He delights in you.
To my 3 white daughters - You are beautiful. You were fearfully and wonderfully made. God knit you together in my womb. He saw you before you were even born. And he sees you now. You were created in God's image. He delights in you.
To my 2 African-American children with gorgeous brown skin - You are beautiful. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. God knit you together if your first mother’s womb. He saw you before you were even born. And he sees you now. You were created in God's image. He delights in you. To my friends of every other race, nationality, and ethnicity - You are beautiful. You were created in God's image. He sees you and he delights in you. Dear Christian, in a world that is hell-bent on keeping us divided because of our differences, it’s our job to do the holy work of reconciliation while acknowledging and celebrating what makes us unique. We get to be set apart from the world in this way. They will know we are Christians by our love. By our unity. By our compassion. It is our privilege and our joy as Christ-followers to love like God loves. To embrace all. To delight in all. To accept all. To see all. We will not be blind.