Red, yellow, black and white.
This is us. Family. Blended and different. Each one loved and accepted. Colorful hues of personality and culture that blends into our lives.
Red, yellow, black and white.
It’s not the family I expected. Yet if I were to take an honest look deep into my heart, I would say that nothing in my life is what I had expected. That’s the way life events usually turn out – completely different than what we paint in our mind’s eye. Instead, there is a Master craftsman who blends the colors together in His own style.
He carefully chooses which color to put on our life’s canvas. For me, He chose several ‘colors’ to create a Masterpiece called “Our Family”. Could I have seen it coming? Absolutely not! But here we are – in all our colorful, beautiful design.
Red, yellow, black and white. They are precious in His sight.
Those words have been sung thousands of times. Yet what would the answer be if we all asked ourselves, “Do I truly believe it?” Often we stand in our padded pews at church singing words to songs, yet not weighing out their deeper meanings. Do we really believe each color, EACH RACE, is precious? Do we treat each ‘color’ with equal respect?
Precious in His sight.
Every color was perfectly chosen by Abba to create a beautiful family tapestry. Yet each color of our tapestry represents the blending of not just different hues, but different cultures. The coming together of nations with one ultimate desire – become one big family working together to advance His kingdom.
Culture. To me, that word gets buried in the racism issue. After all, it’s not just a black/white issue. It’s a ‘they-are-not-like-us’ issue. When I married my husband, I married a different culture. Yes, we both are considered as ‘white’. But I grew up in the south – the place of sweet tea, fried chicken with biscuits and gravy, and ‘Coke’ is any carbonated drink. My husband grew up on the east coast in a New Jersey-born Italian family. To him, carbonated drinks were all ‘soda’, red sauce was served more often than brown gravy, and extended family gatherings often had glasses of wine on the table. Total culture shock for this southern pastor’s kid! The words I had heard before we were married rang in my mind, “Just know that he is not like us. He’s Italian.”
And there lies the issue – “not like us.” The root of that mindset is pride. Society might paint this as a black-vs-white issue, but it is larger than that. Asians have been referred to as “yellow”. Native Americans as “red”. And both of those people groups have been looked down and spit upon by various “white” groups.
Truth is, racism has existed long before our country was established. We can look back to the story of Miriam and Aaron. The brother and sister duo criticized Moses because his wife was of a different culture. A different race. God was so displeased with Miriam’s attitude that she found herself covered in leprosy. When Peter questioned why God would send him to unclean people, Christ rebuked him saying, “Do not call unclean what I have cleansed.” They are precious in His sight.
There is a war raging in our nation that has been sparked by racism. As believers, we should expect the world to react in such manner. But what about the body of Christ? Do we – without realizing it – allow the same attitude to exist within our churches?
I love history. Yet when I read about some of the events of our nation’s history, my heart breaks. Native Americans were called ‘savages’ and often killed for being ‘red’. Africans were brought here, sold as items and handled as if they were consumables to toss away. Some harbor cities were sectioned into groups by nationalities and often those groups spat upon each other. Asians were put into camps on the West Coast of our nation. All were actions that showed the pride one group of people had towards those ‘not like them.’ No doubt, like with Miriam, those attitudes and actions displeased our Creator.
One thing I could never understand is how God fearing men and women thought it normal to separate color even in the churches. Scripture is clear on God’s heart concerning this matter, so why act openly against it? I also find it sad that the issue doesn’t stop at just the skin tone of people. We often judge other churches by the type of songs or hymns they sing, if they dress in suit and tie or torn jeans, or whether they allow dance in worship or not. These judgements usually come quickly without even getting to know the people and hearing their hearts.
Why do we look at the outward of piercings, hair color and tattoos, but ignore the hidden sins in our own hearts? Is it not just a spiritual form of racism? Peter talked of this to the early church. He is describing the attitude women are to take of focusing on the heart. He clearly states “…let it not be the outward adorning….but let it me the hidden person of the heart….” Just makes sense that if we are to be focusing on dressing up our own hearts, then we also are to look at that hidden heart of the people around us – not at their skin color, dress, or markings. That all will fade away. But the heart remains.
The judgements of others often keep people out of church. I grew up in a loving church so I never understood this until my own family walked through the fire about 10 years ago. All because we did not bend to one group of people wanted but chose to follow God’s lead in what He wanted to do within the church, some decided we were not welcome. Recently I heard Matthew West’s song Truth Be Told. Words from the song stood out to me as I had this article already in my mind:
“There’s a sign on the door, says, “Come as you are” but I doubt it Cause if we lived like it was true, every Sunday morning pew would be crowded But didn’t you say the church should look more like a hospital A safe place for the sick, the sinner and the scarred and the prodigals like me.”
Back to us. Our family. Blended by a beautiful tapestry.
Yellow. My son met his wife while attending Youth With a Mission in Denver, Colorado. She is half Canadian and half Chinese. Bi-racial. Her father was born in China to a family that escaped out of communism when he was 5. When I was in Canada for their wedding, I watched her Canadian family mesh with the Chinese. Blended and beautiful. To some, my daughter-in-law is seen as “yellow”. To us, she is our beloved ‘Canasian’.
Black. My son-in-law is fully American even though he is half black and half white. Bi-racial. My daughter met him on the mission field in Haiti. They are two people who share a passion for rescuing the abandoned, used, and broken children. Blended with a purpose to serve other nations, tribes and generations.
One day my youngest son will marry. Red, yellow, black or white will not matter. That person will be family. Currently, he is in a relationship with someone he met on a mission’s trip to Haiti. Is she from America? Not at all. She is from Brazil. Once again, a different culture. Yet precious both to us and in the sight of God.
We have four grandchildren and one on the way. Each from mixed cultures. Bi-racial. Blended and beautiful. But I have watched as even among Christians, and in some churches, our family at times has been in awkward positions due to either skin color or tattoos. But I know their hearts, their callings, their anointing. God has gifted each of them and they are reaching people that might not be open to me. Why? Because our world is hurting and needs to know someone cares without judgement but with understanding.
Yes. All three of my ‘kids’ have tattoos. Some churches would not allow them to hold any position of leadership because of that fact. Some see it as ‘sin on the skin’. I admit that I failed miserably in this area. Accepting wine being poured at Italian family meals was one thing. But seeing tattoos on the skin of my grown kids? I couldn’t grasp why they would do something against what I taught them. I kept looking at MY teachings. My reasonings. And never stopped to hear THEIR heart……find out the root behind their actions. To hear the hurts or reasons that initiated their actions. I just judged. Spiritual racism. And I had to repent. After all, Christ taught us that everything we see on the outside reflects a root that is inside. When a group brought a ‘woman of sin’ to him, He did not look at the outward. Instead, He saw her heart – hurt, bruised, and needing a Savior. He didn’t condemn and instructs us not to as well.
Through the years, we have learned to blend our colors. I now say ‘soda’ and my husband eats more foods with brown gravy. We have more Asian and TexMex foods than before. I drink Auntie Ping’s tea almost daily. I have learned that even those who would drink wine are precious in His sight….because He died for them and they chose to live for Him.
Culture. Red, yellow, black and white. All precious. None worthy of His blood. All needing a Savior. All are His beloved. Let’s choose today to be Jesus with skin on in our actions to every race, tribe and tongue.
Jesus loves the little children. All the children of the world. Red and yellow. Black and white. They are precious in His sight.
Red, yellow, black and white. Precious in His sight.
This is us! Blended and beautiful! Loved by Jesus! Family!