I see color. Colors everywhere – tan, white, black, and brown. You can’t deny it. There is no denying you see it too. To deny that you do not see someone’s race is to deny a piece of who they are. That is like saying you never noticed someone was 6 feet tall, has blonde hair, or has green eyes. Color is a part of who you are. Somewhere along the lines, we decided to use that to determine someone’s worth.
The tragedy in Charlottesville here in the United States is proof of the continuing division over people’s races, backgrounds and cultures. The reality is this started all the way back towards the beginning of the Bible. Have you heard of the story of the Tower of Babel? When all of the nations were united they chose to try and create their own way to Heaven. That was the moment of division. The moment God chose to divide us all. From that moment on, there is a distinct mark in the Bible of many cultures being formed.
We all have our own cultures. Our identity does center around the area we were raised in, the places we’ve been, religions exposed to, and our lineage. In some ways my childhood was incredibly unique. I am a child of the Appalachian mountains. Both of my parents come from a long line of Kentucky heritage. This is also a land steeped in white traditions.
A proud heritage of hard workers, farmers, coal miners, factory workers, soldiers, and very family oriented. Growing up I assumed everyone had dozens of aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. I also learned that the Appalachian mountains had a deep dislike and misunderstanding of those from different backgrounds. When I was younger, it was people with black skin. As I’ve gotten older, it’s Hispanic people. There are many old fashioned beliefs that these people came to steal jobs and take land. Not many people of these races live in the Appalachian mountains so it is very hard to help overcome this viewpoint.
For me things were different. My parents moved to St. Louis when I was 6 years old. I lived there until I was almost 15 years old. It is the home of my childhood. St. Louis is different than Kentucky. It is made up of many black people. In elementary school I was one of the only white kids in my school. I didn’t find it weird though. My best friends were black and I loved them.
I knew we were different. My hair was really easy to do while it would take hours to do my friends. As a child, I loved having cornrows so my hair could be done in a similar. My dad was even an associate pastor in the Ferguson Missouri area (where there were riots a couple of years ago). The differences were celebrated in my family and friends however. My very best friend was black and we considered ourselves to be sisters. I still consider her a sister not through blood but by choice.
We were taught to celebrate our differences. As children we would sit and talk to her mother. She would tell us what it was like to be alive during segregation. Taught about how amazing Martin Luther King Jr. was. She told us we were blessed to have him so that we could be best friends. I feel like it was an extremely special friendship for her as well as us. Our backgrounds were reasons to love each other – not hate each other. We knew God died for every person – not just one of us or one background.
For God so loved the WORLD that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16
Throughout these experiences in my life I was taught a unique life lesson. See color. Embrace it. Understand that everybody, no matter their skin color, has a story. Go to new places of the world. Talk to different cultures.
I was very fortunate to have been exposed to a variety of cultures. Maybe you were not able to be. Your background could be you living in the same area and never leaving it. There is always time to change that.
I personally have committed to learning about new countries and exposing myself to new cultures. Every year, I try to go on one mission trip. My friends are from many different backgrounds and I love hearing their viewpoints. Our writes here at Tirzah actually come from all over the world, which is awesome. God unites everyone!
There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. -Galatians 3:28
Maybe you can’t afford a mission trip or can’t leave your area. However, you can reach out locally. There are people of all different cultures and viewpoints in your immediate area. Get to know them and show God’s love. Try to show how God loves every person, every culture, and every nation.
How can you show God’s love to someone different from you? What can you do to help unite your community?
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