Color Should Just Be an Adjective: Praying to See Others as Jesus Sees and Teaching our Children to Do the Same

The past few weeks have taken a toll on my heart. Starting with the death of Ahmaud Arbery and now George Floyd and all that has happened since then. It’s painful to watch the news and see the destruction that is taking place in cities across our country. Hate bringing more hate. Destruction bringing more destruction. And I can’t imagine how it grieves God’s heart to see His people in this place.

Three years ago, I wrote this blog, and I wanted to share again. But with some revisions. At the time, I said, “Color is just an adjective.” But in reality, I should have said, “Color should just be an adjective.” I think it’s very clear that today, it has still not come to fruition. I still believe the change we want to see can come in our children’s generation, but what I didn’t state enough in this piece was that it MUST start with us. And that requires all of us to do some real soul-searching through fervent prayer. For the hidden to be revealed. For us to face our own depravity. And for Truth to win. This is not a battle against flesh and blood, but against the Enemy to us all who wants nothing more than to divide and destroy. I am praying and will continue teaching my children to love and see people like Jesus the best I can. 

I hope this will be an encouragement, my sweet friends:

When my son was four, he came home from Pre-K one day and asked, “Mama, what color am I?” I asked what he thought, and he said, “Well, Derek is dark brown and Josh is light brown and Bo is really white…and I guess I’m kinda pink?” I told him that looked right to me! Why was he asking? Because he wasn’t sure what crayon to use in his self-portrait. 

Today I asked my 5th grade daughter to describe herself. She said she has long brown hair, is smart, likes to tumble, and is responsible. I asked her to describe another good friend in her class. She said she has pierced ears, is smart, always wears cute earrings, and is sweet. That particular friend happens to be black. But you didn’t know that, did you?

That’s because skin color is not the first attribute my children think about. 
Color is just an adjective to them. Like tall, short, old, young, kind, or mean. 
It does not define who a person is. 

My heart hurts when I see the news. It hurts when I see others choosing death over life, in their words and actions. It hurts to think of my children growing up in a world that puts the most importance on outward appearance and not the heart. But how can we change it?

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 says:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.”

Our children’s hearts are the key to changing the culture. The culture of hate. The culture of comparison and prejudice. The culture of never enough. The culture of “I want.” The culture of “I deserve this.” The culture of “It’s someone else’s fault.” The culture of selfishness and pride that exists in all of us. But our hearts must be right first.

Talk about the Lord and why He came. Talk about His love for everyone.  Talk about His forgiveness for all who call on His name. Talk about obedience to Him. Talk about the sinner that you are and the amazing grace that saved you. And tell them that in Christ we are all one! 

Then walk the walk that you’ve been talking.

Invite friends of other races over to play. Have conversations with your black friends about how you can help them. Make an effort to understand others points of view and really listen. Speak up and do the right thing, even if it’s hard. And make your actions match your words.

Matthew 22:36-40 says:
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

The Lord has given us the amazing responsibility of teaching our children to love God and love others. Not just white others. Not just black others. Not just the ones like us. All others. And in order to do that, we must honestly look at our own hearts. 

Many times our children get it right before we do. Watch your children. Listen to them. And learn from them as well. (Matt.18:3)

Describe people by who they are on the inside.
Believe the best about them.
Truly try to see them as the Lord sees them. 
And shine His light with your love.
His saving grace defines all of us.

Color should just be an adjective.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height…The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”1 Samuel 16:7
Dear Jesus,
We need you so desperately. Draw us closer to you as we seek your face. Help us to love others like you do and teach our children to do the same. Give us ears to hear and eyes to see like you would. Fill our hearts with a longing to have more of you and less of ourselves. Give us courage to truly look at our own hearts and the prejudices that may have taken root. Then help us speak and act boldly as representatives for you to help bring healing to our communities.
In Your Mighty Name,
Amen
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