I am somewhat color blind.
So, my wife Sharie and I fuss about my clothes. I want to wear plain solid colors, because it gives me a remote chance of being able to coordinate what I wear.
But she wants me to wear interesting, patterned, multicolored things. And she is the one who buys my clothes – which means that I have as much a chance of coordinating my clothing as a putting socks on a rooster.
So, we fuss! Only recently we struck up a deal. If she should die before me – then I get to clean out my closet and invest in some Amish wear.
If I should die before her, she has my permission to dress me for the funeral in whatever she wants.
Color blindness is a liability to me – but color blindness can be an asset.
My earliest memories of the neighborhood in which I was raised involved two other kids named Anthony and Angela. They played at my house – I played at theirs. I wasn’t aware they were a different color than me until someone pointed it out – but we played on.
I went to a High School that was predominantly African American. The guys with whom I played football were like brothers. I had a ton of fun singing in a school choir that would vamp the end of Hallelujah Chorus. I was the only Anglo in a soul band. I still love the Stylistics. I was honored by my fellow students by being elected senior class president.
For many of us, color was something you found in a box of crayons. We were people who worked, studied, sweat, suffered and strove together. I even had a crush on a wonderful African American girl (who I hope is not reading this.)
But something dark and terrible happened that senior year. Agitators from outside our school came in and disrupted our peace. There were inflammatory speeches; and clashes between the NAACP and the John Birch Society. Every other day either the white students or the black students would raid the PA room and broadcast propaganda.
The school year was abruptly ended several months early because violence had escalated and was out of control. We were not even sure we would graduate.
But there was an even greater loss. When we sub-divided by race, even the innocents were forced to hang out with our own, for safety. Priceless relationships were strained and suspended, and it was profoundly sad.
I was so glad to graduate and put all that behind me – and yet it’s déjà vu all over again.
The divisive culture of my high school is becoming the culture of my nation. People are devouring each other because of racial enmity.
I believe and try my best to live out the Gospel – a way of life that was designed to be color blind. It was the prophet Samuel that said, “God does not view things the way people do. People look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” – 1 Sam 16:7 NET Bible ®
The Gospel may be the only way to erode our broken human penchant for prejudice. The Scripture makes it clear that God’s people have certain obligations to “all men.” Not just Christians, or people of the same race – but to “all men”
The phrase “all men” (which includes women for sure) pops up frequently. For instance. We are to pursue peace with all men (Heb 12:14); to show every consideration for all men (Titus 3:2) we are to pray for all men and to give thanks for all men (1 Tim 2:1); we should be gentle with all men (Phil 4:5) and we are to respect what is right in the sight of all men (Rom 12:17)
To “all men” shouts the Scripture. Not just some – but all, not just the redeemed but all; not just those who agree with us but “all.” And the people of God need to set the example in such matters because our Lord desires “all men” to be saved. 1 Tim 2:3
As we start a new year, let’s put the color back in the crayon box, and strive together again to create a land where “all men” (and women) are valued and celebrated.
Let’s live the dream – the dream of Doctor King who said, “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
A PRAYER: Lord strike our nation with a color blindness that there may be liberty and justice for all.