Tuesday, February 15th, 2011
“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment” (John 7). Jesus said that to people who saw him as a plain, poor Galilean and were astounded at how he could teach. “How can this man know so much, when he hasn’t had much education?”
I heard this as a very helpful reminder. Probably all of us have questions we need to ask ourselves repeatedly to shake us into looking deeper than outward appearances. The questions I ask myself are questions for one particular white woman. Those will be different than the questions any particular black woman, for example, will ask herself.
Some of my questions to me?
- When I see a kid in sagged pants, do I feel disgusted? Or do I remember some of silly ways my own sons dressed, driven by their own culture?
- When I see a big man with dreadlocks, is nervousness my automatic response? Or do I remember how many times I’ve looked at my own children and said, “It’s just hair”?
- When I see a young woman pushing a stroller, do I try to discover if she’s wearing a wedding ring? Am I more likely to do that if the woman is black than if she’s white?
Yes, color is part of who we are, and our cultures have shaped us in significant ways. But compared to our core that is eternal–skin color is a shell. It reveals nothing about whether we want to do God’s will and thus know that Jesus is true.
I have to go beyond first impressions, beyond a person’s color or hairstyle or marital status, to know whether that person seeks God’s glory. That’s when I’ll know whether that person is true and whether I’m with a brother or sister in God’s multi-racial family.
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