“Stomp, hop, step, fa-lap, step, stomp,” I whispered over and over again, though my feet did not follow the words coming from my mouth. My seven-year-old self just knew she was going to be a phenomenal tap dancer. The little girl next to me had it down, so naturally, I asked her to help me. We were fast friends, ready to take over Dance Arts with our mad tapping skills.
After what felt like an hour to a tiny body, we went out to meet each other’s Mommies. As she brought me to a woman reading a magazine, I became confused. I looked at my new-found friend’s ebony skin and then to her mother’s face of porcelain. “This is your mom?” I asked.
“Yep!” As though she had been asked one thousand times. “My mom is white, and my dad is black.”
Then we moved on. Her, unscathed by the conversation. Me, baffled by this new idea.
I was seven years old before I knew that people of separate races would marry each other. Not because anyone was hiding the idea from me, but because I lived in a community where it was a rarity. Funny, because the Lord knew it would be my own future. From that moment, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He was preparing me for my own marriage. He was preparing me to face resistance. He was preparing me to stop talking and listen to the heart of my husband who is part of a marginalized community. He was preparing my family to exemplify the heart of Colossians 3.
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If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these, the wrath of God is coming. In these, you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
(Colossians 3:1-11 ESV)
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“But Lauren, no one cares about people of different races getting marriage anymore. What does this verse have to do with that?”
Yet we forget that the Ku Klux Klan proudly taunts–even to this day–Interracial marriage is a violation of God’s Law and a communist ploy to weaken America.
We may even see this horribly deceiving excuse by a self-proclaimed Christian:
As individuals, ‘they’ are precious souls for whom Christ died and whom we are to love and seek to win. As a race, however, they are unique and different and have their own culture. . . . I would never marry a black. Why? Because I believe God made the races, separated them and set the bounds of their habitation (Deuteronomy 32:8; Acts 17:26). He made them uniquely different and intended that these distinctions remain. God never intended the human race to become a mixed or mongrel race. So, while I am strongly opposed to segregation I favor separation that the uniqueness with which God made them is maintained.
Let me be clear: these passes of judgment, both explicit and implicit, are in direct opposition to the kingdom of God. They are lies. They are wrong. And we cannot be silent any longer.
Look with a Kingdom Lens
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
Christians. Hear my heart. Setting our minds on things above means seeing people from a kingdom lens.
American Christians. There is a big problem when we only go so far as to say, “I am okay with interracial marriage,” or “It doesn’t matter to me.”
It should matter to us! We should be overjoyed when we see two people who love the Lord uniting despite the expectations of this world. We should be dancing in joy. We should be singing praises to the Lord. We should be standing strong against the quotations that blasphemously used the Bible to promote white supremacy.
Get Over the Differences
“…Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.“
This is a distinction–this is a call–to get the heck over our cultural, ethnic, and racial differences. Only Jesus has to be the common denominator. Jesus. A Galilean man. A man of color. A man of rich culture. A man who was not American! In fact, I am confident He would verbally oppose many aspects of American, cultural Christianity.
Through my marriage, because it is interracial, God has taught me more about the reality of Christ’s binding blood than any word from a pastor’s mouth or book from a bestselling author. It has taught me to look at people and see the image of God. It has taught me to appreciate the hardships of my brothers and sisters–hardships that I will never, ever understand. It has taught me to HATE racism, my blood to boil at the sight of sin when I hear even something as small as a microaggression.
It has taught me to mourn with those who mourn, to appreciate the experience of another.
It has brought out some of the true colors of people I am surrounded by.
More than anything, it has taught me grace and love.
Beloved, Jesus died that gentiles and jews might lose all division. How much more than, can Austin and I (both gentile), a black man and a white woman, be free from the world’s divide. Jesus died that I might have His spirit. Jesus died that we might all unite under the outpouring of His blood.
You’re probably wondering the relevance of these words. It has been years since a message like this might have been surprising to a reader. I am writing these words that interracial relationships–friendships and marriages alike–would be celebrated. I am writing that this might become one of the staples of the Church. That we would have mouths that teach our little ones this from the time they can understand. That we would have hearts that seek diversity in every situation. That we would welcome people we don’t understand with open arms. That we would have ears to hear what these brothers and sisters might be experiencing.
Let us stop holding our tongues when we hear an insinuation that races should be divided from one another. Let us joyfully celebrate the uniting of every family. Every black family, every white family, every Asian and Hispanic and middle eastern family. And let us stand in celebration with families who choose to combine races.
Here is the bottom line. We will see color. We should celebrate color. God placed the exact melanin he desired for each of us within our skin cells. He loves culture and differentiation because when His children are different, it demonstrates the beauty of His uniting.
When I dream of bringing children into this world, my heart cannot but well up at the thought of two races literally becoming one. My heart cannot help but ache at the knowledge that they will experience marginalization that I cannot control beyond my own household. But the beauty will not be the color of their skin–though I am sure it will be beautiful. It will be the celebration of two becoming one. Two becoming one in marriage. Our becoming one with Christ. Two races meshing together and creating one beautiful human being. The combination of the different is one of the beautiful designs of God’s hands.
I write this post that when my little girl is in tap class or basketball or speech or whatever she wants to do, that the sweet little white girl next to her will be unphased by her existence. That she will look at her without question. I write this post more importantly that when she sits in church on a Sunday morning, she would not notice eyes cutting over at her mom and dad. That she would see the church so overjoyed by the beauty of her family and the picture of Jesus that it creates, that she might know and understand the Gospel better.