We have all experienced prejudice and discrimination in one way or another. Whether that’s because of the colour of our skin, our culture, our beliefs, how rich or poor we are, list goes on and on. Unfortunately, humans tend to fear the unknown, and in many cases, when we see someone that is different from us, we treat them with contempt because we do not understand them. But God calls us to look beyond the outside. He calls us to look past our differences and join together as one in the body of Christ.
Psalms 139:13–16 says, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”
God does not make the same thing twice. We were all made uniquely us, and we should never let another person extinguish the unique flame that God has given us to shine.
Haven’t you noticed that when you get to know someone better, they start to look different to you? You see what’s on the inside, and the deepest, bluest eyes can look evil; the stoic, wrinkled face becomes beautiful. So often, we make assumptions about a person before we get to know them. It’s sad to say, but we build our lives on appearances.
We form relationships, we get jobs, we even elect presidents, all based off of what’s on the outside. We are taught at a young age to judge by appearances, and it causes so many rifts between us. We are inadvertently predisposed to write someone off if we don’t like the way they look, talk, or carry themselves, but the truth is, if beliefs are disregarded, if culture is disrespected, if beautiful melanin is glazed over with white, there is no hope of connection.
If the individual nature of a person is extinguished in order to replace it with another’s ideals, there is no hope of peace.
We have to realize that we are all unique. Being who we truly are, and letting people be who they truly are in Christ is the only hope we have of working together as God’s people to bring his light to the world.
“I did not hate them, but I feared them.”
His words sent chills up my spine. One of our LVH deans, Brent Van Rensburg, recounted the discrimination he faced in his childhood living in the country of South Africa during apartheid supremacy. The government labelled him as “coloured” because of his mixed genetic heritage, and as a result neither side of the conflict treated him well. He had to jump on a train (yes literally jump on a train) that took him on a two hour journey to get to school every day, even though there was a white school five minutes down the road from where he lived. White people were considered superior. He was threatened with punishment, even death, for associating with people outside his race bracket. They were given better jobs, better housing, better schools, and in turn a better quality of life than the “colored” people of South Africa, all because of the way their skin looked. This is a prime example of inequality and oppression happening in the modern era. Dean Brent’s testimony and story shows us that there is rampant discrimination and prejudice alive in the world today, and we must fight against it with love, compassion, and understanding.
Another example of inequality in today’s world, or rather, the fight against inequality in today’s world, is the black lives matter movement. As you all probably know, it is a very hot topic in the political world, in the community, and on social media. Looking at it through the eyes of the people in the interview, there were some misconceptions that were quickly dispelled. Just because the movement is fighting for the African American community does not mean that they hold people who are white in a lower regard.
Black Lives Matter is meant to bring to light the issues of the black community, and address the discrimination that it is facing, in order to create a more equal society for all ethnicities and cultures. Related to this, one of the key themes of the interview, and something that I think is a fundamental part of achieving equality, is an unselfish attitude. One of the questions that was asked was,
“When someone comes to you with a request for help, do you, as someone who has never been through what they’re going through, dismiss their pain as something trivial, or do you help them, regardless of your assumptions about the situation?”
That question rang in my head. As someone who hasn't experienced much discrimination in my lifetime, It made me think about the way I've been living my life. Have I been an example of unconditional love to people in pain as Jesus would have been? What have I been doing to ease the suffering of people who have been hurt by oppression and discrimination? How have I served my role in the body of Christ?
“The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honoured, all the parts are glad.” 1 Corinthians 12:21–22,26
Straight from the bible folks, we are all one in Jesus. No matter what colour, culture, or creed we claim, we all are made to serve the lord. We were each born with our mathematical brains and our ice blue eyes and our curly, poufy locks for a reason. We all serve a purpose in this great collection of people we call The Body of Christ. If we all work together, showing love, compassion, understanding, and showing selflessness towards one another, we will find equality for all, and His coming will see itself through very soon.
Written By Morghin Small