So God created humankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27
This morning I was telling someone at the gym that Uriah is my son. He told me that as soon as he saw Uriah, he thought there was a connection but was not quite sure because Uriah is taller than me. From his perspective, there was no doubt Uriah bears my resemblance and could clearly be identified as my son.
Every human being bears a resemblance to God. Indeed, Genesis 1:27 tells us, “God created humankind in His own image; male and female He created them.” This is one of the reasons any type of discrimination is such an affront to God. When we mistreat another human being based on race, ethnicity, or gender, we are not only saying that God made a mistake when He created that person, but we are also saying the image of God in that individual is unacceptable to us.
When we say that a person is “ugly,” we are saying that God is ugly. Calling people in some parts of the world savages because they do not meet our western cultural expectations is calling God a savage as well. Not wanting certain people to live in our neighborhoods, go to our children’s schools, or come to our churches is also segregating against God.
No human being, race, ethnicity, or gender is “better” than others. We are all sinful beings in need of salvation. The fact that someone may be highly educated, very influential, or affluent does not enhance their standing in the eyes of God. The Lord sees us all as His creation. He values us the same way and loves us all with His eternal love.
God is not impressed with any of our achievements. He doesn’t care if one lives in a gated community or in the ghetto. Whether you are the CEO of a Fortune 500 corporation, or a homeless person living on the street, you have the same worth to God. We should never let anyone look down on us because of our race, ethnicity, or gender. The struggle against racism and discrimination is a spiritual fight. God is on the side of the victims of racism and discrimination because they bear His image. He hates the perpetrators of injustice and is offended and outraged when people use His Church and the Bible to justify their racism and oppression of others.
I am always surprised, offended, and hurt when I see so-called Christians promoting racist ideologies. I am even more discussed when church leaders endorsed racist individuals and make public appearances with them for the sake of political expediency. As a black male, I have been dealing with racism and discrimination since birth; and I will have to endure it until death. Unfortunately, my son and daughter must deal with racism and discrimination as well. I cannot shield them from this wickedness. My wife and I just try to remind our children there is nothing wrong with their race and ethnicity, and that they are created in the image of God.
In the aftermath of the shooting in Buffalo, New York, black people are yet again reminded of the existential threat they face because of their race and ethnicity. Being a black parent is highly stressful because we constantly worry about our children’s safety. Whenever my son leaves the house, my wife and I worry. We also worry when our daughter calls us to share her experiences as a black woman. My prayer is that Dr. King’s dream will become a reality sooner rather than later. But for now, black and brown people must remember they are made in the image of God just like everyone else.
I think Jesus came on earth as a brown-skin Jew to affirm the humanity of people of color. He knew we would struggle with racism and discrimination. Therefore, people of color do not have to apologize for their race and ethnicity. We are God’s masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10). We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:4). There is nothing wrong with our skin color. Our skin color is Jesus' skin color so we should be proud of it.
Question for Personal Reflection
What does it mean to be created in the image of God?
Why are racism and discrimination so evil in the sight of God?
Prayer- Blessed Lord, I thank you for creating me as a black person. You are an omniscient God who does not make mistakes. Please remind me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made when I face racism and discrimination.