For Christ himself has brought peace to us.
He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when …
he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.
The only color difference I knew about as a child was what my parents taught me and what I noticed in a box of Crayola crayons. When I was in the fifth grade, our family moved to Jackson, Tennessee. For the first time, I saw a person of color. I didn’t understand the word segregation, nor did I ever wonder why there were no people of color in my classrooms.
In the 1960s, my hometown was a hotbed of racial tension, but I didn’t understand why. I simply knew the National Guard was called in, bricks were thrown through car windows, certain areas of town were under curfew, and several local college students had been killed by the police. Our town had a bowling alley, but I didn’t know that the owner’s refusal to let people of color use it would start a riot that eventually led to a book titled The Orangeburg Massacre.
Prior to Christ’s coming, Gentiles were considered beyond saving in the eyes of most Jewish people. Many people have felt the same way about African-Americans and other minority groups. But Jesus revealed the love of God the Father for all people. Jesus went to the rejected, the scorned, the shunned, and the avoided. Everyone has equal value in His eyes.
Fortunately, I grew up in a home where my parents and grandparents taught me to love all people. Color wasn’t important, nor was social standing. God created them all: red and yellow, black and white. They are all precious in His sight.
Only people see the differences that divide us in reality: skin color, race, class, culture. Since God loves all of us regardless of any of those distinctions, I should as well. I’ve made that my life’s goal and taught my children to do the same. If Christ loved people so much that He died for all of us, how can I possibly love any less?
Let God’s love for you break down any walls of segregation you have built.
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How do you deal with your prejudices?
by Martin Wiles
Martin Wiles is a minister, author, and freelance editor currently living in Greenwood, SC, and is the founder of Love Lines from God. He is the author of six books, including his two latest, Grits & Grace and God and Grits, Gumbo and Going to Church. He has been published in a number of periodicals, books, and newspapers. He serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions (www.christiandevotions.us) and Assistant Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of three.