When God Gives a Dream
James 2:1-13 What My Eyes Have Seen
God does not play favorites! His promises extend to all His children regardless of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, denomination, or color of your skin. Since we are created in His image, we are all beautiful to Him; yet, we as humans, make distinctions, hold fast to artificial man-made categories. How does this stance advance His mission to gather His sheep? If it serves any purpose, it splinters us and can reduce individual members of the church to an assessment of their appearance, dismissing any other qualities, skills, or strengths, making the individual feel small and devalued; that, to me, is the work of Satan and his goal to keep His children isolated and down.
As a black woman, I have experienced first-hand the dismissive, devaluing glance of others. I personally know what it feels like to be alone in a room full of people because there was not anyone that looked like me, had the same hair texture as me, that could relate to what it feels like to be marginalized and reduced to an inferior status simply because I wear the glorious skin God gave me. I know all too well what it feels like to have to work extra hard to prove that I’m worthy enough to just be considered equal, not extraordinary, just equal.
This was my life before I discovered and believed in the true love God has for me not in spite of the color of my skin, but because I add diversity to His family. God gave me a dream to write, to teach, to speak for others. He has seen fit to make my personal, hateful encounters with racism as a tool to relate to others in doing my Father’s work. God’s love and His salvation do not play favorites and neither should we. I implore you to value the diversity that only our great Father created and see it not as different but as adding to His great body, the church because it truly takes all kinds to make this our Father’s world.
Rev 7:9,10 ESV
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
Close your eyes and picture this glimpse of God’s Dream of Heavenly worship. Do you see familiar faces and also less familiar faces? Enjoy it and rejoice! Ask the Holy Spirit to fill your eyes with this image as you walk through your day and the courage to follow his lead in making earth more like heaven.
Acts 10:9-16, 34
God sends Peter a dream about foreign menu options just to whet Peter’s appetite for people with a different background than his. If you think your mark as a person of God has anything to do with what you won’t eat and who you won’t eat with… well Jesus had other ideas. God is poking at Peter’s blind spot in order to help him see what he’s missing. If we have been raised to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, we probably have a blind spot to the invisible systems that give you some privilege due to the predominant racial group you belong to.
I was at a gas stop location this week weaving my way through the crowd and a man I was passing by turned and bowled right into me. He was very apologetic and concerned that I was all right. I simply had been in his blind spot. We need to probe our racial blind spots, not so that we can jump into immediate action, but to step out of the traffic flow and see what we have been missing and who we are bowling over. Try looking through this list of assumptions you probably make every day while being blind to how African American coworkers or friends cannot. Consider the impact these assumptions have on you and on them.
#I can, if I wish, arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.
# If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live.
# I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.
# I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.
# I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.
# Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability.
# I do not have to educate my children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection.
# I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to the “person in charge”, I will be facing a person of my race.
# If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven’t been singled out because of my race.
# I can easily buy posters, post-cards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys and children’s magazines featuring people of my race.
# I can think over many options, social, political, imaginative or professional, without asking whether a person of my race would be accepted or allowed to do what I want to do.
# I can be late to a meeting without having the lateness reflect on my race.
# I can expect figurative language and imagery in all of the arts to testify to experiences of my race.
# I can choose blemish cover or bandages in “flesh” color and have them more or less match my skin.
# I can travel alone or with my spouse without expecting embarrassment or hostility in those who deal with us.
# I have no difficulty finding neighborhoods where people approve of our household.
As God gives you a new perspective we encourage you to talk with someone about what you are seeing.
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