There has been much debate within our country in the last few years about whether or not racism is a real issue in 2017 or whether it is pot stirred political agenda hype. In all honesty sitting here in my southern born, light freckled skin, red-headed self… I say it is still an issue.
Many will claim they are not racist. They will talk about how they have friends, co-workers, team mates, etc of different races and make their stand, but there is always one thing that seems to change that… when their child comes home dating someone of a different race. Here is where the stammering starts and the truth of the heart is revealed.
This is a picture that I snuck last year in church as a Momma who caught her fifteen year old daughter holding hands for the first time with a boy who was not her Daddy or a boy that just happened to be standing next to her in a prayer circle. It was a moment that as a proud Momma I couldn’t help but capture. This was one of those times when I looked and thanked God and in my heart said “for this moment I prayed.”
My husband and I have been praying for our daughters and their choices in relationships since we knew they were coming into this world. We knew that a young man’s family was important and how he interacted and treated his family would be how he treated our girls when the “best behavior” of dating wore off. So when our daughter expressed interest in this young man, we started watching him.
We saw that he faithfully served in several area of our church. He attended a Bible study on his own every Sunday morning BEFORE Sunday school and in addition too. We watched how he treated his parents and his sister. We listened to how others in the church spoke of him. We paid attention to how he honored our present rules with our daughter within the area of the friend zone, rules that were the same whether they were male friends or female friends. We actually began watching before she knew that we were, because well when you talk with your kids and study them… you can always tell when they are beginning to “favor” someone.
One night, after she had admitted her liking of this young man, we were discussing boys and futures during our bedtime devo. I asked her questions about what it was that she saw in him that caught her interest and I shared with her what I, as her mother was praying concerning her future husband. The look on her face was priceless as she realized that I was praying for specific things that she had never told me that she herself had also committed to prayer. However, here is the thing, as I shared my list of the qualities, gifts, talents, character, and spiritual maturity that I was praying for the Lord to develop in her future spouse, never once was one of those that he must be fully caucasian. Thank God! For if it was we would have missed a beautiful testimony of God’s faithfulness, provision, and specifically answered prayers.
Our daughter’s first serious relationship began at the age of fifteen after when twelve years old she realized that she did not want to join the jump from crush to crush but let’s call it love bandwagon. She chose friendship. She decided that if they could not survive in the friend zone then they were never worthy of even consideration of the next zone… and she saw no need to open the next zone until marriage could be considered the next step. She chose to share who she thought was cute and caught her eye with me and her Daddy and then when that moment passed… it simply passed. No weirdness included.
Then she met the young man she is holding hands with in the picture above. They served together in children’s and music ministry and she finally shared with me that the way she felt about him was different and it was NOT going away. She for the first time realized what it was to really want to allow someone into the next zone. She had met someone who checked off everything she was praying for as she prayed for her future husband. She saw ’til death do us part in this young man… and yes we are also of that weird set of parents who have no problem with young marriage. We are old school and believe you can do life, learn life, and grow up in life together (and that includes college).
Had we have said NO, you can’t date him because he is from a different culture and race we would have missed:
- a young man who was eighteen years old and like our daughter had never allowed any one out of the friend zone
- a young man who said I have to talk to my parents still but I would very much like to pursue a relationship with your daughter
- a young man whose parents met with us and we discussed what we expected in the relationship, what boundaries we expected to be respected when at the others house, and then a prayer as parents over their hearts and their relationship with each other and the Lord as they both stepped into unknown territory
- dinner all together as both parents clearly expressed to the young couple that we knew what was expected from each of them
- a mother who points at her young son and tells him that it is his responsibility to honor our daughter’s commitment to have her first “real” kiss at the altar on her wedding day
This is just a few of the things we would have closed the door on had we stuck the race stipulation on our daughters.
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;
My husband and I and our girls are a part of an unusual race; the race of Christ. We are a part of a chosen race…
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
1 Peter 2:9
This is the only race and cultural expectation that we place on any one they date while under our roof. This is the one that is eternal. Our prayer is that they enter into the covenant of marriage with someone who has a family legacy of belonging to THIS race even if it is only one generation back. We just want them to partner in life with someone who is hard at work in their Father’s business (Luke 2:9, KJV). The color of their skin and the cultural background they come from is all God and His plans for a future and a hope for them (Jeremiah 29:11).
The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation,
Racism is alive and well in our nation… and it will remain so until the church of Jesus Christ chooses to truly see past the flesh and judge all people not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. There is one certain place where the color of one’s skin should never matter and that is the church! It shouldn’t just be the athletic arena or field but the church of our Lord and Savior! His bride is made up of every nation, tribe, and tongue and His church should boldly express and proclaim it.
My favorite time every year in our church is VBS. During VBS our church is filled with at least a 1000 kids, youth, and adults from what appears like every race and social and economic background. It is a beautiful site to behold. One day we hope too see that same beautiful site on every Sunday morning…