Little kids ask, “What is your favorite color?” Some like blue, some purple, some pink. We have favorite colors when it comes to shirts we wear or cars we drive, but God doesn’t have a favorite color when it comes to people’s skin. He makes some dark, some light and some in between. He likes all the colors equally.
I met these two beautiful little girls in South Africa. One has a darker skin color than the other, but they are both dearly loved by God; both a special creation of His with immeasurable value. Both like to laugh and play and eat candy. It was fun to watch them play together. Their different skin colors didn’t seem to matter to them.
South Africa, like the United States, has some very sad chapters in its history regarding race relations. The evil of slavery is part of the history of the United States. South Africa suffered under the wickedness of apartheid for nearly 50 years. Under apartheid, the whites, even though they were only 15 percent of the population, controlled the government and owned the land, often by taking it away from blacks. The ruling whites passed laws forbidding the races from things such as living in the same neighborhoods, sitting together at public events and going to the same schools. It was a miraculous and gracious work of God that apartheid ended in the 1990s without massive bloodshed and the exacting of revenge.
In the United States it was only after the terrible bloodshed of the Civil War that slavery became illegal throughout the land. Even after the war the wickedness of segregation continued as many tried to prevent blacks from doing things such as eating in the same restaurants as whites, drinking from the same water fountains, and playing on the same baseball fields.
Some claim blacks didn’t have it that bad during slavery, segregation and apartheid. Blacks who had loved ones lynched, who suffered oppression and were treated as less than human don’t say that. The claim that it wasn’t that bad possibly comes from an unwillingness to admit our ancestors did some wicked things.
Conflict between different ethnic groups was a major challenge faced by the New Testament church. Most people thought it was impossible for Jews and non-Jews to ever get along and live in true peace. But the Bible declares that peace is possible when there is faith in Jesus. “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility … His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility” (Ephesians 2:14-16).
Along with the two sweet little girls, in South Africa I also met some families where white parents have adopted black children and blacks and whites are living together in one house as one family. It was an encouraging picture of what the family of God should look like and how Jesus can make peace. God’s family should be full of a diversity of colors because God loves all colors and doesn’t have a favorite. We give thanks for the beautiful peace that is possible in Jesus.