As I interact with different people regarding diversity issues, I often come across those who tell me they are color-blind. Now, this does not mean they cannot distinguish between green and red. I think what they are trying to say is that they see everyone the same; they don’t “see color.” This, I perceive, is a response to our history as a nation of dividing people into color groups and granting them privileges accordingly. Today we recognize that such a system is evil. So, the righteous response must be the direct opposite reaction— to develop the ability to see everyone the same. But is this what Christians should do? Is being color-blind a Godly character trait? In other words, is God color-blind?
Well obviously, God is not color-blind. He sees EVERYTHING! We know that he created color, in all its endless shades and hues. He did this, we feel, because He is a creative God who delights in variety and beauty. He is artistic, reveling in splendor and majesty. It is not too much to infer that when he created humanity, he endowed it with all the variety and diversity that he gave the rest of creation. He did not desire a uniform representation of his being. Creation reveals God’s character (Romans 1), humanity his very being—“So he created human beings in his own image, in the image of God he created them: male and female he created them,” (Gen 1:27).
It is not a great leap to reason that God, who is a wonderfully diverse being, would imprint his image on a diverse humanity. One of the things I love about having a Christian family is the realization that it takes both my husband and I to even begin to represent God to our children. In the same way, it takes all the different ethnic and racial groups of our world, all the cultures, in order for us to see God in his fullness.
We live in a time when our society is trying to erase the uniqueness of gender. For the most part, the Christian church fights against this attack, seeing it for what it is, an attempt to repudiate the truth that we are created in God’s image. So why would we, in like manner, join attempts to erase the uniqueness of our ethnic creation. In Revelation 7:9 John tells us, “And then I looked and saw a multitude that no man could count from every nation, tribe, people and language.” This verse makes it clear that at the end of the age, even after our physical transformation we will retain the uniqueness of our ethnicity.
This means that God values who we are in this world if He will retain our external ethnic identity markers for all eternity. In like manner, we also should celebrate our ethnic distinctiveness and uniqueness. We should realize that just as it takes a mother and father to represent God the Father to children, it takes the whole body of Christ to represent God to the world. Often you will hear sermons regarding this. These are usually focused on the need to have the varieties of gifts present in a local congregation. I believe wholeheartedly that the body is diminished by any form of uniformity, whether in abilities, ethnicity, or even economically. It takes all of who we are to represent all of who God is.
So, the answer to my original question is no. God is not color-blind nor does He discriminate. He makes his love and grace available to all. “He rains down on the just and the unjust.” Still, He does not see us the same, nor does He treat us the same. Just ask ten people how they came to know Christ; you will hear ten very different stories. Like a good Father, he knows we each have different needs and meets those needs in unique ways. To leave behind our country’s legacy of valuing its citizens according to their skin color and ethnicity, we need not deny that color. On the contrary, we must first embrace the reality of our history and the effects we live with today. Instead of seeing everyone the same and treating everyone the same, we should strive to see everyone as they are and treat them with the love and compassion they uniquely need. Ultimately, this will result in specific acts for each individual. Not color-blind, color conscious, nor controlled, but color aware and love controlled.