Dogs have been the subject of a common myth for a long time. The myth is that they see in black and white only. The truth is dogs do see in color (a medically proven fact) though not with the clarity of their humans.
My Dog Kelly
My dog, Kelly, would agree with that. I cannot imagine what it must be like for someone who has monochromatic vision, the total inability to see color. Ones who have it are often referred to as color blind. Do you think, from the pictures above, that is how a sunset, a rose, a scenic country road, a horse, and a broad view of a canyon might appear to them?
God Knows What He’s Doing
Most people are not affected by the color blindness I am writing of here. Assuming that you are one of those not affected, how often in your lifetime have you gazed in awe at the splendor of a magnificent nature view, or perhaps something as simple as a beautiful flower. The array of colors in a sunrise or a sunset is captivating to most of us, and often leads us to pause, just to take in its beauty. God sure knows what He is doing when he paints them!
As This Is Written
As this is written, America is being torn apart by some very ugly social violence, disorder, and unrest. Keyboard warriors of every ilk spew opinions, at best, and false facts, ugly memes, invectives, and hatred at worse, and there is everything in between. There is civility, and there is incivility all over social media, and often face to face. Middle ground is almost non-existent. Everyone is right, in their minds, and those who hold differing views are wrong and are often dismissed. Tempers have flared, and crimes have been committed over a social issue. It is an ugly issue from all fronts.
It’s Not About Color Blindness
That verse in scripture is used by many Christians as the basis for them to feel good about themselves as they quote it and then, in a sometimes not so humble manner exclaim: “As a Christian, I am color blind.” There, I said it. And yes, I am guilty of having said that myself as a professing Christian, and I have done so on more than one occasion. Often people conclude from that verse that the Word is saying that there are just Christians not black Christians, or white Christians, or Latino Christians, or Asian Christians, and so forth. Just Christians. And that makes for a comfortable, warm, and fuzzy blanket of smug satisfaction within oneself, that they therefore cannot have any racist leanings.
Here’s My Point
Here is my point: if you have read this far without your head exploding in anger; the only folks who are color blind are those affected by the inability to see colors to one degree or another. All the rest of us, and we are the major majority, are NOT color blind. We see and love gazing at beautiful colorful scenes and objects. And, yes, we see black people, brown people, yellow people, white people, and everything in between. If we are blessed by having vision, we can’t not see them, nor can we not say that there are differences in color, just as in the pictures above.
A Sight Problem
We do not have a sight problem. We have a heart and mind problem. In Mark 12:30-31 (I am paraphrasing) he says: Love God. Love your neighbor. Simple and straightforward, with no frills, and no qualifiers. I have never once met a Christian who said he did not love God. It is cut and dried. The word says love God, so we love God if we are Christians. Since the second part, love your neighbor, comes without any qualifiers or distinctions, how can it be any more cut and dried than what it says love your neighbor? If you were to ask yourself the question in the context of this scripture, who is my neighbor? I could your answer possibly be anything other than EVERYBODY? If we are seeing all others in this context, how can we possibly think any other way than to acknowledge that there are differences between everyone (color and otherwise), yet we are to love them with their differences?
So my point is, if we are following those two great commands from Mark, there is no necessity to talk about the fact that we are color blind when in fact, we are not. If anything except love for that person pops up in your mind or heart, when you see or interact with anyone of a different color or ethnic background, it is not a sight problem. Again, it is a heart and mind problem, and you have some work to do. If you feel the need to qualify your good intentions by sharing that you are color blind, you may want to read Mark again (or Matthew and Luke, it’s in them as well) and then try to figure out what is really going on inside of you.
It is okay to not be color blind. It is okay to acknowledge differences, and even better to value them. And it is just and godly (as well as one of the two great commands) to love all others despite those differences.
“Gal. 3:28 does not support color-blind Christianity. Instead, it promises that regardless of what our social, ethnic, or racial identities are, if we are Christians, we are incorporated within the family of God; we will inherit the kingdom of God (Gal. 5:21), and we become part of the church of God. We’ve been freshly and newly created in Christ into a new Israel of God (Gal. 6:15-16), and the new Israel (people of God) in Christ is filled with many distinct social and racial identities in Christ (Gal. 3:28). In Christ Jesus, our natural social identities are transformed by the Spirit and do not serve as the basis of our standing within God’s family.”Dr. Jarvis J. Williams
Associate Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY