Each week I marvel at the evolution of this blog. I first started this journey sharing about the challenges and triumphs my family was experiencing through our sports-driven reality, but as we march further into 2020, we’ve been going deeper into topics that I never imagined I’d be writing about in this setting.
I certainly was not planning on tackling the subject of racism in this forum, but how could I not with everything that has happened since the death of George Floyd?
I govern my life by determining what I believe will bring God glory, based upon what I read in the Bible and what I’ve learned about Him. So every week I go to the Word of God for direction when I’m contemplating what to write about. And this week I kept coming back to being created in the image of God.
Then God said, Let us make man in Our image…
Over the years, usually after experiencing a painful racial incident, whether personally or on a larger scale through media exposure, I’ve found myself questioning why God made people so different, and why the race I was born into was perceived as substandard by others that didn’t look like me.
I know you love me, but why would you make my race the one that others deem inferior? All across the world, people with dark skin are considered lesser than those around us with lighter skin. Why God? Why would you ever create a world like this? This reality can be terrible sometimes. Why would you allow this kind of oppression to continue for hundreds of years? Are you ever going to end it?
according to Our likeness”. Genesis 1:26a NIV
When I was little girl, I was taught that I was made in God’s image. But if I’m made in His image and likeness, then why doesn’t everyone see that divine likeness when they look at me? Furthermore, who do I see when I look in the mirror? What is significant about the skin I’m in, and what does it say about me?
My journey into enlightenment began when I was a sophomore at the University of Delaware. I took my first African American Studies course, and learned there was more to the Black Experience in America than the basics we are taught in secondary school – the Civil War ending slavery and Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr being the heroes of the Civil Rights movement.
As a child, I knew that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was a champion for the equality of African Americans. However, in college I learned about the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) which was the civil rights organization that coordinated activities to protest the treatment of African Americans in America. Martin Luther King, Jr was one of the founders of SCLS, which also staged the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which led to Rosa Parks’s esteem.
I also learned about the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in which young people led sit-ins and the Freedom Rides, along with other organizations whose actions and protests confronting segregation paved the way for today’s continued fight for the equal rights of all Americans.
Besotted with this newfound knowledge, I continued to take courses and graduated with a minor in Black American Studies. I immersed myself in slave narratives with an insatiable desire to learn more about the struggles faced by those that came before me.
My professor, Dr. James Newton, instilled a new sense of Black Pride inside of me through his instruction. Knowing everything that my ancestors went through since being brought to North America in the early 1600s – all the oppression, the hate, and the atrocities – and to know that I was a product of their hopes and dreams was empowering. I was fascinated by the enduring strength and resiliency of people that were brought to America solely to be used as property, and not even deemed human.
So God created man in his own image,
But not everyone saw the same value, the same greatness, or the same glory in those stories, those lives, or those sacrifices.
When I entered the workforce and real world, I realized that as a black woman, I was still far from being considered as equal, and that the nation I now had to navigate through was still deeply divided. But I still naively thought that the lives of Black Americans were valued.
Then Trayvon Martin was murdered in 2012. It was a horrible tragedy and I was confident that his young, innocent life couldn’t be taken without justice. When George Zimmerman was finally charged after a national outcry, but then acquitted, I could hardly believe it. This was America! How could someone kill another person and not be held accountable by the laws that governed our country?
And then it happened again. This time it was the police and Michael Brown in Ferguson – a town I’d heard of before but will never forget. And regardless his background, or his perceived sins, his life mattered, and couldn’t just be taken without repercussion. Could it?
Then name after name after name would be splashed in the news – Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, and more recently Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor – and countless others, lynched as a consequence of the skin they were born in.
in the image of God he created him;
What did the police see when they looked at these victims before taking their lives? Did they realize they were snuffing the life out of someone God had intentionally and purposefully created? Did they not see the value in their present life, or what their future life could have produced? Was their dark skin blinding to God’s image and likeness underneath of it?
How could Christians serve the same God, but look at the people He created so very differently? Each of those lives was worth enough for Jesus to die on the cross for them, and every Believer that refuses to speak up for the value of those lives outrightly rejects Jesus’ sacrifice for that person.
We don’t need to know the background, accomplishments, and history of people to determine if the taking of their life was justified or not. Sit with that for a minute.
male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27 NIV
As Believers, we should be championing for the human rights of the disadvantaged and disenfranchised. We must use our voice to speak up for any injustice that we observe. Advocating for people who may not have the same access to resources, physical ability, mental aptitude, or socio-economic status as we do. We are not here to judge anyone, but to rather show God’s love to any and every person we encounter. And that love should be evident in our actions, speech, and especially on our social media posts and comments as well.
Irrespective of an attribute that one may deem “less than”, we were all created by God, and in His image. Once we can get past what we see on the outside, and look at the gift, the purpose, and the potential on the inside, no matter how deeply it may be buried, then maybe our country will start to look very different.
But it starts with a conscious decision to see people as God created them. Make that decision. Today.
I invite you to honestly complete a self-assessment on the way you view others. Do you see all mankind as the image of God? Are there types of people that you deem “less-than” because of race, ethnicity, nation of origin, appearance, speech, or socio-economic status?
If so, how do you think you came to feel that way? What are some positive steps you can take to reverse your thinking? What would happen if you treated each person you encountered as being the image of God?
Feel free to respond in the comments section… and share this story with someone in your life that could use the encouragement.
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