The children Sunday School song goes like this: “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red, brown, yellow, black and white. They are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world”. Jesus loves people from all nations, tongues and tribes.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Within 6 days, God created the universe, including a man and a woman whom He had made in His own image.
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground”. So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:26-27). The next verse tells us that God blessed the man and the woman and told them to be “fruitful and increase in number” and to “fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28).
God saw all His creation and said that they were “good”, and He rested on the seventh day.
Humankind is made in the image of God. We are so special and precious to Him that He made us to carry His image and reflect His likeness. By bearing His image, we have been set apart from the other creatures.
If you have children, you will notice that your children have resemblances in your personalities and physical features because they are your children. You will also notice that you look like your parents because you carry their DNA. As God’s children, we bear His likeness and we reflect His goodness and beauty.
The wonderful plan of God was for the man and his wife to have children, to increase in number and to fill the earth and subdue it.
But, the man and woman sinned against God by disobeying Him when they ate from ‘the tree of knowledge of good and evil’ that God had strictly warned them not to. That moment marked the downfall of mankind. In the once harmonious and joyous love relationship, there was now accusing and blaming each other. Later on, jealousy and competition crept into their children’s lives, resulting in the killing and death of a son. Mankind, created to mirror God’s goodness and love, is now marred by anger, jealousy, pride, hatred, prejudice. Instead of showing love, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and peace to the people around us, we worship ourselves and believe we are superior than our neighbours.
Racism has been going on for a very long time. In the Bible, just to name one example, we see that the Jews and Samaritans could not get along. In the history of the world, racism had caused massive, bloody and terrible problems. There Armenian Genocide in Turkey in 1915, resulted in the death of a million Armenians; The Holocaust in Germany from 1941-1945 killed six million Jews; the Cambodian genocide from 1975-1979 which killed 10%-33% of the total population in Cambodia, and many more massacres which killed millions in different countries.
All these were done because of the difference in skin colour and ethnicity. The pride over one’s race has caused much pain and tension in the world. Each of us is fearfully and wonderfully made by our Creator before our birth (Psalm 139:14). God already had great plans for us even when we were in our mother’s wombs (Psalm 139:15-18). If followers of Christ show love and respect to others from different races and ethnicity in our daily interactions with others, will it make a difference in the world?
Easier said than done
Growing up in Hong Kong, I was in the “majority” group. There were minorities living among us. But, there no such thing as “my land” or “your land”. The earth and everything in it belongs to God (Psalm 24:1). It is disgusting to look down on someone just because they have a different skin colour, speak a different language or a different dialect than us. It is sin. It is evil in God’s eyes.
Remember, we are made in God’s image. We are precious because we are made in His image, not because of the good things we do in the community, not because of our ministries in church, not because we tithe. We do all that as a response to God’s love and faithfulness to us.
We are so loved by God because of who we are that He sent His one and only beloved Son, Jesus Christ, into this world to save us from sins and death (John 3:16). He carried all our sins on His body. He was nailed on the Cross for our sins. Sin destroys our relationship with God but Jesus Christ came to reconcile us to God. Jesus suffered and died on the Cross to save us. Isaiah said, “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities. Upon him was the chastisement that made us whole and by his stripes, we are healed. We have all like sheep gone astray and turned every one to his own way, and the Lord God Almighty has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:4–6)
His blood is poured out for everyone in this world, past or present. It is written in Revelation 5:9, “…you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Rev 5:9).
In heaven, we will not be divided because of our skin colour, cultures, languages or ethnicity. We will be one big family, just as God had intended, worshipping Him with great joy and gladness.
“9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.” (Revelations 7:9-10)
Because He loves us, we too are to love others as He has loved us. May God help us to remove the prejudice in our eyes and in our hearts, and to embrace those different from us. May we as His followers be agents of peace and reconciliation in this world.