Live in Color
- Whitney Hopler Live It Editor
- 2002 26 Jan
It's not enough just to coexist with people of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. God wants you to enjoy genuine friendships with them to experience more of His love and glorify Him together.
Here are some ways you can build meaningful relationships with people of different races and cultures:
- Humble yourself before God, realizing that your perspective limited and that you can potentially be enriched by learning how people of other races and cultures relate to Him. Know that Christ came to save the whole world and that everyone who truly has a relationship with Him is your spiritual brother or sister. Know also that everyone - even those who don't yet have a relationship with Christ - is God's child, made in His image.
- Think about God's unity in diversity expressed through the trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Study your ethnic heritage to discover all the races you represent in some way. Notice the variety He has created throughout nature and take some time to thank Him for His creativity.
- Ask God to give you His passion for community and the grace to see everyone you meet through eyes of love. Pray for a strong desire to reach out to people of different races and cultures.
- When interacting with people with different backgrounds from yours, actively listen to them. Give them your full attention when they're speaking, then repeat back what you understood them to say so you can clarify it. Listening is a tremendous way of showing respect and a great tool for understanding people better.
- Take an inventory of your attitudes and actions, then confess to God and another person any sins you've committed in either thought or deed against people of other races and cultures. Then ask God to show you some specific ways the race or culture you represent has hurt other people, and pray for discernment about who to confess those wrongs to - perhaps a person God will arrange for you to meet and naturally begin a conversation with about diversity.
- Identify yourself with the race or culture that has suffered a particular injustice, so you can feel a bit of the pain people of that race or culture have experienced. Then identify yourself with people who have committed a particular injustice and stand in the gap before God, interceding for those people by repenting for those sins and committing to move in the opposite direction with your future thoughts and actions.
- Forgive others every time you have an opportunity. The Holy Spirit will help you do so. Pray for people who are committing injustices against your race or culture, even if they don't ask for forgiveness. Be honest yet loving when telling others about the wounds you have suffered from prejudice against the races and culture you represent.
- Think and pray about ways you can make restitution for former injustices, such as by returning something of value you had previously taken from someone or contributing to a ministry dedicated to helping people from particular ethnic or cultural backgrounds.
- Spend time on a regular basis with people of different races and cultures, working, playing, eating, and worshipping with them whenever you get an opportunity to do so.
- Take the time to notice other people's unique talents and encourage them to use them in practical ways to glorify God.
Adapted from Living in Color: Embracing God's Passion for Diversity, copyright 2001 by Randy Woodley. Published by Chosen Books, a division of Baker Book House Company, Grand Rapids, Mich., www.bakerbooks.com, 1-800-877-2665.
Randy Woodley, who earned an M.Div. from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, is a Keetoowah Cherokee Indian who is president and co-founder (with his wife, Edith) of Eagle's Wings Ministry, a ministry of Native American believers reaching Native Americans and others with the Gospel.
Do you share a meaningful friendship with someone of a different race? If so, how does that friendship help you see more of God's diversity and experience more of His love for all His people? Visit the Books Forum to discuss this topic. Just click on the link below.