There are some experiences that mark us. Like a tattoo, they are engraved on the walls of our mind. These memories never leave us, they are forever there. When we bother to look at them, some of these memories remind us of a joyous past, while others resurface dark and painful memories.

At the age of six, I stood by my precious mother’s side at the grocery store. As she was paying for our groceries, a loud voice erupted behind us: “Go back to your f#*$ing country!” My mother turned around and retorted firmly in her broken English: “Go away!” The man swore at my mother, a river of filth flowing from his mouth. He was unhappy that my mother took so long at the cashier. My mother tried her best to defend herself, mispronouncing the few curse words she had learned during her time in Canada. Nobody stepped in, everybody just watched. She quickly pulled me out of the grocery store and we left.

This memory, and others like it, are forever engraved on the walls of my mind.

IDENTITY CRISIS

For the majority of my life, I have had an identity crisis. Both of my parents come from Colombia, making me Latino. But my skin is a pale white – I’ve rarely met anyone with whiter skin than my own. I have walked an awkward balance between experiences of privilege and discrimination. The discrimination I’ve faced had given birth to an irrational hatred toward White people. Perpetually being labelled as White, on the other hand, had given birth to an irrational hatred toward myself. Welcome to my conundrum.

A Latino man trapped in a White man’s body.
A little boy often thinking “why was I born this way?”
A grown man questioning “who am I?”

BORN AGAIN

Who am I? I am a sinner. Spiritually blind, I was ignorant to my depravity. God’s Word – His truth, was void in my life. Yet, one day…

There He hung, on a tree, His wounds and scars, all for me.
There He stood, triumphantly, His hand outstretched, calling me.
And there I was, a son, set free, my Heavenly Father had rescued me.

Born again. If there was one phrase to describe what happened to me, it’s that phrase. I was born again. That phrase carries not even an ounce of exaggeration. On that day my priorities changed, my nature changed, but of particular relevance to this article, my identity, too, had changed.

A NEW KINGDOM

When I looked down at my pale white hands and looked up at the infinite expanse of stars, space, and nebula in contrast, all reasons for my racism and self-hatred had ceased. This God who I served was bigger than race. This God who I met was far beyond human comprehension. This God who rescued me was a King, and He was bringing a kingdom contrary to the kingdoms of this world.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” [Colossians 3:28]

A kingdom with no racism: all of His children valued the same, regardless of their race.

“I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” [Psalm 139:14-16]

Every shade, pigment, and trait, characteristic of His nature, His beauty, and His glory – the Lord’s handiwork.

“…that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.” [1 Corinthians 12:25-27]

His church, diverse in not only race and function, but also completely dependent on one another.

What a glorious kingdom: His handiwork, equal in nature, and united, for His glory.

REALITY OF RACE

This article isn’t written to diminish the reality of racism and the tangible effects that your race will have on your life. On the contrary, this article is written to emphasize the truth of God’s word and its ability to empower believers in the midst of a fallen world.

Though my identity had been shattered into pieces innumerable, there was One who was shattered to bring me peace – in Him my identity rests. This has been my consolation. Many may see a White man, while others may see a Latino man, but my Lord, He sees a beloved son. There is no confusion, no offense, no voice of accusation in His declarations over me.

Our new identity in Christ, it is this identity that brings us strength. It’s not that we cease being Black or White, Asian or Latino, but rather, we are adopted into a family where our race is not held against us. It is fine to talk about race and the everyday impact it has on our lives, but it is doubly as important to make mention of the shed blood of Christ in our conversations, as it is our only source of strength, hope, and unity in the midst of a fallen world.

ALL THINGS NEW

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.’ And He who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ And He said, ‘Write, for these words are faithful and true.’ Then He said to me, ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.” [Revelations 21:3-7]

One day, our King shall return. With Him, He will bring His kingdom. There will be no more mourning, no more crying, no more pain. Although He has yet to return, these are truths that we can cling to now, and what glorious truths they are.

Be reconciled, one to another, and relish in His gospel. It does not discriminate, it does not hate. I pray that His word would always be present in our speech, especially in our striving against all forms of racism and injustice.

“Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
[Matthew 6:9-13]