Today I had several moments where I thought “I am so tired of the pressure I feel/have felt living in a world where you are judged and evaluated. Your value is determined largely on a monolithic set of ideals and how well you are able to meet them!”
A “why don’t you do this?” Or “why don’t you do that.” The subtle suggestions, the critical gaze. the microaggressions, slights and statements that assume that there is only ONE RIGHT WAY to do things. One right way of the person who is offering the implicit but obvious put-down. For me the specific microaggression that sends me spiraling down this column of anxiety is:
Questioning the credibility of my story and denying the validity of my personal experience
I could talk for days about specific examples of the pain that this constant barrage causes OR the origin of feeling that pain but I will NOT. It personally doesn’t serve any purpose. Most times it’s like picking the scab off of an old wound. I’ve personally concluded and resolved that given the history of our country, this is a past, present, and future reality. Prejudice, explicit and implicit bias are realities of everyday life for minorities. Honestly, everyone (minorities included) carries unconscious and conscious biases that, even if they are well intended, can harm others. It is never encouraging to dwell on those instances when you face them. But today I got an answer of hope to this true but discouraging statement ringing in my head.
Lately, I’ve been reading through Acts and I just got to chapter 10. There we see Peter and Cornelius both have visions that bring them together, as commanded by the Lord, and it ends with the Gentiles hearing and believing the gospel.
The vision that Peter had which prepared him to come to Cornelius with no objection revealed a great truth to Peter. When the two of them come together, right before Peter begins to present the gospel, he makes this statement in verses 34-35:
” Then Peter opened his mouth, and said ‘Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” KJV
“So Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him” ESV
“The Peter began to speak: ‘Now I really understand that God doesn’t show favoritism, but in every nation the person who fears him and does righteousness is acceptable to him” CSB
I wrote those 3 translations in my journal because I wanted to be sure that what I was seeing was what I was really reading. The Lord sent the disciples as witnesses of Christ and He was not playing in explicitly stating that the gospel was for everyone! Shoot! One of the first places they end up was Samaria, and the Samaritans were not so chummy, chummy with Jews, and vice versa. So it’s **mind blowing** But these 2 verses make it PLAIN.
I wanted to be doubly sure so I looked up the word partiality:
partiality (n):unfair bias in favor of one thing or person compared with another; favoritism
similar words: bias, prejudice, favor, partisanship, unfair preference, discrimination, inequity
This thought then popped into my head as these verses and verses 15-29 swirled around in my head and stirred my heart:
The gospel transcends culture and ethnicity; it doesn’t cancel it or deny it. It affirms the imago Dei! For it is because of Christs’ blood that we have, by the Holy Spirit “put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (Colossians 3:10)
So then, if we are “made and fashioned” by the hands of God as the Psalmist describes (Psalm 119:73) what does this mean?
It means that He made every part of you—from the way you think, right down to the curvature of your smile and the melanin—or the lack thereof—in your skin! And the redeemed entirety of who you are and who he is renewing and fashioning you to be is to reflect back to Him!
It means He bestows the body of Christ with different gifts in order that they might be equipped for the work of ministry, building up the body in love (Ephesians 4).
All of these gifts, all of the ways He has fearfully and wonderfully made us—every detail knit together by Him (Psalm 139) is meant to serve the purpose of reflecting His glory!
This should compel us to see that there are not just differences between us but Christ is in all! Let’s celebrate the unique ways we’re each made to shine, so that this prayer would be the chief aim in being 100%, authentically, unabashedly, confidently, and BOLDLY who God made us to be:
That “those who fear you shall see me and rejoice, because I have hoped in your Word” (Psalm 119:74)
The truth that God is not partial, that God is not a respecter of persons, that God does not show favoritism says a lot about what we should reflect in the kingdom. He makes it plain. He is just, merciful and loving. And through Christ, “he who works righteousness is acceptable to Him!“
So here is a balm for the microaggressed soul: Your God made you the way you are—
You are His and, in Him, you are whole!