90% of my most significant relationships are with people who look completely different than me. That’s a true story.
But having spent a majority of my life living in Central Pennsylvania, I am actually the minority: the dark-haired, tan-skinned, brown-eyed girl in a field of blondes and blues.
Having recently moved to South Florida from Central Pennsylvania- I have to admit that the cultural diversity here has been a breath of fresh air.The other day I was exploring the streets of Miami, when I noticed something unusual for me: everyone looked different. Depending on where you come from, this might seem like a “duh” moment, but let me assure you- diversity is not the case in all towns and places.
In one short day I interacted with strangers whose cultural backgrounds ranged from Asian to Central America to African, European and Middle Eastern-and those who were something in between. Being of Middle Eastern descent myself, I’ve always appreciated the differences among cultures and races, especially as I see them come together in unity through the body of Christ. Through our differences God reveals so much of His creativity and majesty.
As believers, we should be pioneers when it comes to creating a community of diversity. Unfortunately, the history of the church hasn’t always had the best record when it comes to interracial relationships- and that’s quite an understatement. Separation still lingers, and inevitably taints the body of Christ as we know it. Scriptures are misused in the name of faith, but really they are only masking fears. Fear of change, fear of differences, fear of the unknown.
It’s time for the church to be a reflection of the rainbow of colors, shapes, and sizes that God created. It’s time for us to display His radiant artwork, reflected in the body of Christ as it was meant to be displayed – in the walls of our churches, but even more significant in the walls of our homes and our personal lives. Here are some reasons why we should all get on board.
1. Interracial relationships expand your view of the world. A world centered only around life as we know it has a tendency to become so very small. Getting a glimpse of life through someone else’s eyes gives you an appreciation of the expanse of our world, and a glimpse of the great God who thought of every detail. Our life would become so much bigger if we could really learn to make room for others.
2. Interracial relationships enrich your daily life. Some of the most memorable experiences, tastes, and traditions have taken part as a result of my intercultural and interracial friendships. My heart, mind, and taste buds have expanded to take in the joys that come from pieces and parts of the different cultures around me. I’ve learned to celebrate, to mourn, to communicate, and to build my relational skills- all at the hands of what others have taught me through their worlds. My life has been changed as my blank page has been colored with new strokes.
3. Interracial relationships give you a better glimpse of God. More than anything, I have learned to see God in a newer and clearer way by seeing Him through the eyes of my brothers and sisters in Christ. I’ve learned to see the words reverence, intimacy, respect, and community in whole new ways because of my interracial and intercultural relationships. In them, I see a little bit more of Jesus. And the fullness of the picture of who He is is made more and more beautiful with each and every relationship. If this is the case here on earth, I can hardly wait to see the big picture in all it’s glory.
4. Interracial relationships help us understand eternity. I attended a foreign church one day and looked around at the beautiful faces singing in a language unknown to me, and was reminded that heaven is going to be something like this. My “American” status will not be the norm, as I take on a new role, a new identity, and a new citizenship in the place where we all join together as one. I was overwhelmed with worship in that moment, as my voice rang out to the familiar tune and I realized that even with different faces, races, and cultures- we all serve the same God. This my friends, is a bit of heaven here on earth.
So no matter who you are or where you live, whether the mosaic of the inner cities or the suburbs of a small town – may we all be challenged to make time to invest in the different people God puts into our lives. We are all here to challenge each other, to shape one another, and to give each other a better glimpse of who our God really is.
Now that is something to get excited about. Here’s to ALL interracial relationships- friendships, marriages, churches, communities and everything in between.
MORE: What are some things I should know before entering an interracial relationship with someone romantically? Check out the FAQ Section in True Love Dates for answers to this question!
Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, speaker, and author of the book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog! Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter!