How Does God View Ethnicity?
When I was growing up, my family and I would split our church time between American and Haitian churches. Each church held the same purpose: to create a community to worship and fellowship with God. Each church had a distinct style and approach to achieving that purpose. Haitian church services and American church services were two different worlds, two different languages, different styles of prayer, of worship, of preaching.
As humans, we use language, and race and ethnicity to better understand our existence on earth. Since the concept of ethnicity is of human construction, I do wonder: does God see ethnicity? God is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient, so He of course is aware of how we view ethnicity. But when we turn to the Bible, we see that as Christians our identity is in Jesus. Paul writes in a letter to the Galatians,
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:26-28)
As Christians, being a child of God is our most important identity, and I believe it’s truly how God sees us. But that’s not to say that He ignores our ethnicity. The same way that our human language is a vehicle to glorify God, our ethnic and cultural identities are blessings that we can use to glorify God. So I believe the differences I found between the Haitian and American churches do matter. When Jesus came to the earth, He came for all nations, He came so we could have different cultures and yet still be worshipping the same God. He came so that anyone, no matter what race, gender, or socioeconomic status, could follow Him. That’s the beauty of the Gospel.
Elizabeth Jean-Marie is a senior concentrating in immunobiology.church, ethnicity, gender, race