A creative preschooler once drew a picture of three imaginary lands. On one she drew a person with red crayon. On another, she drew a blue person. On the last one, she drew a yellow stick person. After drawing more stick pictures, she left the room. And for some strange reason, the picture came to life.
No one knew what happened or why, but for some reason the blue people began to fight amongst themselves. So did the reds and yellows. Then the three groups discovered that the little girl had drawn another piece of land, and they all drew little boats and sailed over to it.
That is when they met.
Since they had been fighting for the whole time, just with each other, they continued it when they found different colored stick figures. But it was a little different. For one thing, they started grouping by color and attacking the other colors. It began to be rather ridiculous. Instead of fighting each other, they ganged up on the color that really was having trouble fighting. That one color began to be chased around.
Though this is a silly story, it has a tiny purpose. We as humans like to group together. But our sin makes us fight amongst ourselves. And people like to fight as groups. So they group according to the things they have in common. That can be by language, or by common beliefs, or by color, as in the silly story above.
But that’s where the similarities end. No silly child created us. We were made by the all-powerful, all-wise God of the Universe. We were made as one people, one race. If we are different, it is only because of our environments. Sometimes light plays with our pigments, and sometimes our lives involve activities that change our appearance over time. This is not evolution. This is the creativity of our God.
The problem is not that we are different colors. If we weren’t, we would be less likely to survive in hostile habitats. The problem is that we think ourselves to be perfect, and don’t like anyone who is different from ourselves. We tend to dislike people who don’t live up to our standards. This is the problem with sin: it divides and destroys.
When Jesus died on the cross, he created a new world; a new way of life for those who followed him. There was a main barrier according to the Jews: you were either a Jew and part of the Promise of God, or you were a Gentile, and fit only for hell. Sure, there were a few nice gentiles, but unless they embraced the Jewish traditions, they wouldn’t be saved. And there was an even greater barrier that no one could cross: a wall between the Holy God and sinful men.
But suddenly, as Jesus died, the wall between God and man was breached. A way was opened for man to come to his Creator. And with the falling of that wall, another fell as well: Jew and Gentile. And Paul capped up the difference in Galatians: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)
Right now there are many people hurting. The church needs to be there and help those who feel broken. This isn’t a political problem. This is a heart problem. No amount of campaigning, or speeches, or even laws prohibiting this or that, will ever make a permanent change. It isn’t the government’s job to make sure people think the right things. It’s up to us to choose to love one another, even if they’re a little different.
There are many things we can learn from one another. The wealth of creativity and cultures are just some of the treasures we have on this earth. But whether or not we will find the treasure depends on how we treat each other. If we insist on our own perfection, or are too stubborn to admit that others are people too, we’re going to have trouble.