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Friday, November 11, 2011

Interracial Christian Marriage... A few Thoughts and Reflections on the Subject

To parents:

As a parent, how will you react if a day comes when your son or daughter comes home and tells you about a special relationship that has crossed racial boundaries?

As a parent, how will you react if a day comes when your son or daughter informs you that he or she intends to marry someone of a different racial background?

Will your first reaction be simply to see only the differences, think only about the differences and focus only on the differences between race, skin colour, culture and language? If yes, then just pause and reflect for a moment. Your reaction may not be any different at all from what would probably be going on in another home, the home of that other family. Yes, that family of another race, a family with a different skin colour, a family with a different culture, a family which speaks a different language, but nonetheless a family which would be grappling with exactly the same issues you would be. So, in spite of the so called differences, the differences would not be very different after all, would they?

To parents and children:

What follows of course are my personal opinions, observations and conclusions, however, God has wonderfully blessed me with many truly wonderful years of experience to ponder upon and from which to draw upon.

First, I do not believe that interracial marriage is for everyone, nor can it be for everyone nor shall it be for everyone. From a Christian perspective I can only repeat this statement.

As far back as I can recall the subject of interracial marriage was never discussed by my parents while I was growing up. In fact, I never even thought about the subject until I was an adult. In most cases I do not believe that interracial marriage is a concept or value that is learned at home from within the family. If the subject is at all discussed at home, it is usually quickly discouraged. Why then, do some individuals choose to cross racial boundaries and enter into marriages with a partner of a different race and culture, most probably, with a different skin colour who most likely speaks a different language? My belief is that interracial Christian marriages are a spiritual calling from God.

A barrier is an obstacle which we cannot overcome or an extremity which we cannot go beyond. Crossing that barrier, therefore, is overcoming what we first believed we could not overcome or going beyond where we first believed was as far as we could go. Some barriers are self-imposed. Other barriers are imposed upon us by society and mankind. Other barriers still are imposed upon us by God. Interracial relationships demand the crossing of barriers. Crossing the cultural barrier is to begin to understand how our neighbor lives. Crossing the racial barrier is to begin to see our neighbor for whom he or she is rather than seeing what he or she looks like. Interracial marriage, I believe, is more than crossing these barriers. It is living beyond these barriers.

A Christian marriage should never be viewed as anything shorter than a lifetime commitment. An interracial Christian marriage should never be viewed any differently. Any person thinking about an interracial relationship which may eventually lead to marriage must consider and search for his or her innermost answers to at least the following questions. Are you prepared to face prejudice? Are you prepared to face prejudice from possibly your family, or from your friends, or from your co-workers, or even from complete strangers? What about your own prejudice? Are you also willing to live with the consequences? A Christian contemplating an interracial relationship which may be leading toward marriage must, therefore, consider the answers while prayerfully searching for God’s wisdom and guidance.

Prejudice and racism are not problems or traits particular to any one race. Prejudice and racism are insidious destructive traits of human nature and both traits are equally pervasive throughout all races and cultures; either viewed and experienced from the perspective of a minority or as viewed and experienced from the perspective of a majority. No one is free from either racism or prejudice and this includes individuals who have entered into interracial marriage. Just as a racially homogeneous marriage does not and cannot solve personal problems, neither can an interracial marriage be viewed as a solution to racism and prejudice. My belief, therefore, is that racism and prejudice are rooted in sin. Jesus is the only answer to sin and Jesus is the only answer to the sins of racism and prejudice. Jesus taught us to love our neighbours as ourselves. If we cannot love our neighbor of a different race and skin colour across the street, then how can we claim to love our neighbor of a different race and skin colour across the ocean?

Racial differences are very real. To say differently is to avoid and deny reality. Questions about racial, cultural and language differences between individuals will not all be settled at once or fully resolved prior to marriage. Some differences, as small or as large as they may appear to be, can only be genuinely understood and truly resolved after marriage and some of the differences may only be possible to come to terms with many years after the wedding day. One of the difficult concepts to learn in an interracial marriage is to recognize that most marital disagreements are simply differences of opinion between two unique individuals because of who they are as opposed to differences between race, culture and/or language. Of course, race, culture and language largely define who an individual is and what an individual believes but, surprisingly, I have discovered that these issues as are rarely what marital disagreements are about.

In 2 Corinthians 6:14, the Bible exhorts born again Christians to marry born again Christians, however, the Bible does not speak against interracial marriage. 

Numbers 12:1 records for us that Moses married a Cushite woman, a woman believed to have been black. Numbers 12:1-2 also reveals that this particular interracial marriage created division with Moses’s own family. Verses 2-10 further reveals that God heard, intervened and punished Miriam with leprosy because she had not been afraid to speak against His servant Moses. 

Jesus said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” An interracial Christian marriage is not a house divided against itself, but a schism between parents and a son or daughter is definitely a house divided against itself.

To children:

In Exodus 20:12, God commands, “Honour you father and your mother.” God’s fifth commandment has not changed; therefore, my advice to any couple entering into the lifetime commitment of marriage is to win the consent and support of your parents. My advice is exactly the same for a Christian couple considering a marriage which may cross racial boundaries.

True, your parents may never fully understand your reasons for your decision, but you may be surprised to discover that your parents may learn to accept your choice of partner and choose not to oppose your decision. (Having said this, I urge Christian parents to read Ephesians 6:12; Acts 10 through Acts 11:18; and the Book of Ruth) I can assure you that my parents did not understand my decision, but in spite of this, my parents did not oppose or discourage my marriage to Kie. Likewise, Kie’s parents also did not discourage or oppose our marriage, in fact; a wonderful wedding was prepared for us by Kie’s family.

To all:

Christ Jesus our Lord bridged the chasm of sin which separated mankind from God; therefore, no chasm on earth is too wide that it cannot be bridged. Surely then, through Christ Jesus our Lord, the chasm between racial boundaries can also be bridged. For a few of the chosen, but not all, God’s call to go beyond racial boundaries may be through interracial marriage.

Yours in Christ.

The Oddblock Station Agent 

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