I will not forget the year my daughter was three, and we were visiting family for the holidays. The wind, filled with swirling snowflakes, pushed us into the foyer as my daughter led the family procession through the front doors of my parent’s church.
I followed close behind, holding my infant son while gently pushing my daughter toward the senior pastor a few feet ahead of us. A smile on his face as he greeted each person.
My red-hair, freckled-face tiny daughter stood stock still in the entranceway and refused to move. Our entire family smushed together like dominos falling on top of each other as in unison we encouraged her to keep walking. Instead, the worried blue eyes of my 3-year-old absorbed the laughter and bustle as she declared in her loudest outdoor voice, “Mommy, why are there so many white people here!?”
At that moment when the senior pastor’s startled gaze met my reddening, mortified face I could have sunk into that church carpet all the way to the basement floor. But my heart also felt joy.
My 3-year-old understood Christ’s body in a way I prayed she would always remember.
Little one, let Jesus be the lens through which you see the world.
My daughter was immersed in the ethnic Chinese church where my husband and I served. Her first friendships formed in bilingual Sunday school where she learned to say hello in Mandarin before ever speaking it in English. This a clear testimony of the love she received from her Mandarin-speaking Sunday school teachers.
I will never forget the joy I felt, despite my reddening face, when I discovered my 3-year-old understood this great truth.
The church does not have to look like us for us to belong.
As mothers our hearts long to help our children understand the beautiful diversity that comprises the body of Christ. Now, maybe more than ever, we are searching for Biblical ways to explain the importance of understanding the beautiful skin colors that comprise Christ’s body. And we are seeking truthful answers laced with God’s Word to guide our children’s hearts to love others as themselves.
We are given a future glimpse into this perfect picture when people from all tribes, languages, and nations will worship God (Revelation 7:9). Heaven will be perfect. And God’s worshippers will be perfected standing in the presence of a holy God worthy of our unified praise.
But today our feet are weighed down by the sinful state of this world.
And we are marred by our unperfected hearts. We feel the groaning in our spirits as we eagerly wait for sin’s ugliness and bondage to lose their final grip on us and our world when we are ushered into God’s glorious freedom as His children. Then we will be fully redeemed and restored. (Romans 8:18-21)
But until that day we continue to pray hard prayers and seek out honest conversations with our children to help them understand the beautiful diversity of Christ’s body here on earth.
Children, let Jesus be the lens through which you see the world.
Parenting our children in the faith includes helping them build a framework so they view Scripture as infallible truth. As we guide them, they discover in the pages of Scripture a Holy God existing in complete perfection. A God independent of us in His greatness and yet willing to sacrifice His own Son to save us.
This is the truest love modeled. The most authentic relationship given. The greatest demonstration of mercy and truth colliding on the pages of human history to bring us and our children hope and peace no ugliness of sin can steal from us.
How we talk of God and guide our children to view Him is so important.
It is a foundational way they will view themselves, their sins and shortcomings, the relationships and respect they afford to others, and the salvation we pray will cover their lives.
When we are God’s forgiven child we are His. We belong because we belong to Him.
This allows us to look at our brothers and our sisters of skin tones—different, yet just as beautiful as ours—and embrace them in our church foyers and on our neighborhood streets.
One day soon, we will meet all God’s children of every race and language and sing with them to the same God who saved us all. And it will be perfect. And we will be perfected. The beauty of Christ’s body on full display. And I can’t help but wonder if our hearts will burst with joy.
Together we are the body belonging to Jesus.
Let Jesus be the lens through which you see the world.