On October 20, 2019, a top Internet search term emerged that concerned the Tulsa Race Massacre. The interest was sparked by a streaming TV episode, which depicted the 1921 massacre that occurred in the area of Tulsa known as Black Wall Street.
Because this particular TV series is based on a comic book, many of the searches on Google asked whether or not this was historic. According to reports, the analytics from Google also reveal that a great number of those searches happened in the state of Oklahoma. These searches suggest the existence of a historical blind spot.
Six years ago, my wife and I became foster parents. This decision led to us being blessed by our two incredible sons that we adopted four years ago. I remember the day I had an experiential blind spot revealed to me.
As I was walking through a store with my two boys in the shopping cart, I noticed a variety of glances that we would receive. Some people would smile at me while giving me a little nod. Others would look, and their eyebrows would rise, and their heads would shake side to side ever so slightly. They saw that my skin color and the skin color of my boys did not match, and this led to a reaction from people around me. My experience in a multiracial family turned on a light, and it, at least partially, removed the blind spot I had possessed for most of my life.
I will forever be in the debt of my black friends to whom I can go to for advice. They were able to enlighten me on everything from hair and skin products to understanding what their experiences were like growing up as black men. This is something I will never fully comprehend, but one of my goals as a father, as a friend and as a brother in Christ is to remove as much of the blind spot of the experience of my friends of other ethnicities as I can.
The most powerful tool that I have had in this continual process is simply listening. My friends have shared with me the blessings and challenges that they have faced, and these stories have forced me to open my eyes to my own prejudices and blind spots.
One does not have to read very far in Scripture to see how Jesus sought to remove blind spots from His followers. He loved to make people uncomfortable in their own blind spots. His disciples experienced this as Jesus ministered to the Samaritan woman, or among the swine herders along the shores of the Galilee.
This reveals the heart of God. From the beginning of God’s covenant with Abraham, there was an inclusion to all nations and ethnicities as the seed of Abraham would be a blessing to all the families of the earth (Gen. 12:3).
One of the promises of the Messiah is that He will be a welcoming place for all nations (Isa. 11:10). This culminates in a glorious picture of people from every ethnicity, all tribes and peoples and tongues, gathered before the throne to worship our Savior and Lord (Rev. 7:9). This unity that will be experienced in Heaven is not something we should delay. Instead, may we all, as brothers and sisters in Christ, seek to remove our blind spots of the experiences of others. May we show empathy and concern for the struggles of those around us, regardless of nationality or skin color. May we love as Jesus did, not just reaching across our differences, but destroying the barriers which can separate us.
May we sing together the praise of the Lamb who was slain and was raised again!