What color is God’s skin?
By DANNY MINTON
Anne Frank, as most know, was a Jewish teenager who hid with her family in a secret attic to escape the Nazis during World War II. For over two years, she writes about things that you would expect any teenager to write. In her diary, Anne also writes about the time hiding, in a small cramped area, in fear of discovery by the enemy. There is one place in her diary that she makes a statement that has inspired people for decades. On Saturday, July 15, 1944, two weeks before she and her family were discovered and carried off to concentration camps, Anne wrote, “It’s difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.”
I believe the vast majority of people possess only good at heart. The pictures of what we have seen in the media lately, the riots, the looting, the violence represent only a fraction of all men and women. I wish the media would give as much time to showing people of different colors working side by side, cleaning up and serving together to make their communities better.
Racism and bigotry never go away. The past twelve years, the country has reverted to the days of my youth and the unrest of the 1960s. It has been a constant battle for centuries to rid prejudice based on color and nationality in our world. Events like the senseless killing of George Floyd stir the fear and hatred of people, primarily when it occurred at the hands of someone of authority.
A few years ago, I met a black family for the first time. We possessed a tie that goes back over 50 years. Unknown to them was that part of the history involved a racist incident in our hometown.
In the second game of the 1965 football season, I took the ball from our quarterback and cut through the line. About five yards upfield, I was turned side-ways, and the tackler fell on my shoulder, breaking my collarbone. Since I would be out of action for several weeks, the coach brought up a sophomore black boy, Johnny, from the Junior Varsity to take my place. The coach came to me and asked if it would be okay for Johnny to wear my jersey at the next game. I had no problem with the request, but someone in the stands did.
The next week the coach came to me once again. This time he wanted me to wear my jersey and stand on the sidelines. Johnny received another numbered jersey to wear the remainder of the season. He went on to become a star player on the team. The incident reminds me that racism is always present, even in places that seem safe and connected.
In 1968 a non-profit group named “Up With People” was born. It was a musical group that toured in the 1970s, promoting youth working together to make our world a better world. There is one song that they sang that has stuck in my mind for decades. It’s one that should make us all stop and think about God, people, the world we live in, and how we are one people who should work together for the common good. The song is entitled, “What Color is God’s Skin?” (Words & Music by Tom Wilkes & David Stevenson) A little boy asks his father as he puts him to bed, “Daddy, what color is God’s skin?” His dad answers:
What color is God’s skin?
I said it’s black brown it’s yellow
It is red; it is white.
Ev’ry man’s the same in the good Lord’s sight.”
In response, his son asks another question:
He looked at me with his shining eyes
I knew I could tell no lies
When he said Daddy why do the diff’rent races fight
If we’re the same in the good Lord’s sight?”
In the Book of Acts, Peter points out to his listeners, “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him. Acts 10:34-35 (NASB) In the Book of 1 Samuel God’s response as Samuel views Eliab as the possible new king gives a view of how God sees us all. ” But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.'” 1 Samuel 16:7 (NASB)
Racism and bigotry will always be a part of the world in which we live. What we can do is to make sure that it does not exist in our lives and the lives of our children. Those who believe and trust in God should let each other know that no matter what color your skin may be, what language you speak, where you were born, or simply whatever makes you different from everyone else, God loves you. To each of us, we should always remember, “We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.” 1 John 4:19-21 (NASB)
Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ