United in Christ
"What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate" (Matthew 19:6, ESV).
Each morning my husband and I greet each other with a kiss. His rosy cheeks and fair skin come close to my milk chocolate tone (as my son likes to say) and curly hair. My husband is white and I am black. We don't wake up and notice the difference of our skin color; frankly, we go most of our days without a thought of it. But every so often someone else will remind us. Like the time when we were dating and we stepped out of a restaurant hand-in-hand. The black couple standing next to the car adjacent to ours wasn't amused by our public display of affection. "Sell-out," was not only the message in their looks; it came off the male's lips. And then there was the time we visited Memphis, Tennessee, and ate at a nice restaurant in a suburban area. I was most definitely the oddball, and the glares helped remind me that I wasn't welcome.
Interracial marriage may be growing in acceptance now among the general population, but it has always been acceptable to God. In Numbers 12:1-10, God severely punished Miriam and Aaron for criticizing Moses' marrying a Cushite (Ethiopian) woman. Interracial marriage isn't merely acceptable; it reflects the beauty and glory of the gospel.
When I think of the gospel, I think of reconciliation, peace, unity, acceptance, redemption, and forgiveness. At salvation, we are reconciled to God and have peace by the blood of Christ. We are united now with Christ and accepted by God fully through his grace. We are redeemed and have complete forgiveness of sins. It is amazing grace! There's an earthly union that has similar descriptions as the gospel. It falls short of redemption but displays the power of the gospel and the glory of God in the lives of Christians.
When two people from different ethnicities take the sacred step to become one flesh in marriage, God's gospel is on display.
Our history precedes itself. Slavery divided the United States and segregation continued that legacy of division. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 closed a chapter in the law of discrimination but it has taken decades for interracial marriages to become more commonplace. The gospel breaks down barriers and is available to all people. There is no distinction (Romans 10:12), and on that last day every tribe and tongue will be represented praising God (Revelation 7:9). But before that day, reconciliation is on display through interracial marriage.
Trillia Newbell is the author of Fear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves and United: Captured by God's Vision for Diversity. Along with writing, she is pursuing her M.A. in biblical counseling from Southern Theological Seminary. Trillia is married to her best friend, Thern, and they reside with their two children near Nashville, TN. You can find her at trillianewbell.com and follow her on twitter at @trillianewbell.