Only a single piece of evidence was permitted in this unholy courthouse.
This courthouse where one individual set up himself as judge, jury, and executioner. And then, upon seeing the actions of this one individual, a second mortal soul did likewise. And another and another until the entire courthouse filled with blasphemous benches and tainted trials.
In each courtroom, the self-appointed judge called the same witness to the stand: an accuser who spews darkness, contempt and condemnation day and night.
Each admitted into evidence only items of color, and only then, the colorations they wanted to see.
In one courtroom, the color of deep, rich black skin was enough to conclusively associate guilt. In an adjoining courtroom, pale white flesh uniformed in blue lead to a decision of blameworthiness. And in yet another, it was the color of a belief—gold cross or rainbow pride or star-of-David blue—that yielded condemnation.
Each saw a disparate color and declared guilt by association of being black…or being white. Blue or red, male or female, middle-Eastern or middle-European, native or immigrant, my religion or yours, same or different.
Each then horrifically decided that they would be the ones to carry out the respective judgements.
Hence, too many nights for too many years in too many cities across our broken apart world have been colored with violence, bloodshed, and death.
Our hearts lament “This should not be!”
And God agrees.
From the beginning, color was to be evidence of beauty, not evidence in a mock trial. When the Creator shaped the earth, He robed it in brilliant colors. When He set the rainbow in the sky, the array of colors were to evidence His covenant between every pigmentation of us, every hue of living creatures, and Himself.
Color was to be associated with adoration, not discrimination. When the King calls for His bride in the Psalms, she is robed in colorful garments. When the King calls out “Come up here,” we see His throne encircled with brilliant colors and varicolored jewels.
Color was to be associated with salvation, not destruction. Joseph, the much loved son, robed in a coat of many colors by his father, ultimately saves his family of twelve tribes from death. Jesus, the much loved Son, dressed in a colorful robe by Herod, ultimately saves His family of every tribe, people, language, and nation from death.
Color was to be associated with grace, not guilt. It is only by way of God the Father, the work of the Spirit, and the blood-red sacrifice of Jesus that we can experience grace and peace…in abundance.
When we associate color with anything else, we are guilty of issuing unholy verdicts.
When we place ourselves anywhere in the courtroom except on our knees in front of the Judge, there is only a sentence of pain and weeping.
Weeping in cities, neighborhoods, and communities,
weeping in churches, synagogues, and mosques,
weeping in refugee camps and at border crossings,
weeping on seas’ shores and mountains’ tops,
weeping of male and female, young and old, brown, black, and white.
Mercifully, it’s into this weeping courtroom of condemnation that Jesus walks and offers us a new verdict: grace by association.
Jesus takes our verdict of sin and its associated violence, bloodshed, death and says “For those who call me ‘Savior’ only one color of evidence matters — the color of my blood.”
Our condition: guilt by association with sin.
Our only hope: grace by association with a Savior.
Ann is right when she say “Either Jesus is the answer to the ultimate problems of the human condition — or there is no ultimate answer.”
Either Jesus is the answer to our ultimate problem with color — or there is no ultimate answer.
Bullets and bombs are not the answer. They will not change the human condition. In Syria, Rwanda, Bosnia, Iraq, Sudan, and in every corner of the globe we have seen repeatedly that military intervention does not permanently end discrimination or persecution.
Law and order will not alter the human condition. No law can soften our hearts or open our eyes. Pharisees and dictators throughout the ages have proven that laws only serve to constrict the heart and narrow the eyes.
The ultimate answer is our ultimate hope: Jesus—creator of our eyes, designer of our hearts, lover of our souls.
When I finally stop associating you with the color of guilt and start associating you with Jesus, then grace is the only verdict I am qualified to give.
I wonder, could the classic hymn have had a second chorus like so:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the colors of earth will grow strangely beautiful,
In the light of His glory and grace.
Only when I view you as made colorful in the image of my Savior can I color my view of you with grace.
Only when I see your color and my color and his color and her color as God’s palette of beauty can I start to see the truly beautiful you.
Only when I pray for the salvation of all colors can I cease fearing and begin seeing the salvation of the LORD.
Lord, come quickly. Wash us in your grace such that our eyes begin to see the colors of our brothers and sisters in every corner of your creation as exceptionally beautiful.