Rev. Derrick Elliott
When I was in seminary, one of my pastoral care professors told us that it is essential to remember that everyone has unique experiences and perspectives that contribute to their identities. Embracing and celebrating our differences can help to create a more inclusive and diverse society. In recent times, conversations around diversity and inclusion have gained momentum in different spheres of life. From workplaces to schools to religious communities, recognizing and valuing differences is becoming increasingly important rather than fearing the “other.” However, what does the Bible say about diversity and inclusion? Genesis 1:27 provides a clue: “So God created humans in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
At first glance, the verse may seem like a simple statement, but it has profound implications. God created humans in his own image, meaning every person has inherent value and dignity, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or other characteristics. It calls us to treat each other respectfully and with love, recognizing that we are all created in God’s image.
Furthermore, recognizing that every person is created in God’s image means that diversity is not something to be erased, but celebrated. God’s image is reflected in many ways, and every individual has unique experiences and perspectives that contribute to their identities. Celebrating these differences can create a more inclusive and diverse society.
The notion of being “colorblind” is often used to express the belief that people do not see race or ethnicity when interacting with others. However, this approach misses the point. When we are colorblind, we essentially say we do not value or celebrate differences. Instead, we should strive to be “color-celebrating” by recognizing and appreciating the diversity within the human family.
Instead of being colorblind, then, we should strive to be color-celebrating. We should recognize and value the diversity within the human family and seek to learn from and appreciate our differences. This means acknowledging the challenges and injustices when marginalized or excluded because of their differences and working to overcome those barriers. By working to overcome these barriers, we can create a just and loving community for all.
In the end, Genesis 1:27 teaches us that diversity and inclusion are essential aspects of what it means to be human. Recognizing and celebrating our differences reflects God’s image and creates a more just and loving community.