Recently, there has been a re-emergence of prejudicial hate crimes. Black churches are being burned with little regard for whose house it is. Talk shows have given audience to individuals with extreme ideas, and those ideas are becoming pervasive in our society. Riots have broken out in Los Angeles over racial tensions established by the Rodney King beating, and the O.J. Simpsonís trial that seems to have cause additional lines of demarcation between the races. Although Iím listing problems associated within our society, intolerance is far from being an American thing. Whether it is Iraq, North Korea, Bosnia, South Africa, Europe, or the Middle East the hate of one people for another seems to be at the forefront of the news.

One aspect of these hate crimes, that I have a hard time understanding, is how many are carried out in the name of God. Yes, the same God whoís communiqué with this world is summarized as love your God with your whole heart, soul and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself is blamed for one people hating another. Does that make any sense to you, because it doesnít to me? How could the God, who is called love, who so loved the world that He sent His Son, hate anyone because of the color of his or her skin, or the place of his or her birth?

Father Grizone, in his book, Joshua in the Holy Land, made a lot of sense when he said (not a direct quote) men would continue to abhor others as long as they love their hatred more than their children. Never was a truer statement ever made. We could essential wipe out hate crimes if, for one generation, we focused on our similarities instead of our differences. If we had a normal birth, void of any defect, and never had an accident that caused a disfigurement of our body, we have so many more comparable things than distinct. Two eyes, a nose, mouth, teeth, arms, legs, etc., compared to one difference, color. Families have brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins. Life entails being born, going to school, finding a job, having kids and dying. No matter what color or race you are you have blood flowing through your veins and air being sucked into and out of your lungs. If need be, a heart from any colored skin or race person would work just as well in your body, and so could be used if needed. God, like a doctor, looks at the heart, and cares not the color of skin it comes from; His primary concern is, can I use this heart for My purpose? Is this a healthy, repentant heart, or is this a sick, an evil heart?

Something that Paul makes clear in Galatians is, "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourself with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Continuing down this same avenue, God said in Genesis that we would create man in our image and our likeness. He did not specify whether that man was black or white, red or yellow or purple with pink poke-a-dots. Man, unlike the pigs in Animal Farm, need not suppose that they are any different than any other. All of mankind is created equal; no one is more equal than anyone else. God hears the prayers of all equally well and petitions are answered, not because of a personís skin color, but by a need for whatís best as determined by God. If God can be colorblind then why canít we? (Heís also tone deaf, but thatís another chapter)

Since God is spirit, He really has no skin color, but in Revelations John explains Godís appearance. He says in Revelations, chapter 4, "After this I looked, there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, ĎCome up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.í At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian." Being raised in a lower, middle class family I had no idea of the colors of these precious stones, so I looked it up in my handi-dandi dictionary. Jasperís color is reddish brown or yellow quartz. Carnelian is a reddish variety of clear chalcedony. And chalcedony is a translucent to transparent milky or grayish quartz. Now imagine if God allowed only those with an appearance of jasper and carnelian to live in the kingdom Heís preparing? Would you have any chance of entering heaven? I also wonder if Godís color is not a combination of all mankindís, illuminated by His light? Think about it, Black, and yellow, red and white. Add all the different shades and hues and what color would you have? Personally, I canít answer that question, because as the typical male my eyes are only capable of seeing 5 or 6 basic colors. My wife really gets upset when she asks me which color I like better, and I say arenít they both the same?

Being a member of the Armed Forces, Army to be specific, we are taught to look past skin color and see only green. All are allowed to be all they can be no matter their sex, no matter their culture, no matter their denomination, or ethnicity. We are all but soldiers. Unfortunately, there is probably a little bias about the other services. Iím not sure if thatís friendly competition or bigotry, but the truth of the matter is, if you ainít Army, you ainít...... Now, Now watch your language. (Only kidding)

There is, I believe, one cause behind hate crimes, and that is fear. To be precise, fear of the unknown. When someone is outside your frame of reference, and you are unfamiliar with his or her doctrines, you fear what you do not know. Somehow fear has a way of transposing itself into hatred.

(Just ask anyone who fears going on roller coasters) As a self-defense mechanism they have a way of belittling anything they donít understand. Heck, no one wishes to show his or her own inadequacies now do they?

One thing visibly perceivable about a true believerís character is their ability to be vulnerable. Many may say that youíre just a doormat, but that mat is strategically placed at the gates of heaven. It would be my honor to be a conduit for your dirt, that is, as long as you accept Christ as your Savior and Lord. Being vulnerable is the ability to accept others as they are. To be vulnerable is to be an enabler that allows another to receive the credit for a job well done. Being vulnerable means demonstrating Christís love, even if it means death on a tree. Being vulnerable means looking past the obvious things of this world, like the color of oneís skin, to see a brother or sister in Christ.

Thereís a song that asks the question, What Color is Godís Skin, and its answer is, "it is black, and brown, and yellow, it is red, it is white. Everyoneís the same in the good Lordís sight." In your life is the message of this song true? Do you have it in your heart to be a colorblind, tone deaf, son of God. Do you have enough courage to rise above the fear of the unknown and reach out to a brother or sister, no matter the color of their skin? And speaking of color, what is the color of love, or peace, or happiness? Arenít these the things that truly matter? Donít get bogged down with the unimportant issues of life, rise above them. Concentrate on your likes instead of your dislikes. Fear is just an emotion, concentrate on controlling it instead of it controlling you. Yes, fear is but an emotion not a sin; but uncontrolled fear can lead you down the path of sin. The only time fear becomes sinful is when the mask of hatred is placed onto it.

There is an inheritance we can give our children, before we leave this world, which need not wait until we die. Iím not talking money or property, but an attitude. A new way of looking at people without preconceived notions or ideas. Donít you know that our children are these blank tapes in the VCR of life that plays back the things they see and hear us say? It would only take one strong link to break the chain of prejudice in this world. It would only take one willing person to let the weight of this worldís past failures to rest squarely on their shoulders, so that their children donít have to carry the burden of hatred. We have the perfect example to follow that being Godís own son, Jesus, Immanuel, God with us. Are you willing to take the challenge??????? Are your shoulders broad enough to carry such a burden??????? Youíll never know unless you try!