July 21, 2011
We are a strong, white, Christian family. Our 22 year old daughter is dating a black boy. He is very nice, kind, well-mannered. However, we just are not in favor of this inter-racial relationship. We never envisioned one of daughters dating a black boy. We know all the biblical verses pertaining to this. We’re just not sure what to say to her. Need some thoughts on this situation. Your thoughts are so welcome. Thanks.
Thank you for writing in with your question.
I’m surprised to hear you mention knowing the scriptures pertaining to interracial relationships because I confess, I am wholly unaware of any verse which addresses the subject. Old Testament passages speak about the importance of Hebrews marrying Hebrews and not pagans who worship false gods and idols, but that has to do with a person’s relationship with God rather than his or her nationality. We know this to be the case when we consider heroes of the faith such as Rahab and Ruth, neither of whom were Hebrews, both of whom came to fear (know) the Lord better than many natural Hebrews and were used by God in significant ways, most significantly as women in the lineage of Christ! This is the same vein which runs through the New Testament command not to be unequally yoked in 2 Corinthians 6. Biblical warnings against marrying certain types of people have everything to do with their relationship with the Holy One (and ours) and nothing to do with nationality, ethnicity or race.
That being said, your feelings and your conflict are real and no doubt a significant part of how you were raised. Based on your letter, it seems you and your husband probably grew up in Bible-believing churches and/or homes which taught against interracial marriages. You certainly grew up in a time in our culture when such relationships were anathema. Your situation reminds me of what the Disciples must have experienced upon seeing Jesus conversing with, not only a woman one-on-one, but a Samaritan woman. That’s not how they grew up! That’s not how a good Jewish man was to behave, yet here was their Master, their Teacher, their Messiah breaking all the rules about race-relations (and gender-relations). I’m sure it was a shock. I’m sure it was quite unsettling, perhaps even unacceptable at first. And I appreciate that what I am saying might be just as jarring, just as maddening perhaps, just difficult to accept.
And so it’s okay to need time to wrestle with this radical biblical truth that goes against everything you’ve been taught just as Christ’s first followers were constantly having to do. Since Christ’s Loving-Truth sets us free, I beg you to wrestle with it, to try to accept it; but even if you cannot, I appeal now to your love for your daughter, a love that has no doubt grown from parent-child love to also include friend-love now that she is an adult. Support your daughter, love your daughter, respect her (decisions) as the adult she is. Don’t let your preferences—reasoned as they may be considering the difficulties that can still come as a part of interracial relationships—drive a wedge between you, driving your daughter away from you. Don’t give the Enemy a foothold to break down and breakup your family, your love for one another. I implore you with familial affection in Christ our Lord.
Dear E, may our great God give you grace and bless your family in this scary step of faith we call life.
With love and respect,
This blog post originally appeared at reneamac.com/2011/07/21/interracial-dating/
About the Author
Renea McKenzie is a former staffer at Probe Ministries. She graduated cum laude from Dallas Baptist University with a B.S in Kinesiology and a minor in Biblical Studies. She went on to receive her M.A. in Liberal Arts and English Literature at DBU, and is currently pursing her PhD in Humanities at the University of Texas in Dallas where she specializes in The History of American Women's Novels, African American Novels, and History of the US South. In between completing her Masters and starting her PhD, Renea spent a year studying at the famous L'Abri Fellowship in Switzerland founded by Christian worldview pioneers Francis and Edith Schaeffer. She is presently a regular contributor at Thinking through Christianity, and you can contact her through her blog, Speak What We Feel, at firstname.lastname@example.org where she continues to answer your tough questions about Christian living in the nitty gritty everyday.
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