I have had a few dogs over the years and have learned to love most breeds. In my eyes, huskies and malamutes are possibly the most beautiful dog breeds. But if I was to own a large dog, I’d probably have a black lab or a golden retriever. Their personalities and demeanors are just so pleasant to be around, and they are such devoted companions.
But I have always had mutts of some sort, mixtures of multiple breeds. We’ve had dogs with poodle, dalmatian, lab, terrier, and lahsa apso in them. And the dog we now own is part poodle, part shihtzu (which makes him a shiht-poo, poor guy). Ryley, as we call him, is the perfect size for our small city house and yard and is a great indoor dog.
In many ways, my family is typical among American families in that we are mutts. The first person of my dad’s lineage to come to America from Europe was John Cummings, who arrived from Scotland in the 1700s. Over the course of many generations, the family line mixed with Irish, English, Dutch, and French before producing my father. My mom’s side is similar, of predominantly European descent, though we don’t have as much information about who first came to America and when.
One thing we do know about her family, though, is that we have Native American blood in us. Somewhere in the 1800s, her ancestors married among the Cherokees and Delawares. Unfortunately, no one had the foresight to keep careful track of the marriages and children, so as far as I know there are no official papers to tie us to these tribes. But it seems clear that my siblings and I are not only mutts, we are mutts from two different continents. Pretty cool.
In his book The Language of God1, Dr. Francis Collins says that genetic evidence clearly shows that all human beings on Planet Earth are intimately related to one another. One big, happy family, that’s what we are.
Similarly, God’s Word tells us that those of us who are not ethnically Jews have been offered the opportunity to be adopted into the family of God’s people through faith.
Ephesians 1:5 tells us that the Father “predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ.”
And as we know, adoption comes with all the rights, responsibilities, and privileges of a naturally born child.
And in Galatians we are told,
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:26-29
When the Father promised to Abraham that He would bless the entire world through his offspring, and that he would be the father of many nations (Genesis 17), the Israelites naturally felt that this was their divine inheritance. But God had another plan: He was going to invite the Gentiles, those filthy half-breeds, to turn from their ways and join His family for eternity. Of all the outrages!
Paul referred to this audacious move by the Father as “the mystery which has been kept hidden for ages and generations” (Colossians 1:26). A careful reading of Colossians (see esp. 1:24-27, 2:2-3, 2:11-14, 3:11-12) reveals to us that, until Christ, God had not divulged to the world that He intended to bring the non-Jews into His holy family. But for the first time in history it was becoming apparent that Adonai, God our Lord and Master, loves each human on Earth with equal passion and fervor (John 3:16).
Jesus Himself scolded the Pharisees, Jews who thought they knew everything, for depending on their ancestry for God’s favor.
“And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.” Matthew 3:9
You see, all men are indeed equal in the sight of their Creator. Whether we are talking about racial tensions, human genetics, diverse world religions, or ancestry, the almighty Father loves each of us with a sacrificial love that will never be duplicated among mankind. And as creatures created in His image (Genesis 1:26-27), we are to strive to love others in this same, unbiased way.
Questions for thought
What is your response to people of other races? Are there some you find easy to accept and others not?
Do you take pride in your ancestry? Is it pride in the sense of arrogance, or pride in the sense of gratitude?
How would your approach to other people be different if you embraced the fact that God doesn’t love you any more (or less) than He does them?
God of all, teach us how to maintain our individual identity, our ethnic differences, without degrading others or lifting ourselves above them. Remind us daily that we are not biological heirs of your promises, but that you willingly have grafted us into the tree, you have adopted us into your family. We are humbled by your act of grace and mercy and ask that you would fill our hearts with the same grace and mercy for others. Amen.
1 Francis S. Collins, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (Free Press, 2007)