Interracial Marriages
June 27, 2010 Blogs, Family and Relationship Health by: Tim Jennings, M.D.

I had the privilege of getting into a relationship with one of my fellow youth members. He is half Indian and I am white. My culture does not permit it in any way, and finds it a disgrace and a sin. I know the Bible states that we should not be in relationships with non-believers, because light and darkness do not mix, but nowhere in the Bible to my knowledge does it state that we are not allowed to be romantically involved over our racial borders.

My parents do not know about the relationship because it does not carry their consent. They say it is unbiblical and unlawful. Please shed some light on this topic. I really love this man and he knows the Will of God. He values the same beliefs as I do. Is it not more important to be involved with a man of God than to be involved with an unbeliever? My parents say that the Bible preaches against it. Please tell me the truth.

Before we answer the question of how to deal with your family let’s deal with the question of racism. Racism is sin pure and simple. Racism is selfishness, elitism, arrogance, pride, hatred and evil all wrapped up into one. It is the fruit of Satan’s principles and has no place in God’s kingdom.

God’s kingdom is the kingdom of love, the kingdom of giving, of self-sacrifice, of esteeming others more highly than yourself. Anyone who is racist has not been renewed in love!

If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. (1John 4:20).

By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35).

This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother. (1John 3:10).

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. (1John 3:16).

All humanity was created by God, in Adam. When God created mankind there was no racial division. We are all part of the same heritage and same family. Satan is a liar and fraud. He lied about God in heaven and he lies to us today about who we are. Through his lies he divides. God is the God of truth and love and His methods always heal and unite. Through Christ, God is working to bring the entire universe back together into unity, under one head (Eph 1:10).

Racism blinds us to God and His kingdom. Racism prevents us from making enlightened decisions. Rather than assessing a person based on the content of the heart, the quality of the character, we instead make decisions based on the concentration of melanin in the skin. How utterly foolish, narrow minded and short sighted!

The Bible tells us that, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1Sam 16:7). With God it is not a matter of melanin concentration in the skin, but a matter of love concentration in the heart! We must grow up and look past the outer appearance and see the quality of the heart!

God demonstrated his displeasure with those who practice racism, even within families, when Aaron and Miriam questioned Moses’ right to lead Israel. They questioned his ability to lead because he had married an African woman, most likely from the Sudan.

Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. Numbers 12:1 [Cush comes from Hebrew כושי‎ and refers to someone of African descent with dark skin, most likely from Sudan].

God was displeased with their prejudice and judgmentalism and chastised them. As an object lesson, to show them the sinfulness of racism, pride, and jealousy God struck Miriam with leprosy. [He didn’t strike Aaron with leprosy because he was the High Priest and represented Christ]. Leprosy was an object lesson for sin. Miriam could not enter the camp of Israel until she was cleansed of leprosy. Likewise, we cannot enter heaven until we are cleansed of racism, pride, and jealousy.

Therefore, if you live in a culture in which “Christians” practice racism, they are revealing that the Christianity they are practicing is not cleansing their hearts or renewing them into Christlikeness.

Understanding that racism is unequivocally evil and against the kingdom of God, how do we now answer the question of your situation and dealing with your family.

The Scriptures tell us that we are to honor our mother and father. Does this mean, that once we reach accountability, we allow our parents to choose the God we worship? Does it mean we allow our parents to think for us? Are we to surrender our individuality to our parents?

Absolutely not! Christ said:

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—  36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:34-38).

What does this mean? We are to always treat our parents with love and respect, but we are to put Christ and God first in our hearts, and maintain our fidelity and loyalty to God above all others. This means when we understand God’s kingdom of love and our family is racist and pressures us to participate with them in practicing racism, we should instead love others. We may risk rejection from our families if they continue to hold to selfishness and pride, but we grow in our relationship with God.

But loving others as Christ loved us, loving all peoples regardless of race, does not mean we have to enter into romantic relationships with those of other races. The Bible is clear there is nothing sinful in such relationships, but because of sin and the darkness of human minds, there will be a price to pay for biracial marriages. In some parts of the world this is much more serious than others.

You must consider the impact over time if your family and culture shun you. You may be in love now, you may be in harmony with God’s understanding of the universe, you may be in harmony with God’s kingdom of love, but what will it be like to live ostracized from your family, friends and culture? If you plan on having children will a biracial marriage make their lives more difficult? If your family cuts you off, will you be able to live the rest of your life without their involvement in your life? Will you be able to do so without resentment toward your spouse?

While such a marriage may be “permissible” it does not mean it is wise or beneficial (1Cor 6:12, 10:23).

You are correct to stand up against racism and to love all peoples. You are correct to resist your family’s and culture’s pressure to be racist. But, this does not mean that a biracial marriage is most beneficial and I would recommend you pray over this and counsel with those from your community before pursuing this relationship further.

One other point of caution, regardless of the rightness of your understanding of racism, regardless of your understanding of God’s kingdom of love for all peoples, it is still damaging to your mind, conscience and character to practice deception. Therefore, if you cannot engage in this relationship without being dishonest, deceitful and deceptive I would recommend avoiding it.

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Tim Jennings, M.D. Timothy R. Jennings, M.D., is a board-certified psychiatrist, master psychopharmacologist, Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, Fellow of the Southern Psychiatric Association, and an international speaker. He served as president of the Southern and Tennessee Psychiatric Associations and is president and founder of Come and Reason Ministries. Dr. Jennings has authored many books, including The God-Shaped Brain, The God-Shaped Heart, and The Aging Brain.
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