Racism Through Coloured Lenses

Rose colored glasses, looking through colored glasses,

I was travelling north to visit some friends in Kerikeri. I also wanted to find out how they were impacting their local community.


I took a detour to visit an elderly family member and stay the night in Paihia. On my way the next morning, I stopped by a supermarket to pick up some sweets for the family.


My brief visit and exchange at the supermarket with the person behind the counter resulted in one of the most humbling experiences of my life.


I want to spare you the details, but the brief action of the person caused me to say, “slavery had ended quite some years ago, we don’t just simply respond with the pointing of the finger”. To which they replied, “I wouldn’t know, I wasn’t there”.


As I walked out with my bag of goodies, I approached the person who appeared to be the duty manager and said that they needed to do a better job training staff in proper manners. I then walked off before they could respond.


Whilst driving to Kerikeri, the Lord was speaking to me. I listened. Then tears flowed, and the Holy Spirit unpacked for me what it means to see through His eyes, compared to seeing through my frosty, coloured lenses. The presence of the Lord was immense and as I drove, I wept. Conviction came. It was gentle and full of love. Before I reached the family, I pulled over to compose myself.


I was reminded that I walk around wearing my coloured-lenses. I could be white, black, yellow, or whatever my ethnicity, the lenses are coloured by whatever experiences or upbringing I’ve had.


The story of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well (see John 4), became an object lesson for His disciples ‘that all – both Jews and Gentiles, need the river of life, and that the harvest is ready’. The lesson for us is the same. However, without developing a theology to fit this writing, the reminder for us is to replace our own lenses with those of God’s Word and Truth. God is love, and His love is unconditional.


John 4:4 says Jesus “needed to go through Samaria”, which means the Father had planned for the encounter to happen. In a single moment, Jesus cut through years of prejudices and rac1sm and offered the woman love, hope, freedom, not just for her, but for all of Samaria.


I’ve lost count of the missed opportunities to share the love of Christ because of my own prejudices, the same love Jesus shared with the Samaritan woman. On that day, the Kingdom of Heaven came and she experienced freedom and the unconditional love of Christ. The encounter was so significant that she left her waterpot behind and ran to tell the men to come and meet this man who could be Christ.


What is the message of the cross? The very cross through which we have this freedom that comes with the responsibility to share with others so they too can drink from the Living Water Jesus talks about. To capture the heart of the Father, to see what He is doing in our world despite the chaos and the noise, we need to examine our lenses, and replace them with God’s Word and Kingdom Truth. Only then can we begin to see clearly and see things from God’s perspective.


In His richest blessings,

Frank Po Ching