How I Became Colour-Blind

August 8, 2018
by Diane Eaton

"What colour is he?" I asked myself. Unable to sleep that stifling night, I got thinking about someone in our mission. Day after day, I saw him working diligently with the maintenance crew. Yet, that night, I could not envision his skin colour, nor that of the other workers, all of mixed racial origin. That was years ago. Yet, I have never forgotten my astonishment. Somehow, I had acquired a perceptual deficit: colour-blindness.

Then, there was that episode at our village post office. I was at the wicket, trying to conduct business with one arm while balancing an infant in the other. This wasn't working. I noticed a tall, burly man behind me — with free arms! For me, those strong arms were truly more noticeable than his dark African features. I handed him my daughter. As he tenderly took her into his arms, his face beamed. He seemed honoured to be entrusted with this child. In that instance, we were all happy, as strangers momentarily united by our mutual humanness and our shared longing to be blessed by one another.

Since those years, I've wondered how my colour-blindness set in, how I became desensitized to obvious features like skin colour. This was no virtue, I realized. We naturally pay less attention to what matters less to us. Perhaps that's the point in the following texts:

Galatians 3:28 – There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

Colossians 3:11 – Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. (NIV)

Surely, this is about acquired "colour-blindness" — or rather, dimmed attentiveness to features which differentiate us, whether by race, gender, religion, social status, or other identity. Those features tend to divide and alienate us — even to the point of destruction. That happens today, just as in antiquity. It threatens the church today as in the early church.

Surely, Christ is still the only way out of this destructive propensity. Surely, Christ is still the One who can save us from ourselves! For in Him, we have a new identity — the one that matters most to us. In Him, our earthly identities no longer define us. They matter less. In Him, we're free to experience our mutual human nature and brokenness. In Him, we acknowledge together our souls' cries for the One who alone can fully love, forgive, and affirm us. In Him, we are free to bless and nurture one another. For in Him, dividing walls of hostility are demolished. We become one through our mutual union with Him. This is the unity that enabled God's universal church to survive and expand across centuries, nations, and people groups — blessing the world in the midst of countless divisive forces.

Prayer: Lord, dampen our hypersensitivity to the distinguishing marks of diverse identities around us. Give us an increased sensitivity to You as the One who matters in all and above all. Keep us in Your grace, honouring one another — and thereby honouring Your name. Amen.

About the author:

Diane Eaton <d.eaton@bmts.com>
Paisley, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Such an important word, Diane. Thanks for sharing.


    Hi Diane. Thank you so much. This is another good devotional. God Bless.


    Hi Diane
    Thank you for All your devotional articles. You are a great writer. God has really blessed you.


    Hi Diane:
    Thank you for your beautiful devotional. I couldn’t agree with you more.
    God bless you.


    I relate to this as I live in a highly multicultural area and have neighbours from every corner of the globe.
    Thank you for your thoughtful interpretation.


    Thank you, Diane, for sharing this much needed devotional in a world gone mad with bigotry and violence. Praying for peace and love to prevail. Blessings.


    Dear Diane,
    Thank you so much for sharing with us today. Your devotional ‘How I Became Colour Blind’ touched my heart, and it deepened my desire to be more like God, who looks not on the outward appearance, but upon the heart. Thank you!


    Dear Diane,
    Thank you so much for your devotionals. I have been praying for colour-blindness. My family has those of various races and I never think of colour there. I am praying that this will extend to everyone so skin colour is not any more noticeable than hair colour.
    I particularly appreciate the paragraph that begins, “Surely, Christ is still the only way ….”


    Dear Diane,
    I found your color-blindness experiences very interesting because of an experience I had years ago:
    I once had a life-changing experience of “color-blindness”:
    I was teaching a classroom full of Canadian Native primary children in a Residental School. About half way through the year, I walked by a large wall mirror in the ladies’ washroom and saw that I was WHITE. I was alarmed! In some way, while day after day teaching the native children, I had unknowingly psychologically taken on their color to the extent that I had identified with them. It was with shock that I suddenly saw that I was the one who was different. I think I became a different person and began a new career that day.
    Thank you for inspiring me.
    Keep writing.


    Diane,
    Thank you for your enlightening devotional and its lesson that true “diversity” comes when we cease “to celebrate our differences” and concentrate on what unites us – God’s Grace made manifest in the sacrifice of his son Jesus Christ. When I worked in New York City, I would attend Daily Prayer at a church on Fifth Avenue. It was very fifth Avenue and high church – it advertised itself as Anglo-Catholic – yet the mid-day congregation was the perfect picture of diversity – people ranging from janitors to Wall Street types, of all races, etc. Yet, never once did the priests dwell on or even mention “diversity”. Instead, as the rector once said, they simply “preached Jesus Christ without stammering”. I contrast this with the many main-line churches which boast of their commitment to diversity and celebrating differences yet have the most homogeneous, undiverse congregations.
    As Paul said, we are all made one in Jesus Christ.

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