After the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr, a 3rd grade school teacher came up with a learning exercise to teach her students about racism, bigotry and discrimination in an all white town, in rural Iowa. She told them that they would struggle to understand racism, bigotry and discrimination without experiencing it for themselves. She had the class according to eye colour instead of skin colour.
At the start she announced that the brown-eyed students were superior to the blue-eyed students. Next, they were moved to the front of the classroom, with extra privileges thrown in such as favourable treatment from the teachers. The blue-eyed students were provided special collars to wear so they could be easily identified as the minority, inferior group. The groups were not allowed to mix. They could not drink from the same water fountain. The following day, she had the groups switch roles but the results were the same.
On the occasion when students wore the collars as signs of their inferiority, they described feelings of sadness. Their academic performance was affected. For instance, when the blue-eyed students wore the collars, they needed 5.5 minutes to complete a reading exercise. When the role was reversed in which they played the role of the superior students, the reading exercise was completed in 2.5 minutes. This exercise revealed two extraordinary things: firstly the students were living according to their declared identity. Secondly, the identity they assumed impacted their thoughts, attitude and behaviour!
Is it any wonder then that our identity is important to God? He knows us and calls us by name but sin tarnished and marred our sense of who we are as made in God’s image. Sin has not only disconnected us from God and others but also from ourselves. God graciously intervened to give us new life and part of that new life is rediscovering the person He created us to be! Through the process of sanctification, God by His Spirit works deeply in us to help us lose our false selves and become more and more our true selves, His masterpiece (Eph 2:10).
C.S. Lewis in ‘Mere Christianity’ wrote, “Giving ourselves wholly to Christ is the only way to…become who Christ means us to be, the only way to experience his riches in this life and the only way to fulfill the purpose for which he made us. It may seem frightening, but once you do it, your only regret will be that you didn’t do it sooner”.
Have a fruitful and thriving week!