Sometimes it’s good to look back. If anything, to remind yourself that God does not make mistakes.
When I was five, I remember sitting quietly in the bathtub as my mother ran to get a towel. I caressed my soft arm and studied the mocha color that reflected back at me. Silently, I grabbed the washcloth that was sitting in the murky water, and slowly began to scrub away at my arm. “Surely this color can come off,” I thought to myself. But to my dismay the mocha only turned a brownish red.
This was the beginning of a long journey. Through elementary school, middle school and high school, I struggled to see my identity, significance and value; in large part, but not limited to, the color of my skin. Although rarely spoken, my brown skin felt like an unfortunate mistake that God made while He created me. God’s alleged mistake seemed to me an unlucky liability.
Like many teenagers, I wanted desperately to fit in. My desire to quietly walk through life unnoticed seemed impossible as my blackness stood out impeccably in a sea of white that was my classroom and extra curricular activities. I hate the reality of the matter, but I carried on my shoulders much shame for my heritage. I often went to bed wondering why I was the offspring of an ostracized and splintered people who did much to build this nation (literally and figuratively) but received so little credit. I was contented to hide quietly behind a wall of complacency.
I’ve later realized that I was never created to hide behind the walls of mediocrity or complacency. I was created to reflect the beauty of my Maker. We were created to reflect the grandeur of the King. My inability to look at myself and see something more was in direct correlation with my inability to understand that I am created in the image of God. By the very nature of my human existence, I am endowed with dignity because God created me in His image.
The same is true for every human; for every human is a fellow image bearer of God. This means, every person you see today— in the grocery store, at your job, in the class room, running past you on the sidewalk, in the car— is a fellow image bearer of God and has intrinsic significance, dignity and identity. Perhaps if we viewed our fellow mankind in such a way, it would transform our relationships; and if it transformed our relationships, it could transform the world.
SharDavia Bell graduated from Radford University in 2011 with a Bachelor’s Degree in English. She now lives in Lynchburg, VA where she works full-time with Campus Outreach, a college ministry that is passionate about “glorifying God by building laborers on the campus for the lost world”.