A Word from Your Crossroads Team: You’re reading the first post in a series of blogs we are sharing on the topic of Celebrating Black History Month. During our series in February, you’ll enjoy posts from Dr. Park, Dr. Ware, Dr. Badal, Dr. Kellemen, Professor Baxter, Dean Schrader, and our Registrar—Dountonia Batts. This series, like everything we do at Crossroads Bible College, is designed to glorify God by training Christian leaders to reach a multiethnic urban world for Christ.
Displaying the Gospel
In thinking about Black History Month, cross-cultural (or multicultural) counseling comes to mind. In a broad sense, remembering the achievements of black Americans harkens us to value the intrinsic worth of all persons.
As we meet people from different ethnic backgrounds, how do we view them? Do we only see external differences? This topic is central in cross-cultural counseling and, more importantly, in displaying the gospel.
Created in the Image of God
In Genesis 1:27, we learn that God created human beings in His image. In theology, we use the term imago Dei, which means “image of God” in Latin. Notice in Genesis 1:27 that God didn’t create certain people in His image. No, all persons are created in God’s image.
Stop for a moment and think about Genesis 1:27. Now, let’s think about our family, friends, co-workers, church members, the cashier, the janitor, and everyone else. According to Genesis 1:27, everyone that we know and see have been created in the image of God.
Practically, Genesis 1:27 fundamentally affects how we view people. We respect people, regardless of their skin color, education, occupation, or income. Respect, by the way, does not mean overlooking sin, but it leaves no room for condescension or mistreatment. If we have trouble respecting someone, we need to meditate on Genesis 1:27 and the gospel.
Being created in God’s image, however, does not mean perfection. As a result of the fall (Genesis 3), we no longer image God perfectly. We have a sinful nature, struggling to love people. We use people for pleasure. We hurt people. We gossip. We love ourselves more than God or others.
The Hope of the Gospel
But, praise be to God for not leaving us without hope. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, who knew no sin, to atone for our sins on the cross (1 Peter 2:22-24). Anyone who repents and trusts Christ as Savior and Lord receives God’s forgiveness and new life. True repentance is evident as we choose to love God and others (Matthew 22:37-39). If we have trouble loving someone, we need to examine our love for God. Sometimes, as Christians, we dangerously simplify the Christian life to be about loving others without remembering its basis—our love for God.
All of these truths are central in cross-cultural counseling and related to the gospel. How can we minister to others well if we do not understand Genesis 1:27? How do we properly diagnose people’s problems without an understanding of sin? How can we give true hope without the message of the cross?
Gospel-Centered Biblical Counseling
Indeed, the gospel changes how I view people and conduct counseling. As I think of black individuals who have made an impact in society, I don’t merely see a black person, but a person created in the image of God. This theological view of persons should make all the difference in how we view and respond to people.
During Black History Month, may we remember the intrinsic worth of all persons as we remember the achievements of black Americans.