White privilege

Hydrangeas are often white. Lily of the valley is lily white. “Joan Senior” is a white daylily.

These are few privileged whites that reside in my garden, but very few white flowers make the cut. I prefer color.

I wish I could say, “Life is too short to associate with people who do not like me,” but the fact is, I do have to rub shoulders with people who think me inferior to them. Most of us do.

It’s not like the garden, where I can pick and choose the color scheme. Or the height scheme, or the whatever-type-I-like scheme. At work and at schools all over the world, all kinds of people are thrown in with others, and they don’t always make it easy for some of us.

Whether because of income, gender, education, or even my religious beliefs, there are those who have openly looked down at my perceived lower status and rejected me.

I may have rejected white petunias from living in my garden, and that is my right. Others have embraced white flowers because they look so amazing in the moonlight.

The thing is, flowers don’t matter. People do!

What we must not do is reject or accept people on the basis of superficial things like color or age or social status.

But the world is never going to live up to the ideal outlined in God’s word. Sometimes, even the church fails to do that.

What is a Christian to do? What happens when you are rejected because of your stature, or your eye color, or the amount of children you have?

“If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18, NKJV).

Some things clearly don’t depend on us. When we are treated unfairly for whatever reason, it is not always in our power to make things right.

King David was acutely aware of the unfair way he was treated by King Saul. Yet, when it was in his power to exact revenge, he chose instead to extend mercy, and attempted to reason with Saul that there was no cause for enmity (1 Samuel 24:1-15).

Are some of us privileged for reasons we have not earned? Possibly. Are some of us wronged unjustly? Definitely. Will these situations ever stop before we reach heaven’s gates? Of course not.

Two years ago, a friend gave me a new iris that she thought I would like. When this iris bloomed, it turned out that “Eternal Bliss” was white! I must say I was disappointed. But then it bloomed again in the fall, with a sweet fragrance that was very welcome in the season that is usually marked by death and decay.

I was instantly sorry that I had pre-judged the worthiness of this magnificent flower before I knew much about it.

To those who may have been born into any type of privilege, God tells you to share with those who have less (Luke 3:11).

To those who are downtrodden and treated unjustly, remember God is your champion.

“But You have seen, for You observe trouble and grief,
To repay it by Your hand.
The helpless commits himself to You;
You are the helper of the fatherless” (Psalm 10:14).

He gives the final victory to those who are faithful (1 Corinthians 15:54). That victory is the one that matters for all eternity.

May we never get so caught up in the battles here and now that we miss the final victory!

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Christine (Tina) Berglund

Christine lives in middle Tennessee with her husband Gary, a.k.a. "The Yard Boy." They have served churches in eight states where Gary has preached full-time most of their married lives. The children have flown the nest, but they "baby" their plants now, and even get to visit grandchildren once in a while.

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