A couple weeks ago I attended InterVarsity’s National Multi-Ethnic Staff Conference, which was such a privilege since out of 280 staff there, only 80 of us were white. I hope to make a few posts about things that I learned there, and this first one is about God dealing with my shame and “white guilt.” The more I was around my brothers and sisters of other races, the more I felt like I had not done enough as a white man and the more I realized how fearful I was around the black male staff members (fearful of being rejected by them). One night during worship, God was speaking to me that I had taken on the name of Shame – it had become an identity for me, and that I needed a new name. We had the chance to pray with a prayer team member during that service, and when we prayed, I felt like God said my new name was Chosen.
I am still seeking Him about the depth of what that means, but I think that it does begin to get to the root of shame that I have. To be chosen is to be significant. To be chosen is to be wanted. To be chosen is to have purpose. God has created and chosen me as a white man, exactly as I am, to be used in building His kingdom. My desire to be significant drives so much of what I do, and this new name is a reminder that my significance is found in Christ alone.
On Monday I took a day of retreat with the Lord (one of the perks of my job), and I read over Deuteronomy 7:6-9. In it, the Lord reminds Israel that He has chosen them as His treasured possession, and that He set His affections on them not because they were the biggest, greatest nation, but because He loved them and kept His oath to them.
God does not love me because I am chosen. I am chosen because He loves me. That may seem like semantics, but it was huge to me. I (we) am pre-loved, and thus Chosen.