For the record I am a white boy. I tend to eat some form of bread with every meal, I enjoy watching ice hockey, and I grew up in a upper-middle class section of suburbia where the most popular slang word was “Bro.” And long ago I vowed that I would never marry a white girl.
I have all sorts of exciting reasons why too! Here, let me tell you some: Mixed-ethnicity babies are probably the cutest creatures on the planet, and even if their parents are less than fortunate looking, they always seem to turn out pretty. There’s also scholarship money! Did you know there are more scholarships available for non-white people than for your average plain old boring Caucasian? There are even specific scholarships for people coming from mixed backgrounds! My beautiful mixed babies can kiss college debt goodbye! Also I love ethnic food; Just imagine getting up in the morning to some fresh homemade dumplings, or how about some delicious curry?! My stomach is starting to growl just thinking about it.
Ok so maybe those are stupid reasons, so let me tell you why I really vowed that I would never marry a white girl. Growing up I heard all sorts of interesting comments about people from other ethnicities. Don’t trust THOSE people. THOSE people are lazy. THOSE people are taking our jobs. THOSE people are like this, that, or the other thing. These comments always bothered me because I always seemed to like THOSE people, and I just didn’t understand why THOSE people were so different from myself. Of course they looked different from me, but so did my little brother, and so did our neighbors and I seemed to like them well enough. Then, at 18 years old I started dating a girl from my English class. Her name was Sherry and she was Filipino.
I loved Sherry’s jet black hair and her soft chestnut skin, and how the slight curve in the corner of each eye made her smile really pop. Her shy, gentle personality acted as a good foil to my more blunt extroverted style and it made sense to me that, as the old adage goes, opposites did in fact attract. But not everyone was as thrilled about my relationship as I was. I would often get asked if I thought that there was something “wrong with white girls,” or if I there really ”wasn’t any nice white women at [my] school.” As if to imply that the only reason I would ever consider dating a Filipino was because I had no better, whiter, option. This bothered me so much, that deep in my heart, I swore that even if my relationship with Sherry didn’t last, I would never marry a white girl.
So why am I telling you all this? Because Christ has shown me how by making this vow, I have perpetuated the same racism that I didn’t understand back when I was just a kid. I allowed a past hurt to affect how I interacted with people, and to justify a choice that had absolutely no foundation in Scripture.
We all carry around different vows. For some its, “I will never make myself vulnerable again,” for others its, “I will never be like my father/mother.” These vows we make to ourselves can have some very real consequences and can hold us back from living Biblically sound, Christ centered lives.
Scripture is clear that Godly character is the yardstick by which I should measure a potential spouse, not skin color. My hope is that this post helps you identify stupid vows you have made in your life, and see what Scripture has to say about them.