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A Rose By Any Other Name

by Pastor Steven Rowitt

Most people can remember this quote from the pen of the Bard of Avon, William Shakespeare (1564-1616). It is from his famous play about those ill-fated lovers Romeo and Juliette. The quote, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” comes from the lips Juliette as she speaks lovingly to her boyfriend Romeo.

The background for this clandestine meeting is the antipathy that exists between their two families, the house of Montague and the house of Capulet. Juliette’s plea is based upon a larger truth, that Romeo, although from a different family, is still her beloved. Even if he had a different name, he would still be the desire of her heart.

Shakespeare was simply stating the obvious, e.g. that no matter what the variety of rose, they would retain their characteristic beauty and aroma. Simply stated, unless interfered with by genetic manipulation, roses produce roses, spiders produce spiders and humans produce humans. Several centuries later, Louis Pasteur would take these observations and organize them into what is now called the Law of Biogenesis. This law can be summarized by the phrase, “omne vivum ex vivo,” Latin for, “all life [is] from life.”

Human beings are afflicted with the sin of pride. They usually see others who are not culturally and racially like them as something to be distrusted, feared or even abhorred. We typically end up bonding with others who are similar to us. This can be demonstrated in the microcosm of the penitentiary where people usually split up into racial groups, e.g. whites, blacks, Hispanics, etc. In some neighborhoods that are racially homogeneous, these surrogate families are comprised of younger people from broken and/or dysfunctional homes. Their gang affiliation is delineated by their proximity to one another, e.g. their geographical location defined by neighborhood streets, as well as racial and ethnic differences.

God is an equal opportunity Savior, and all people belong to one race, e.g. the human race. The apostle Paul wrote to the body of believers in Rome, For God does not show favoritism, Rom. 2:11, and the Apostle Peter declared, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism, but accepts men from every nation that fear Him and do what is right,” Acts 10:34-35.

The Bible is always true. Paul could not have known the medical intricacies of immunohematology (blood banking), yet he declared, “That God made men of all one blood,” Acts 17:26. Paul had no knowledge of the ABO and Rh (Rhesus) blood systems. He could not have suspected we presently recognize 30 distinct blood group systems, e.g. MNS, Kell, Lewis, Diego, etc. Yet some combination of the primary blood groups, ABO, and Rh factor, appear in every human being on the planet. There is not one racial group that is always AB negative or O positive. We are truly one blood, regardless of what the world, the flesh and the Devil have to say about it. We are all related to one another and the minor superficial differences, whether it is extra fat in the upper eyelid that characterizes the Orientals from other non-Oriental races or the differing concentrations of the brown skin pigment melanin that produce variations in skin color, all people are cut from the same cloth and all are created equal in the image their Creator. We are all children of Adam and Eve, all descendants of Noah and his family.

When I worked in the clinical laboratory, we did not divide our blood supply by racial designation. We understood that race was not a factor in blood bank compatibility testing. While certain groups might be more apt to develop certain antibodies, we never took race into account when we typed and cross-matched a person for transfusion.

A rose by any other name is still a rose. God has ordained this and genetically encoded the DNA of living organisms to reproduce according to their own kind, Gen.1:12, 21, 24-25. If you want to understand the truth concerning the subject of racism, look no further than God’s Word. This is the consistent message of the Bible. As the Job proclaimed thousands of years ago:

18 Is it fitting to say to a king, ‘You are worthless,’
And to nobles, ‘You are wicked’?
19 Yet He is not partial to princes,
Nor does He regard the rich more than the poor;
For they are all the work of His hands.
20 In a moment they die, in the middle of the night;
The people are shaken and pass away;
The mighty are taken away without a hand.

Job 34:18-20.

Once you have experienced God’s grace and the knowledge of His Word concerning His impartial love as demonstrated in the sacrifice of His Son, the Messiah, should we not see others through our heavenly Father’s eyes? After all, we are all His good works in progress. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them, Eph. 2:10. Every one of us has been adopted into God’s kingdom through the blood of the Lamb. This truly makes us one family, one blood.

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