“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” – Audre Lorde
Most of us would like to believe that discrimination and prejudice ended in the 60’s. It is difficult to believe that prejudices have any place in modern America. But the truth is, we are a long way from being free from prejudice, and we need to face any prejudices we have because it has no place in Christianity.
While there are many kinds of prejudice, the one that comes to mind is racial prejudice. If you are white, you may never totally understand what it feels like to be treated prejudicially simply because your skin is not white. Even so, as Christians, we have the personal obligation to root out any prejudices toward other races, and to work toward understanding and relating to everyone regardless of any differences.
Jesus made a point of ignoring the racial prejudices of His day and teaching His disciples to do the same. For example, when He chose to talk to the Samaritan woman at the well, He shocked the disciples because Jews hated Samaritans and considered them to be second-class citizens. A Jew never talked to a Samaritan unless they had to, but Jesus chose not only to talk to this Samaritan woman, but to reveal great and marvelous truths to her and lead her to become His follower. And then there is the story of the Good Samaritan who helped the wounded person. To the Jews of his day, it was a message loud and clear against prejudice.
God wants us to see people as individuals, created and loved by Him, of equal importance and value. We must, by His grace, root out the prejudice within us so that we can show the world what God’s love is like. This is especially important within the church, and I pray that we will get serious about facing our own prejudices and asking God to forgive us and teach us to see others as He sees them. That’s the secret—looking at the world through the eyes of Jesus. Because we are prone to judge others according to outward characteristics, rather than to accept them as individual human beings on an equal par with us.
Here’s a radical prayer request: Ask God to show you your prejudices. When He does, obey Him by putting your prejudices to death and by showing His love to those whom you might not naturally be inclined to like.
- Do you have fears or reactions based on prejudicial stereotypes?
- Consider talking to people of another race and ask them what it’s like to experience racial prejudice.
- Ask God to show you where you have prejudicial attitudes.