Monday, July 16, 2012

Handling Prejudice by Martin Wiles

“I just want to be able to go somewhere ________ people aren’t.” I couldn’t believe what I heard or where I heard it. 

We were holding our monthly deacon’s meeting and discussing a community men’s group our church belonged to. Other partnering churches had decided to make the group multi racial, and our church would host the first meeting. Church leaders were now discussing our future involvement because of the decision.

The statement was prefaced by other racial comments. “I work with ____________ people.” “I eat lunch with ______________ people.” Then the bombshell: “But I want to be able to go somewhere they aren’t.” What made the statement so horrifying was the place they wanted to go without “these people” was church.

Prejudice also reared its ugly head in the first century church. Some of the Jewish race believed Jesus was their Messiah only. You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them (Acts 11:3). Gentiles weren’t invited unless they adopted Jewish practices. Peter even had to defend eating with them. But Peter, Paul and other early apostles preached salvation for all.

The most common definition of prejudice is an irrational suspicion or hatred of a particular group, race, or religion. We all struggle with it; some more than others. But prejudice in every form is sin, offends God and interferes with his work. God loved the world, gave his Son for the world and wants the world to love him and each other.

What prejudices are you dealing with and why? Confess them to God and ask him to help you see all people as worthy of your love so your work for God won’t be jeopardized.

Prayer: God of all humankind, create in us a love for all that would break down self-erected barriers separating us.
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