Saturday, January 20, 2018

Stomping Out Prejudice - Martin Wiles

If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 1 John 4:20 NKJV
The one place he didn’t want them was…the church.
The monthly deacons’ meeting had rolled around to a popular topic: racial relationships. What brought the matter I can’t remember, but I do remember the conversation. The church “policy” was rehashed. If a person of color entered the sanctuary, the pastor was to close the service as quickly as possible.
I scanned each deacon and said, “Well, you will have to find someone else to do it because I won’t.” It was a conviction I was willing to risk my job over.
More discussion followed. One deacon told of how he worked and even ate lunch with black people. Then came the bombshell, “But I want to be able to go one place where they aren’t.”
Church was his getaway. The place that Martin Luther King, Jr., said was the most segregated place at eleven o’clock every Sunday morning.
Although laws have been passed and wars fought, prejudice lives on. And it extends its ugly claws far beyond race. It creeps into the political, cultural, gender, social, economic, ideological, and even religious arenas of life. Sadly, it affects many believers. Those who allow it to re-interpret the above verse and haven’t learned what God taught Peter when he asked him to go to a Gentile’s house: “God has shown me that he doesn’t think anyone is unclean or unfit (Acts 10:28).
Our sinful nature makes all people struggle with areas of prejudice—but it doesn’t make it acceptable. Pride creeps in, making us think we’re better than another person or group.
Examining one’s family history often reveals the root of prejudice feelings. I never fell prey to racial prejudice—though my family of origin did. Perhaps because I lived through the various “rights” movements of the 1960s and 1970s.
Trying to justify feelings of prejudice with remarks such as, “That’s just the way I am,” or “That’s the way my parents were,” won’t rid it from my life or justify it. Confession and repentance are necessary.
God created and loves all people. His word is clear: if I claim to love Him but hate others, I’m a liar. But the good news is that He is capable to ridding my life of prejudicial feelings. All I have to do is ask and be willing to do the hard work.
Give God your feelings of prejudice so your work and witness for Him won’t be hindered.

Prayer: Father, help us to love all people as You love us. 

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