July 15, 2020by Reverend Dan on July 15, 2020
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Lately we have had to once again add the phrase “neither black nor white” as a reminder to our society of how God calls us to live. We are still fighting a war that ended 155 years ago. The very fact that we have to remind folks that we are all created equal and all equal heirs of God’s grace tells us we have a long way to go. And I think the biggest problem is that we all recognize that racism and prejudice is a problem; we just don’t think it’s a problem with us. And therein lies the real problem.
Racism takes so many forms and yet we narrow it down to make sure the definition doesn’t include us personally. My favorite expression of racism is, “I have black friends”. No, if you’re not a racist you have friends. You don’t have to qualify their color. How often do you feel the need to identify your friends as short or tall or fat or skinny or beautiful or ugly or young or old? But when it comes to people of other cultures, we feel the need to use their ethnicity as an identifying marker. What’s wrong with a simple, “I have a friend”.
We need to broaden our definition of prejudice and realize it is still rampant in our society. “Prejudice” comes from the two words “pre” and “judge”. We “prejudge” someone simply because of skin color or religion or dress or what we were told about one race or another when we were young. Then these stereotypes are passed down from generation to generation. Someone once said, “Prejudice is a great timesaver because it enables you to form an opinion without bothering to get the facts”. Sadly, that’s still true today.
Take a look at this list. See if you’ve ever used one of these phrases or thoughts and in the process judged someone else.
- “They’re just poor white trash.” (Yes, you can be racists against another part of your own race.)
- “I’m looking for a house in a white neighborhood.”
- “Look at that towel-head.”
- “Look at the way they dress and the car they drive . . . snooty.”
- “Look at the way they dress and the car they drive . . . thugs.”
- “You want to work at McDonald’s the rest of your life?”
All of these judge someone based on nothing other than a stereotype and a prejudice. The roots of racism and prejudice run deeper than mass shootings or a few corrupt police or a lack of education. The roots run as deep as the human heart itself. Racism and prejudice are not an American problem, they’re not a white problem, they’re not a black problem, they’re not a class problem. They are a HEART problem. It’s a sin problem.
It’s like those old carnival mirrors that when you look into them, your face and body are all distorted. The mirror affects the way you see yourself and the way you see others. That’s what sin does. It distorts the view you have of yourself and the view you have of others. And therein lies the problem. We judge by what we see. “But so does God, preacher.” Yea, but the difference is that we see the outside; God sees the heart.
2 Chronicles 19:7 “With the Lord our God there is no injustice or partiality.”
God doesn’t play favorites. We shouldn’t either.
“Father, Open our eyes and our hearts. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.”