Thursday, September 24, 2015

God's View of Prejudice

Chuckle: A child's comment on the Bible: "Samson slayed the Philistines with the axe of the apostles."
Quote: "Prejudice is never easy unless it can pass itself off as reason." --William Hazlitt
"The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, 'You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink'" (John 4:9 NLT).
Back before his horrible lapse into immoral conduct, I watched an interview with Tiger Woods and his mother on 60 Minutes. In that interview, the greatest golfer in the world revealed the prejudices and rejection he had to overcome as he broke into the ranks of professional golf. You could see the pain and sadness in his eyes and those of his mother as they discussed such a deeply personal and difficult subject. It reminded me that each of us can become blinded to the value of people by our own prejudices.
The word "prejudice" has several shades of meaning, but the dictionary says: "Prejudice is an opinion formed without knowing the facts or by ignoring the facts; an unfair or unreasonable opinion; a dislike or distrust of people just because they are of another race, religion, country, etc." It means to prejudge another person based on some set of preconceived notions in our value systems.
Many of us grew up in a day when prejudice was commonplace in our society, and for many it is still so today. Without God's help we can become victims of our prejudices, hatreds, and biases to the point that we are blinded spiritually and cannot see people as God sees them. Intellectually, we all know that every person on earth is of equal value in the eyes of God, but often our words and actions say otherwise.
The setting for our passage reflects the fact that intermarriage between foreigners and Jews had produced a mixed race known as Samaritans. Thus, the "pure" Jews hated this mixed race and viewed the Samaritans as impure and outcasts. The actions of Jesus were offensive to the Jews, but, not only did Jesus die for the sins of all people, Jesus set the example for us in overcoming prejudices in our daily lives when he reached out to the Samaritan woman across lines of blind and radical prejudice and racial hatred. He demonstrated that the Good News is for all people regardless of race, social position, or past sins.
Let's pray that God will give us pure, loving, and accepting hearts toward others who may not look like us, act like us, talk like us, or adopt our set of values. Let's remember that all people are equally precious in God's sight
Love, Jerry & Dotse.


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