Prejudice


Prejudice is a hot topic in the news these days.  You may be aware of this, dear reader, unless you are completely out of touch with the vast array of news media which is able to bombard anyone and almost everyone with some truth and lots of opinions which are believed to be truth by the opinion-holder.

What is prejudice?  a simple web search led me to the following:

prejudice
[ ˈprejədəs ]
NOUN
noun: prejudice · plural noun: prejudices
  1. preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience:
    "English prejudice against foreigners"
    synonyms: preconceived idea · preconception · prejudgment
  2. law
    harm or injury that results or may result from some action or judgment:
    "prejudice resulting from delay in the institution of the proceedings"
    synonyms: detriment · harm · damage · injury · hurt · loss
VERB
verb: prejudice · third person present: prejudices · past tense: prejudiced · past participle: prejudiced · present participle: prejudicing
  1. give rise to prejudice in (someone); make biased:
    "the statement might prejudice the jury"
    synonyms: bias · influence · sway · predispose · make biased ·
    make partial · color
  2. law
    cause harm to (a state of affairs):
    "delay is likely to prejudice the child's welfare"
    synonyms: damage · be detrimental to · be prejudicial to · injure · harm ·
Powered by OxfordDictionaries · © Oxford University Press

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Whew!

All that begs the question what the cause of prejudice is, and how one can avoid being prejudiced or stop being prejudiced.

The world seems to bet that education is the key to avoiding prejudice.  I believe that it takes a significant act of God to stop prejudice!  I say that because that is what it took in my life to deal with that issue.

It began, as corrections frequently do for me, with reading a verse or two of Christian Scripture:

John 8:31-2  Then Jesus said to the Jews who believed on Him, If you continue in My Word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Gal 3:28  There cannot be Jew nor Greek, there is no slave nor freeman, there is no male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

"The truth shall make you free."  Free from what?  Free from untruth, I suspect!

"Neither Jew nor Greek, Slave nor freeman, no male and female" if one is "in Christ".  Now that also begs a question:  What does it mean to be 'in Christ'?

"The church", being the usual beliefs of Christians in general based on my observations, seems to believe that one is 'in Christ' if one either 'believes in Jesus' or receives Jesus into one's heart.

But the fact that there are so many disagreements and so few agreements among Christians, both individuals and organizations, leads me to believe that believing in Jesus or simply receiving Jesus into one's life is not getting the job of unity and truth done!!

I have come to the conclusion that one must both WANT to know the truth and be set free from untruth, and ask Jesus, Who declared Himself to be "The Way [to God], The Truth, and The Life" in order to BECOME free from untruth and able to discern truth from untruth.

Now, back to the topic of prejudice and how to be set free from prejudice.

Prejudice is preconceived opinions not based on reality [my paraphrase].  Prejudice appears to be the common fault of mankind.  But real Christians are literally CALLED-OUT of the normal frailties of mankind to live a life of purity and holiness by abiding in Jesus and allowing His purity and holiness to prevail over all impurities and unholiness.

So, how does that reality of being transformed from prejudiced one to holy and pure one begin?  For me it began years ago on an occasion when I was just getting ready to vent what I thought was my 'righteous indignation' over a news report of some long-forgotten bad deed by some long-forgotten person - when God intervened.  He simply spoke to my heart and said, "Are you sure that you are right?"

God has a way of arresting a person in mid-indignation with one short question.  By that time in my life I had learned that God does not ask questions to get a 'yes' or 'no' answer.  He does so to probe the heart of the person He addresses.  So I stopped my rant and thought about that question.  I occurred to me that I was probably not right - due to the fact that God had taken the time to interrupt my rant.  So I lamely said, "No, Lord."  He then asked the next obvious question:  "So, why then are you ranting?" 

I realized that it was because I had jumped to conclusions about all of the facts of this news report, accepted them as true, and had joined in the prejudices of the news report as if the Righteous Judge of the Universe had written the news article.  I was stunned at the quickness of my unwarranted assumptions and premature judgments!

So I asked God to forgive me for my obvious sin and to cleanse me from my unrighteousness so that I would not enter into that temptation again.  I cannot say that I have successfully avoided such sins since that time, but I have become keenly aware of my and our inclination to pre-judge people and situations based on mere speculation or past experience without really knowing the truth about the situation at hand.  I have also learned to ask God - Who DOES know all the pertinent facts - what, if anything, I should do about any situation which arises, and to keep me back from making prejudicial decisions.

IMPORTANT!:  I have also learned that we can eliminate distinctions between Jew and Gentile, rich and poor, slave and free, and all other classifications of people by simply recognizing everyone as a precious soul for whom Jesus Christ died to save and sanctify in the truth!!

I hereby invite the rest of God's creation to do the same as I have done by virtue of His amazing grace and mercy as the Righteous Judge and King of all creation.

-Rob