A call to love and respect all people
We often hear about how far we have come in our political correctness, and this may be true in some areas, but when it comes to prejudice, I am sorry to say, we still have a long way to go. Each week, I have the privilege to associate with people of different ages, ethnic backgrounds, and religious preferences and sadly I must admit that in many cases, it usually does not take long before I notice subtle hints of prejudice.
We realize the older generation absorbed much derogatory sarcasm from their elders and though it is no excuse, it has not really been that long ago when much of our society accepted an arrogant attitude of superiority.
This is no longer a controversial subject as we can now agree it is wrong and there is no place for it within our culture. One definition of prejudice is: “unreasonable feelings, opinions or attitudes especially of a hostile nature, regarding an ethnic, racial, social or religious group.” We can also include words like, preconception and bias but where does this come from? It originates from the dark-side.
We know it’s not a part of God’s character because in the second chapter of James, Galatians chapter three and Matthew chapter seven we read where God does not approve when people believe they are better than others.
I remember as a young boy, hearing negative references about people of different nationalities and I am shocked there is still an abundant amount of hostility around today. Instead of blaming the older generation, we should simply remember that children are always listening and watching what all adults are saying and doing. It is very natural for the worldviews of the parents to be passed down into the belief systems of their offspring and when they grow up, these concepts are deep-rooted and difficult to remove.
Children typically trust their elders and are not only convinced they know the truth about such things but are committed to carry on these traditions. This is why it’s so important to teach God’s unconditional love along with the serious responsibility to demonstrate it. It is also common to assume those who go to church are not prejudice, but that is not always the case as church does not exclude sinners.
Prejudice is a sin problem and the only way it can be destroyed is to allow God’s love to take its place. Just because people seem to be religious does not mean they are a follower of Jesus as I have worked with individuals that were respected church leaders and have been shocked to hear their personal opinions about bigotry and discrimination.
I recently read a testimony about a thirteen-year-old boy that was excited about going to a comic book shop but was a little hesitant because he was black and the store was located in a section of town that everyone knew was designated to the white working class. It was 1982, and he had just stepped off the public transportation bus and started walking toward the store when a white man pulled over his car and yelled for him to leave the neighborhood.
He remembers the man screaming about how if he was to ever walk around in a black neighborhood, he would be attacked and so on. The young boy looked back in fear to see the man getting out of his car and running toward him with something in his hand but luckily other people were watching and the man turned around and quietly went back to his car.
Occurrences such as these are sickening and remind us that hatred is an infection of the soul and that people are not always the way they seem. Spiritual love is color blind and will always declare equality.
As followers of Christ we are called to reflect His compassion and respect everyone the way He does. “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons” Acts 10:34.
Dr. Billy Holland lives in Central Kentucky with his wife Cheryl, where he is a Christian outreach minister/chaplain. Look for his faith column appearing bi-weekly in your Bossier Press-Tribune. To learn more visit: billyhollandministries.com