Not Just Another...
Racism seems to go in cycles.
There are times when we think, "Finally, we are past
that!" and then some well-known somebody says something
racist and everyone's feathers are ruffled all over again.
I saw in the news last week where a talk show host made
a comment about a quarterback of a race different from his
own that stirred up a lot of talk. Politicians play the
race card, perhaps more frequently than anyone.
We hear racial comments in
the media, at work, at school, on the highways, in the gym,
and in restaurants. Anywhere people gather there is the
potential of racial slurs.
Among the most controversial
among believers in recent years was related to some White
House tapes that were made public on which Richard Nixon
and Billy Graham in the Oval Office could be heard speaking
badly about Jews. The Christian community was shocked. And
most of us are quick to point the judgmental finger at those
who make such comments, but how are you doing in this area;
how am I doing?
Since God is colorblind and
expects us to be as well, we must realize that racism is
not just another black and white issue. Racism is something
God takes seriously. Prejudice. Discrimination. Segregation.
Racism. Our society cries out against such offenses - and
> Prejudice judges a man's character
by his outward appearance.
> Discrimination deprives a person
of the right to have.
> Segregation deprives a person
of the right to belong.
> Stereotyping deprives a person
of the right to be.
> Racism deprives a person of
his inalienable rights.
It seems ironic that the worst
differences between races are exaggerated when people are
labeled "black and white." Those very terms themselves
begin to polarize our thinking between two extremes, rather
than emphasizing the closeness of the two. Some are intent
on emphasizing the differences in people when we should
instead focus on the similarities.
Stereotypes lead to Prejudice.
Stereotyping is a lazy way of lumping together all of those
who come from a certain class, or occupation, or race, and
attributing to each individual the same characteristics
of the group. Although something may generally be true of
a group, it is not necessarily true of each person in the
Such stereotypes as, "Teenagers are all rebellious,"
"All lawyers are crooks," "All men are pigs,"
or "All women are temperamental" do not demonstrate
carefully calculated observations. Rather they show a laziness
of judgment, a blind acceptance of some generalization as
being the rule when, in fact, it is not.
Those of us who judge according to outward appearance are
not wise because we are not seeing people the way God sees
them. In 1 Samuel 16:7, the Bible reads: "For the Lord
does not see as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance,
but the Lord looks on the heart."
We can learn a lot from this
passage. The context is referring to the time when Samuel
was led of God to go to Jesse's house in Bethlehem to anoint
the next king of Israel. He greeted them, announced that
he was going to offer a sacrifice to the Lord, consecrated
Jesse and his sons, and invited them to the sacrifice.
Verse 6 says, "When
they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, "Surely
the Lord's anointed stands here before me." He had
no sooner arrived than he already began judging Eliab on
his outward appearance alone and all but chosen him as God's
anointed. That's when God spoke to him and said, "For
the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks on the
outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart."
And aren't we glad He does.
Prejudice is a horrible thing.
It affects many different areas of our lives. Next time
we'll think about racial prejudice, but before we do, think
with me first of all about some characteristics of prejudice
Is Ugly. It divides, isolates, and ostracizes people.
Prejudice is the mark of an ignorant mind that perceives
itself to be enlightened. Prejudice thinks it understands
persons or actions before acquiring any actual first-hand
knowledge, or before consulting all the facts. Prejudice
has its roots in ignorance, and leads to further ignorance.
Is Blind. After Jesus healed a man who was born blind,
and witnessed that man's faith, He pointedly identified
the Pharisee's prejudice, "And Jesus said, 'For judgment
I have come into this world, that those who do not see may
see, and those who do see may be made blind.' Then some
of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words and
said to Him, 'Are we blind also?' Jesus said to them, 'If
you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say,
"We see." Therefore your sin remains.'" (John
Seeing with your heart and
seeing with your eyes are two different things. Jesus was
saying here that because the Pharisees saw with their eyes
and not with their hearts, they were really blind. Their
prejudice blinded them to the truth and so their whole world
was colored with sin. For that reason, they saw nothing
During the years of Archie
Bunker running the world from his recliner, he once engaged
in a debate with his neighbor about the color of Jesus'
skin. Bunker's neighbor was none other than the equally
opinionated but racially different George Jefferson. As
they debated the issue of Jesus' color, Bunker referred
to Warner Sallman's picture of Christ. He told Jefferson,
"Jesus is white." Jefferson countered, "How
do you know?" Bunker declared, "I saw the picture."
Jefferson then diffused Archie's logic with a little twisted
rationale of his own. He told his neighbor, "Maybe
you saw the negative."
Whenever we look with eyes
of prejudice, we would do well to remember this televised
debate and recognize we don't always see as clearly as we
sometimes think we do.
Is A Perception Problem. W. C. Fields said, "I
am free of all prejudice. I hate everyone equally."
That is not the goal of this message today. The goal of
this message is to free you from all prejudice, but not
to cause you to do so by hating everyone equally.
Prejudice is defined as "unfavorable
judgment due to partiality." Likewise, prejudice is
never neutral. It reacts strongly either for or against
someone or something without knowing the facts. Sometimes
it is confused with conviction, but, my friend, conviction
is noble. There is nothing noble about prejudice.
Before reading the next article
in this series, ask God to begin now searching your heart
and to start the process of revelation: revealing the width,
breadth, height, and depth of your prejudice, if any. And
then work in cooperation with Him to begin rooting it out
of your soul. He is more than willing to help.
Copyright © 2010-2012.
Faith Matters by Dr. Ken Lovelace. All rights reserved.