The Perils of Prejudice
WINNING WITH THE WORD
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Back in the late sixties, I applied for a teaching job in a large midwestern city. I had just earned my Master’s degree in my subject matter from a prestigious college and was eminently qualified for the position. Imagine my shock when, instead of being considered for the job, the superintendent of the school district told me to “go back to my own people.”
To say I was speechless would be an understatement. Never before had I experienced prejudice, and prejudice simply because of my ethnicity. (For those of you who don’t know, I am of Italian descent). Moreover, little did I know back then that I would have had legal recourse in the matter because of the then recently passed Civil Rights Act of 1964 that made employment discrimination illegal. But, as the saying goes, we get too soon old and too late smart.
The sting of the superintendent’s prejudicial slur dug deep. Yes, I forgave him from my heart, but the scar of his hurtful words remained. Instead of making me bitter, however, his words deepened my compassion for those who suffer prejudice of any kind. For the first time, I knew what prejudice felt like.
So, what exactly is prejudice? Noah Webster in his classic 1828 dictionary defines prejudice as follows: “Prejudgment; an opinion or decision of mind, formed without due examination of the facts or arguments which are necessary to a just and impartial determination.” The current edition of Webster’s dictionary defines prejudice as “an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge.” When we think or act with prejudice, we are doing so without just cause and without logical reason. We are forming a preconceived opinion about someone, an opinion that has no basis in logic or experience.
Sadly, prejudice still exists today and, sadly, it will always exist until the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Until that glorious day, we will have to deal with prejudice, whether it’s the prejudice of others toward us, or our own prejudice toward others. So, in this podcast, I would like to offer some logical reasons that prove that prejudice is not only a sin but that it is also counter-productive and counter-intuitive. In the process, we will learn ways to deal with prejudice in a manner that glorifies God and respects others.
First, some logical reasons that render prejudice illogical, foolish, and sinful:
Reason #1: All people ultimately descend from Adam and Eve and from Noah after the Flood. Since we share the same original parents, we are all in the same human family. In Acts 17: 26 NET, the Bible says this: “From one man he [God] made every nation of the human race to inhabit the entire earth, determining their set times and the fixed limits of the places where they would live.”
Reason #3: God Himself is opposed to prejudice against others. In Deuteronomy 10: 17, the Bible says: “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe.” Unlike God, a prejudiced person is partial. He treats people based on his own evaluation of them, an evaluation that is inaccurate and certainly incomplete. Only God knows what a person is truly like. Only God can read the human heart. When we attempt to do so, we are sinning against God and against the person toward whom we bear prejudice.
Characteristics of Prejudice
Prejudice is proud. It believes that one is better than someone else. Yet, in Philippians 2: 3, we are commanded to esteem others better than ourselves.
Prejudice is disobedience against our Lord’s command in Matthew 7: 12 to treat others as we want to be treated. Moreover, if we say we love God but do not love those whom He created, then we are liars.
Finally, prejudice is subtle. We need to examine our own hearts to determine if we hold any prejudice toward others. If we do, we need to repent and ask God to forgive us and cleanse us.
Determine today that you will treat every human being with the love and respect that he or she deserves as a creation of God. Treat every person with the same love and respect that you want to receive from others. If each of us will commit to eliminating prejudice from our own lives, we will eliminate it from the world-at-large and make that world a far better place.
Prejudice stems from wrong perceptions and lies we have heard throughout our lives. The only way we can get rid of those lies is by allowing Jesus Christ to set us free from those lies. If you have never invited Jesus into your life to save you, do it now. Pray this simple prayer with me:
Lord Jesus, I need You to help me recognize the lies I have believed about other people, lies that have caused me to act with prejudice toward them. I ask You to forgive me. Come into my life now, set me free from all lies, and make me what You created me to be. Amen.
If you prayed this simple prayer, please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would like to send you a little booklet that will help you get started in your relationship with Jesus Christ. I also encourage you to get yourself a Bible and read it every day, starting in the Gospel of John, which is in the second half of the Bible. Finally, ask the Lord to lead you to the church of His choice for you where you can learn about and find fellowship and encouragement with other Christ-Followers.
As a special resource this month, you may be interested in my latest novel, In Black and White, a powerful love story between a white woman and a black man and about the power of God’s love to restore all that is broken in our lives. In Black and White is available both in print format and ebook format at your choice of vendor. To purchase your copy, visit my website at maryanndiorio.com/book-table. Or you can simply go to my website at maryanndiorio.com and click on the tab marked “Store” in the menu at the very top of the page.
For additional resources, articles, books, and podcasts to help you grow in your walk with Christ, I invite you to visit my website at maryanndiorio.com. This podcast is found on Apple Podcasts, Spreaker, iHeart Radio, Spotify, Soundcloud, Castbox, and Deezer, so I encourage you to subscribe.
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In closing, I would like to recognize, honor, and thank this week’s sponsor of Winning with the Word, my newest patron, Karon Bekebrede. Thank you, Karon, for your generous support of this ministry. You are touching lives all over the world for Jesus.
And to all of you out there, thank you so much for listening. This is Dr. MaryAnn Diorio, your virtual life coach, reminding you that God loves you just as you are and just where you are, and that He will help you to keep on winning with the Word.
Source cited: “How Did Different Skin Colors Come About?” https://christiananswers.net/q-aig/race-skincolor.html
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