I want to talk about a very sensitive subject today – PREJUDICE. I am talking about the very real and in-your-face kind that we all have learned to cover up (some better than others).
Some of you may know that I have relatives that live in Germany. I love the country and the people there so much and my heart cries out to be there. That is until I heard about the upheaval that is taking place with the refugees flooding in. (Don’t worry, this is not going to be too political.)
I, like many of you, have heard about the atrocities that have taken place in some of the larger cities, not only in Belgium and France, but in my mother-country of Germany. A few months back there was an incident in the Town of Köln where a group of women were attacked by a group of Muslim men. Sad. Tragic. That was the day I questioned whether or not I really wanted to go back – even to visit. That was that time I prayed a little harder and longer for the safety of my numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and their children and grandchildren. (There are a LOT of them.)
I “chat” regularly with a cousin in Germany whom I have gotten close to since my visit there four years ago. His mother, my aunt, ministers regularly to the less fortunate of their community. Her heart is so soft and goes out to the downtrodden of the world. She counts it an honor to be able to serve. (One of the most godly women I know.) Here’s the rub – she is very conflicted at times because, although she hears about the refugees running for their lives, she also hears about, and sometimes sees, the terrible things that the refugees do. But instead of allowing her fears to hinder her, she continues her work, serving all she can, including refugees.
Remember the cousin I just referenced? He is a sweet, honest, and loving man who follows in his mother’s footsteps. But what he does is stay active in his church. Yesterday we got to talking after church (Germany-time) and I asked him how it was. He started talking about the fact that next Sunday they were going to baptize a few of the refugees that had been going to their church. The FIRST THING I thought of was “Wow, it must be really difficult for a person to become Christian after being Muslim.” Well, my cousin commenced to set me straight. Apparently there are MANY refugees from Iraq and Afghanistan who are, in fact, Christian and that is the main reason they are fleeing their country. My cousin even showed me pictures of a few refugees having dinner with his family after church. The joy I saw on their faces brought me to a revelation:
I am prejudice.
You see, we might not each have the same life experiences, but we each have someone or a group of someones that we are prone to look down upon. It could be a group of people whose intent is to harm and kill others. It could be a group of people who seem to know how to manipulate the system in order to get just what they want without having to do anything for it. It could be a tyrannical leader who smiles and makes nice while at the same time makes his people suffer. It could be an ex-spouse who has betrayed us and makes our life as miserable as they possibly can.
You see, prejudices turn into hate, and we don’t even realize it sometimes. And that is a scary thing. Because as much as we want to justify our behavior as “righteous indignation”, we must be very careful. There is a fine line between that and “love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you.” Jesus knew that very well. He prayed for the very ones who hung Him on the cross. He loved those who were of a different race. He reached out to those who were ostracized for their actions.
Do I think it is right to have prejudices? No – of course not!
Do I think it is right that a group of people think it is okay to harm and kill another group of people? No – of course not!
But the bottom line is we are commanded by the Lord himself to love and pray for those people. The people – NOT the actions!!!
Dare I go so far as to say….“When we have prejudices we are focusing on actions; whereas, when we have love, we are focusing on the person.”
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there be any hurtful way in me and lead me in the everlasting way.” Psalm 139:23-24.
Let us all, in our small little circle, come to realize that the Lord sees things differently than we do, and perhaps the circumstances we look at and are possibly in the middle of, are in fact handled from out carnal side and are not heavenly at all.
Could you maybe post in the comments a prayer that you might be praying? I am sure we can all be encouraged, just knowing that we all struggle in this area.