How do you feel when someone judges you? Worse yet misjudges you? One of the keys to success in life is to live the life God has planned for YOU, to be yourself, and not someone else! Yet, because of ignorance and arrogance of others, people often spend their lives trying to be someone or some thing else, wishing they had someone else’s looks, family, job, or abilities instead of their own. When prejudice rears its ugly head, and you are the recipient, I am certain you will agree it can be a very confusing and even painful experience. An experience that is not easy for anyone to endure.
This is one of, if not the most wicked, method that Satan uses to bring death and destruction to an already broken world. Let us look at what prejudice is how it develops and is then cultivated in our lives. I am not attempting to help you realize “IF” you are, or are not, prejudiced this post is intended to help you understand how prejudice you are. First, every one of us is prejudice. We are all born into a cultural bias we all grow up in a family, in culture, in a language, where you look at life through a lens that came from parents, and grandparents, and where you came from, and the part of the country, or the part of the world. This is where your bias is formed and cultivated.
Apart from interaction outside our individual groups, we grow up assuming our view accurately defines everyone’s reality. When you are a child and do not know any better without understanding, and you are repeatedly told, This or that is what’s true about a particular group of people be it good or bad. Those things are implanted into your mind. You assume unless you get outside your world, your group, and your box, that your view is in alignment with everyone’s reality.
There have been generations of socialization and indoctrination that have created barriers, at best, and hatred at worst, with those that are different from ourselves. We often, out of our insecurities, when anyone is different from us protect ourselves, instinctively creating a barrier. There are barriers between tall people and short people. There are barriers between people from red states and blue states. There are barriers between people that believe that or this, and those who do not believe. There are barriers between geography, religion, politics, and gender, the color of skin, race, and religious orientation. The moment there is something different, at best, it creates a barrier. At worst, it breeds hatred.
Notice prejudice, this inaccurate external view, is a preconceived judgment or opinion. It means having an opposing opinion without learning, or without just grounds, or sufficient knowledge. It’s an irrational attitude of hostility directed toward an individual, a group, race, or their supposed characteristics. Millions upon millions of people have died because deeply rooted in the psyche of little boys and girls growing up was, those people deserve to die. They’re from that tribe. They’re from that ethnic background. Historically, they’re from that religion; we need to kill them. This faith, we need to kill them.
Satan has had a heyday with prejudice, using our natural arrogance against us, “We’re okay, and we’re better, and we’re superior, to those that are different. We dehumanize one another so when we do terrible things; we can justify it. This is all nice and theoretical, out there, but it’s not so nice and theoretical when it gets up close. I began a journey as a non-prejudiced person at least that’s what I thought. That is until I find myself out in the rural where people use the “N” word and argue about the KJV version of the bible being the only real Bible translation.
It was nothing like a life I had ever seen before. Moreover, for a year and a half, I just thought how narrow, and bigoted, and redneck, they were out here. Then I realized how prejudiced I became toward them for their prejudice. How superior I was to them, and I remember God whispering to me, “You know, I love these people. I placed you here to love them, but you are not doing very well. All you do is judge them, you generalize, and you label, and you think they are all the same. You don’t see them the way I see them.”
Prejudice creates walls between individuals and groups so the gospel can’t move from one person to another or from one group to another. When I see people that way, there’s a barrier. When the thoughts are – I do not hate them but I so disapprove, or I am so irritated or feel so superior.” These types of thoughts lead to actions that result in the gospel not being allowed to move forth beyond the walls created by them.
There is a story, in Acts chapter 10 about an enlisted soldier who is oppressing the Jews. There is a Jew who is a blue-collar worker who has been following an itinerant preacher named Jesus, and a transformation occurs where things that have been embedded in his soul, and mind, and thinking since he was a little boy, and his father, and his grandfather, and his grandfather before him. The Spirit of God and the gospel liberates him in ways that change the course of history. Here we see how the gospel smashes hundreds of years of prejudice and hatred through an enlisted soldier and a fisherman. It’s not through powers, it’s not through legislation, it’s not through some elite group.
This post is not intended to make you “feel guilty.” It is designed to educate by exposing a part of Satan’s agenda. I doubt if many people who are reading this post if asked the question, “On a scale of one to ten, how prejudiced are you?” I seriously doubt there are a whole lot of people proclaiming, “I’m a nine! I’m a Ten!” I cannot believe anyone would take pride in being that high at least by self-perception.
However, what if before reading this post you actually felt you were not prejudiced at all, or perhaps no more than a four or a five and now feel maybe you could be more of an eight or a nine? What if there are people that God is working in where you work, in your neighborhood, at the gym where you work out, in your church, or even in your family, and you have a type of unconscious prejudice so you never cross the barrier of these people because they are different, and therefore the gospel doesn’t go forth – What if the person on the outside of the Kingdom of God is YOU?