Dealing with Prejudice among Different People Groups The current challenge that we are facing with tension between African Americans and Caucasians in our community and country flared up recently with the painful killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis. Before watching eyes and a video camera, the world witnessed a police officer overstepping his bounds and it resulted in the death of a man, an African American man.
We, as Christ followers condemn this action in the strongest terms. We know based on God’s Word and teaching that all lives matter, no matter what people group we are talking about. We stand against mistreating anyone on the planet because each life is precious.
So, what does the Bible say about prejudice and the mistreatment of other people simply because of their different color or culture? By the way, prejudice can apply to people feeling superior over others due to economic reasons, where they live, their education, their job, and the list goes on and on. Prejudice is not just based on skin color but encompasses many other areas of life. We all need to remind ourselves that every human being is capable of being prejudiced against an individual or group and being an unrighteous judge over others.
1. We are all made in the image of God – Genesis 1:26 – 28. This is so clear in Genesis but alluded to in many places throughout the Bible. We have certain character qualities like God in a limited capacity. We have things like love, kindness, compassion, and mercy to name just a few. We have the ability to have reason and logic that animals do not possess. We are creative and can make something new on our own. The application to this is that we must treat everyone as made in God’s image. We must show dignity and respect to every human being we come in contact with. That is God’s will
2. We are all part of one human race. Beginning in Genesis and going throughout the book of Revelation, you see over and over that all of us descended from Adam and Eve. Even scientists who have studied genetics and DNA have concluded that the human race all came from a common husband and wife couple. The Bible says their names are Adam and Eve. This couple had many children and the earth was beginning to get populated and then God brought the Great Flood upon the earth and only eight people (Noah and his family) survived the flood. Once again, the earth was repopulated and people groups were scattered and given different languages after the Tower of Babel incident in Genesis 11. In Revelation 5:8-10, God tells the Apostle John that there will be people of every tribe and every tongue proclaiming His praise around His throne in eternity. God created all human beings and He loves them all.
3. Only through the Gospel that points us to the cross of Christ can a person truly overcome prejudice. It takes the power of the cross and Christ’s death, burial and resurrection to see people in a new way from God’s perspective. Ephesians 2:11 – 20 says “ 11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone.” ·
4. Jesus was for loving every people group. Take some time to read the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). Jesus said everyone is our neighbor no matter who the person is what their background is and who he is related to. Look also at the fact that Jesus went and talked with the woman at the well who was a Samaritan, an enemy of the Jews, (John 4:1-42). The bottom line is that we need to put our prejudices, our judgmental attitude and hatred toward people of different people groups under the blood of Christ. We must change how we see God’s created people that everyone is precious in His sight. I know that this is a complex issue but we can take some steps of action to transform our mind and think God’s thoughts about one another in our community and country
First, we need to understand that prejudice begins in the heart of man. We are sinful people and even though we know Jesus as our Savior we are still battling the nature that wants to go contrary to God’s desires. Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” The Apostle Paul told the church in Corinth not to compare themselves with one another because it was unwise, (2 Corinthians 10:12). We are to compare ourselves to the Word of God and how our life matches up with its teachings, (James 1:22-25).
Second, it would do all of us some good to meet with someone who is different than us in color with the purpose of listening to their story of how they were brought up and their experiences in life. That would give us more understanding and a heart of compassion for that person and their particular people group. They look at the world through different eyes and we need to be able to put ourselves in their shoes.
Third, we need to find ways to reach out and work with these people groups serving them or working alongside of them. Hope at the Brick House has a block party scheduled for August 28th down on Ripley Street in Davenport. I have contacted Joyce Klopp and volunteered our church up to help in anyway that we can to serve that ministry and to connect with the African American community in our community. When we begin sign ups for this event, I hope you sign up and join me on that Friday in giving time to serve in the Hilltop community of Davenport. I believe we can make a difference in modeling reconciliation one relationship at a time. We can be like Jesus by being a good listener, by serving others and teaching our brothers and sisters what God’s Word says about reconciliation. It all must be wrapped up in the Gospel of Jesus Christ or true reconciliation will never happen. Will you join me in showing the love of Jesus to all of our neighbors? I am faithfully,
Yours and His, Pastor Ed Hedding