Acts 10:1…

Acts 10:1…

No one is born with any sort of prejudice, whether of the so-called racial variety or any other kind – be it religious or whatever.

Prejudice is an entirely learned behavior. It is taught by someone, or by some organization, or by the culture you live in. Systemic prejudice is very difficult to overcome.

In this day and age, probably all of us would deny being prejudiced in any way, but deep down inside, we must admit this is probably not true. We all carry the scars of the teaching we have received in our lives about other “people” not like ourselves.

To say that, “we have no prejudice,” is really a statement saying we are doing all we can to unlearn the prejudices we have previously learned from the culture we have grown up in.

When we speak of ‘prejudice’ in our society, the first thing our mind probably goes to is the American south, where it is known and documented systemic prejudice has existed all the way back to the days of slavery. But did you know to think that way about the American south is also a prejudice we have been conditioned to believe? It is interesting how insidious prejudice can be – and how blind we can be to prejudices we have been taught.

Prejudice is abhorrent to Jesus. Let’s just get that out of the way right now. There are so many examples in the Bible of prejudice being wrong-headed, but also overcome. The example which springs immediately to mind was revealed in the story Jesus told of the ‘good Samaritan.’ That story would have disgusted the Jewish audience, while also opening their eyes to the possibility neighborliness cuts across all perceived dividing lines of prejudice they had learned from their culture.

In Jesus’ day, the Jews were among the most prejudiced people who ever lived. They were taught from birth to hate anyone who was not born a Jew. Even those being proselyted to Judaism were looked down upon. Those who were Gentiles or Samaritans were looked upon as being sub-human. Even as detestable ‘dogs.’ This is the prejudice God is teaching Peter to overcome. Jesus died for the whole world, not just the Jews.

-Pastor Bill