24 Nov Recognize and Confess Sins of Prejudice
During a chapel message to Huntington University students in early September, I presented five practical tips for modeling unity as believers within a diverse community. I discussed the first one earlier. Here is the second one.
2. Recognize and confess sins of prejudice, and ask God to forgive and renew your heart and mind.
Prejudice means literally “pre-judging.” You judge someone in advance based on some characteristics–being Jewish, white, black, an athlete, a musician.
Prejudice can come in many forms. It’s exhibited by statements such as:
- “I’m not surprised he did that, he’s an athlete,” or
- “You know that people with money act that way,” or
- “That’s just how the people from New Jersey are,” or
- “I’m not surprised she made that mistake. She’s just a staff member.”
I grew up in a Jewish community. Being part of a culture which was not my own, I often felt some resentment toward the Jewish community and I developed caricatures and stereotypes of Jewish people which, unfortunately, were then reinforced by my family and other Gentile friends. This resulted in prejudice against the Jewish people as a whole (although I had a lot of Jewish friends) that was wrong and inappropriate. It was sin.
I would ask each of you to examine yourself to see where you have been insensitive and prejudiced toward another person. Once the Holy Spirit convicts you of that sin, I would encourage you to confess it and ask for forgiveness. All of us can work harder to treat others with respect, dignity, love, and compassion.