Prejudice


 
As the prophet Elisha was walking along the road to Bethel, “Some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. ‘Go on up, you baldhead!’ they said. ‘Go on up, you baldhead!’ He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths” (2 Kings 2:23-25).

Well, I imagine those kids learned their lesson. As parents, we should take this to heart and teach our kids to be respectful; but, this is a lesson for all of us–not just kids.

When we disrespect others based on baldness, or any other perceived flaw, we disobey what God calls His greatest commandment. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-38).

God is pretty specific in His instructions to the Israelites. He said, “Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but fear your God. I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:14).

Now, who would cuss out someone who’s deaf or trip someone who is blind? People are capable of being really mean!

Our prejudices aren’t only against physical appearances. Peter faced his prejudice when God sent him to Cornelius, a Roman centurion. Peter said, “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean. I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right” (Acts 10:28, 34-35).

Peter would have withheld the Gospel from Cornelius based on his nationality!

Jesus taught though that God “causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45), but pride comes before a fall. Thinking less of someone because they are different than we are puts us on a precarious platform, and God’s not against kicking one of the legs out from under us. We may not get mauled by bears, but God will get His point across.

 

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