Exodus 22:21 Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.
1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things which people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.
John 7:24 Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.
Acts 17:26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.
Romans 10:12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him.
1 Corinthians 12:13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Colossians 3:25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is not favoritism.
James 2:4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
1 John 2:11 but anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.
Prejudice and judgment of others has been around almost since the first sin. Adam and Eve lived fairly idyllically from what we can read. We have no idea how long they lived in the Garden, but for enough time to know the rules, and to not be tempted to disobey the rules. At least, they did not disobey for a while.
Then Satan, the Fallen Angel who was thrown from heaven to the eternal pit of hell with his demon minions, spied the relationship God had with the first humans, and crept into the Garden. He eyed his prey, and then approached the woman, and urged her to tell him the rules God had given. She expounded on the rules, and quick shyster he is, he grabbed onto that and assured her she would not ‘die’ if she ate the fruit as she had spoken. She would become just like God, just as smart with the knowledge of good and evil.
God was hurt and angry, warning the devil he would forever slither on his belly, and in time would be crushed by Jesus; and the woman and man could no longer experience the closeness of God that they’d shared. They were banned from the Garden—no longer frolicking and enjoying the bounty, but now to work the land, to gather their own food and so forth.
Eve and Adam had two sons, Cain and Abel, both worked in their capacities, but Cain’s heart was selfish and cruel, and after becoming angry when God accepted with pleasure Abel’s offering of thanks, Cain killed Abel. He was jealous and that jealousy, anger, and prejudice grew against the two brothers and down through their families.
Initially, God would not accept many of the other nations because they worshiped idols and false gods which had been made by their own hands. He ordered the Israelites, whom He had chosen to destroy these peoples and take over their land. He also ordered them to NOT intermarry since they would be risking being taken down the path of worshiping false, manmade gods, and turning from Him, the only God and Lord, the Creator of all.
The behavior of disobeying something we are told not to touch, take, or whatever—usually, initially for our benefit—so we won’t be hurt, burned, bitten, etc. But children test that command. How often have you heard a child told no, to not touch something, then watched as a cute smile crosses the face, and a quick glance to see if he is being observed, then reaching out to touch the forbidden. It does seem to be an inborn part of our make-up to disobey, then blame on someone else, or deny it was our own choice or misdeed.
During the years of moving through the desert to finally obtain the Promised Land, God gave strict orders to not co-habit with these people, and His reasoning was clear. They worshiped false gods, and they could bring down into further sinful behaviors bey worshiping those gods, and partaking of the sins these people did. They self-mutilated, they shared intimacy and sex with many, they drank and did other mind-altering behaviors, and so forth. They DISRESPECTED AND DISOBEYED God. Again, the innate desire to reach beyond the boundaries, because we should make our own decisions and everything will turn out fine. WE ARE NOT IN CHARGE!
God laid down the rules for our safety, benefit. I do wonder if some of them, since so stringent, were also to test their hearts. I will be the first to confess, I would have failed. There were some tough laws to follow, and I know me well enough to know I would have sinned with my grumbling, whining, poor attitude, and probably would have grabbed the head of hair of another female living and sharing chores and not pulling her weight. I would have been truly put out to be out of camp for a week of menstruation, and EVERYONE knowing why. No, I would not have suffered in silence—grumble, whine.
We are sinful beings, and full of prejudice, including thinking we might be working harder than someone else. Unless told, we have NO idea what someone else is walking through and dealing with. We have no cause to judge—yet it’s a pretty common sin within all of us.
I used to wonder why the Israelites were so disgusted with the Samaritans, when the two most frequent stories of the Samaritans tell of a woman who was thrilled to be touched by the Word of Jesus, and went and told and shared with her townsfolk, who rebuked her and her lifestyle at the time. But the other is the Samaritan man who rescued a man beaten and left to die in the street. He was passed by two ‘men of God’—who increased their speed and crossed the street, but not the Samaritan. He cared for the man, paid and enlisted the help of the innkeeper to continue caring for the man, and on his return, he would compensate fully for the man’s care. I wanted to grow up and be that generous, good and loving man. but the Israelites who had not fraternized with other people from other countries, considered themselves pure, while the Samaritans were Israelites who had intermingled with other cultures and people.
But prejudice is and has been real since the beginning of time. Cain killed Abel in anger but because God preferred Abel’s sacrifice, and Cain was the prejudiced against his brother. In our own country, there are/were issues of north vs south, and the lists go on and on.
Please note, prejudice started with us flawed humans—NOT with God. God loves each and every one—He created each and every one. And He created each and every one in His image.
Jesus thankfully did not have any prejudice. He sees the heart and it is the hearts of some He has issues with—Pharisees, Sadducees, and others who think they are higher and more righteous in God’s eyes although they have NO compassion, no love or respect of others, and are full of judgment, not understanding or caring, and continuing to charge high amounts to fill the “church” coffers, that gradually became some of their pockets.
Even Saul was full of anger and prejudice as he traveled throughout the country killing and imprisoning people who believed in the Way. This new man didn’t even wash his hands appropriately before eating. He hung about with lepers, with dirty filthy people, waiting to jump into the waters to be healed, prostitutes, and tax collectors. This Jesus definitely was not worthy and should be killed and all His followers ousted.
Until Paul was touched, blinded, spoke with, and was healed by Jesus, he was an adamant opponent of this man carrying on with Words and loving ways that were not totally of those strict Laws.
I do not want to be a person who has the heart of a Pharisee or Sadducee. Lord, help my heart be cleansed from any prejudice and nasty judgment. I want to be more like Your Son, my Savior. Thank You for Your patience with this work in progress and all You have done for me and ‘mybellaviews.’
Zingers: Some convictions are nothing more than prejudices. Prejudice is a loose idea held tightly. the difference between a conviction and a prejudice is you can explain a conviction without getting angry.