2005-11-02 - Prejudices
Originally Published 2000-01-19
Acts 15:34 (NLT) Then Peter replied, "I see very clearly that God doesn't show partiality. 35 In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right.
It's January 18, 2000, and I am sad to tell you that in my town some people continue to rear the ugly head of the prejudice monster. Monday was a national holiday for Dr. Martin Luther King. I always admired him and his peaceful, Christlike civil rights movement that brought much progress to our country. But do not be fooled into thinking all is well in the good old USA. Being around the real estate profession, I see people blatantly discriminated against in many ways. I find it interesting and equally disturbing that this monster has gone beyond being a person of one color against a person of another color. It has developed into many different forms and takes on many different shapes.
Our church started a new ministry a few months ago. This ministry gives homeless families from our local shelter a chance for a new way of life. The family must agree to some very strict boundaries that are placed on them for 16 weeks. The parameters of this program include church attendance, budgeting, Christian Counseling, Bible Study and training in making wise financial and life decisions. In return we give them free housing. During this time, jobs are found, money is saved and lives are changed. After this transition, our families are on their own in their own housing and hopefully making wise decisions in life. Just a side note: Our first family consisted of a dad and two small children. He not only will be moving into his new apartment next week; he will be in Heaven one day, due to the influence of this ministry. At first he could not understand why people cared about him and his kids. It finally connected with him that they cared because he mattered to God.
Being in Real Estate, my task was to find an apartment or house for our church to use for this ministry. I gladly volunteered, thinking; "this will be the easiest thing I have done lately for the church." My eyes were opened wide and my heart was broken when I called around to my business acquaintances. First call I made was to a church-going property manager. I excitedly explained the ministry to him, knowing that he would bend over backwards to help. Listen to the questions I was asked by this person: Are they mental patients? 2. Drug addicts? 3. Drunks? 4. Black, Mexican, or some kind of freaks? 5. Ex-Prisoners? On and on, the questions were rattled off. I was stunned. Six calls later and hearing the same type of questions being asked, I was exasperated. Fifteen years ago, I could expect one question, "What race are they?" See how the times have changed? Now there are socioeconomic prejudices. There is discrimination against people for having a disease, making bad decisions or even for simply being born in a different country. We finally secured a one-year lease on an apartment after I reminded one property manager of laws that were enacted in the early 1960s. These laws exist because of people like Dr. King.
So, what do we as Christians do? We don't just ask what would Jesus do. We do what Jesus did. Throughout the Bible, we see Jesus putting today's passage into action. He shattered the walls of cultural barriers. He touched the untouchable, He ate with the unwanted, He talked to the unspeakable, He associated with all people, all races, all cultures in His area, both men and women. Next time a classmate, coworker or family member tells a joke at the expense of another person, don't laugh. It's not funny. It's not what Christ did. Don't feed the monster of prejudice that our society still feeds. Take stands for those around you who cannot stand on their on yet. Come on Christians, let's take a good hard look at our hearts this week, and let's ask God to chip away at the pieces that still harbor some prejudices. Let's ask God to make us more like Christ, so that we don't have to ask the question "what would Jesus do;" we just do it.
Comments or Questions?