Sermon Illustrations

Prejudice Comes from an Unclean Heart

I like this thought posted by Mike Atkinson in his daily email humor list some time ago. If you can start the day without caffeine; if you can get going without pep pills; if you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains; if you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles; if you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it; if you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time; if you can overlook it when those you love take it out on you when through no fault of yours something goes wrong; if you can take criticism and blame without resentment; if you can ignore a friend’s limited education and never correct him; if you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend; if you can face the world without lies and deceit; if you can conquer tension without medical help; if you can relax without liquor; if you can sleep without the aid of drugs; if you can say honestly that deep in your heart you have no prejudice against creed, color, religion, or politics; then, my friend, you are almost as good as your dog. (Mike Atkinson, Mikey’s Funnies, 6-26-02,

I like that, because it makes you think about yourself in relation to

what many consider to be a dirty animal. That fact is: to call a person a “dog” in many cultures is meant to be derogatory and demeaning.

But maybe such a name isn’t so bad when you think about your own dog that’s always so glad to see you even though you feed him the same food every day, or are too busy to give him much time, or sometimes take out your frustrations on the poor mutt.

Some people are like that, as well. Those we might consider “dogs” may actually demonstrate a strength of character far greater than any of us here in this room.

In Mark 7, Jesus talks about what’s inside a person that makes him or her unclean. It’s not the outward performance that determines a person’s acceptability. It’s what’s in the heart.

From a sermon by C. Philip Green, Feed The Dogs, 10/16/2009

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